Media Advisory May 21


Visiting Indigenous Australian academic, author and playwright Dr Jared Thomas attended marae graduation at the University of Waikato last month and was moved to tears. He thinks the inclusiveness of the occasion is the best way to engage future scholars and would like to see similar Aboriginal forms of graduation occur in Australian universities. Dr Thomas lectures at the University of South Australia and belongs to the Nukunu people. He’s based at the University of Waikato for four months as recipient of the 2012 Endeavour Award Research Fellowship for Indigenous Australians. And while at Waikato he’ll be rewriting a novel and also writing a paper on protocol and processes for representing Nukunu culture and issues. This leads from a project he’s been working on to bring together and critique an extensive collection of Nukunu history. “It’s the most consolidated body of records related to Nukunu people previously held in national and international archives. It includes the observations of early explorers, anthropologists, records of land claims and issues, civic records and interviews with Nukunu people. We need to find a way to store and control this Indigenous knowledge in a culturally appropriate manner while still keeping it accessible.”


University of Waikato Religious Studies Professor Douglas Pratt will shed light on why religion can lead to extremism during his Inaugural Professorial Lecture being held at the university tomorrow, 22 May. “Previously there was a broad view, adopted by many academics in the 1960s, that religion was on its way out. It turns out they were wrong. Globally speaking, religion is on the rise,” says Professor Pratt. “So religion persists, but it also presents a number of problems in the modern world.” Professor Pratt has researched religion for many years and will be discussing what Anders Breivik, the Christchurch Cathedral, and the Taleban might have in common whilst presenting his model for understanding the persistence of religion and contemporary problems with it. “The most distressing problem is the terrorism that arises out of religious motivations.” Professor Pratt’s lecture, titled The persistence and problem of religion, takes place tomorrow, Tuesday 22 May, at 6pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new and recently appointed professors to the wider community. Lectures are free and open to the public.


The National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis at the University of Waikato holds a seminar looking at indigenous populations and asylum seekers in Australia this week. Recent research reveals extreme disadvantage for indigenous and refugee populations, particularly those who have been removed from the families and communities. Human rights expert and activist Professor Linda Briskman of Swineburne University of Technology, Australia will be posing questions on how these barring trends might be reversed to overcome these disadvantaged groups. Professor Briskman’s work spans indigenous and asylum seekers rights and she is currently working with Waikato professors Yaghoob Foroutan and Douglas Pratt on an international religious and racial intolerance project. The seminar is scheduled for 1.10pm on Thursday 24 May and will be held in S.1.02. RSVP to Dr Yaqub Foroutan ( ).


Natural history, marine conservation and filmmaking will be the focus of the next Café Scientifique to be held in Tauranga today, 21 May. Documentary filmmaker Andrew Marshall, from Tauranga, is the founder of Ocean International, an organisation being established to facilitate marine conservation through filmmaking and education. During his Café Scientifique presentation he will discuss the opportunities for on-line learning as well as marine-focused, educational field-trips in the Bay, and his goal to instigate a filmmaking expedition vessel to roam globally. He will also recount some of his experiences during expedition cruises to Greenland, Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific. Mr Marshall is in the post-production phase of his first 3D film, In Search of Zealandia, which is a natural history documentary telling the story of the large, ancient continent of Zealandia. Previously Mr Marshall received international recognition with his first short film, Plunge of the Penguins, which was selected to screen at film festivals around the world. Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, where for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The Café Scientifique series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks and supported by the University of Waikato. It will be held today, Monday 21 May, 6.45pm for 7.15pm start at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. For more information please visit:


Third-year Waikato University Chinese language students Sarah Thomson and Stephen McIntosh were awarded first and third place respectively in the 11th Chinese Bridge Speech Competition for New Zealand Tertiary students this month at Auckland University.  Competing against 19 students from other New Zealand Universities, Sarah and Stephen had to each prepare and deliver a five-minute speech  in Chinese with a theme of ‘Me in China’ to an audience and panel of judges, followed by each singing a three-minute Chinese song. Sarah spoke about her experience in Harbin in North China, and of being at the ice festival held each year. “The magnificent ice sculptures at the festival are a breath taking sight and the climate in Harbin is extremely harsh, the average temperature in winter is -16 degrees Celsius,” says Sarah. Stephen’s speech focussed on the relations between China and New Zealand, particularly the difficulties Chinese students face when integrating into New Zealand culture. Sarah will represent New Zealand tertiary students in China this July, competing against other winners from across the globe.


Coming up with new and clever toys and games that people will want to buy and play is a hard task. Toys and games is the theme for this semester’s marketing trade show and more than 200 first and second year marketing will present their ideas and products at their marketing trade show being held on Friday at Waikato University Management School. Students are judged not just on the end product, but on their product research, promotion and pricing, packaging and presentation. Some of the ideas this year include ‘Splatter’ a more environmentally friendly form of paintball, Shoe Shifters - a-bop-it type shoe game where the shoe gives exercise or dance instructions, talking juggling balls, and a helicopter that makes fake snow. The trade show takes place from 5-7pm this Friday, 25 May, in the Waikato Management School building foyer. The show is free and open to the public.

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