Media Advisory July 2

What are difficult conversations and why do they occur? How does communication have positive and negative impacts? What are some core messages about having effective difficult conversation? In his Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Management Communication Professor John Oetzel will discuss the prickly topic of difficult conversations and why it is important not to avoid them. The lecture will focus specifically on difficult conversations that occur in teamwork and in health care services, particularly when people come from different cultural backgrounds. Professor Oetzel will draw on examples from his own and others’ research, both locally and internationally, which are poignant, interesting, and often funny. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new or recently appointed professors to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public. The lecture starts at 6pm on Tuesday, 17 July, in The Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

University of Waikato Master of Management Studies student Kenny Bell has been awarded a US$25,000 Fulbright Ministry of Science and Innovation Graduate Award to study at the University of California, Berkeley. Kenny has been at Waikato University since leaving high school and plans to spend the next four years at Berkeley, working on his PhD and as a research assistant studying agricultural and resource economics. It’s a new direction of study for the mathematics, finance and economics student who decided to change his focus after taking a couple of classes in the agricultural and resource economics department at Berkeley during an academic exchange last year. Professor David Zilberman was one of his teachers during this time. “He’s a pretty brilliant guy,” says Kenny. “I took a paper with him during my exchange which got me interested in agriculture and the environmental impacts of products.” After completing his time at Berkeley, Kenny is hoping to continue working as an economic researcher.

University of Waikato student Tanya O’Neill has been awarded a Fulbright Travel Award to present her research on the effects of human activity on Antarctica. Tanya has been researching the effects of human activity on the Antarctic soil environment for the past four years, and has based a lot of her research on her three trips to the continent. She will present her work for the first time internationally at the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) conference in Portland, Oregon, next month. “My research looks at the direct and cumulative impacts of visitor activity - including scientists and tourists - on the desert pavement surfaces in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. I’ve been to Antarctica three times now; the first was when I ran a marathon with my uncle in 2007, and on that trip I began to question our impact on the Antarctic environment.” One aspect of her research aims to find out whether the environment can recover between summer seasons or whether the effects of tourists are cumulative. About 40,000 tourists visit the Antarctic Peninsula a year.

Four University of Waikato computer graphic design students – past and present – recently set up a website called MASH and every day throughout June and July one member of the team is presenting a new design for a letter and posting it on their website. MASH is an acronym formed from the group’s members, Mary, Alice, Saranna and Haylie – self-confessed typography nuts, Saranna Drury and Haylie Gray are completing their honours year in Computer Graphic Design, Mary Faber is a masters graduate in the same subject and Alice Lo is a former student and lecturer. They’re confident new work will spring from the MASH site. “This is like an exhibition, from which we hope to get commissions, and we’re organising a physical exhibition for August of our first project to gain local exposure,” says Saranna Drury. “We’ll be a type foundry and create complete alphabets – that’s upper and lower case, numbers, symbols – the works.”
Tauranga Girls’ College won the finals of University of Waikato Te Piringa – Faculty of Law Secondary Schools’ Mooting Competition held in the Hamilton High Court last week, beating Tauranga’s Otumoetai College in the final. The finalists were chosen from eight teams that competed over a month, including Frances Douglas Memorial College and Spotswood College from New Plymouth, Western Heights High School from Rotorua, Sacred Heart Girls College Hamilton, Hillcrest High School and Hamilton Boys’ High School. The winning team was Lydia Verschaffelt, Emily van Arendonk and Loren McCarthy. Otumoetai College’s Zachary Klavs was announced Individual Best Mooter. The judges in the final were Brendan Cullen from Hamilton law firm McCaw Lewis and Justice Rodney Hansen.
An exhibition titled Raised Voices, featuring photographs by Chinese based artist Yang Yi opens at Waikato University’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts today. The exhibition explores social, political and aesthetic responses to urban development as populations increase with restricted space and pressing demand for resources. Alongside Yi’s photographs, there’ll be works by New Zealand artists Eve Armstrong and Kerry Ann Lee and video works by the Michelangelo Pistoletto Band who will also be travelling to Hamilton from Seoul, South Korea to give a special performance and public workshop on 9 August.
Mike Pohio, CEO of Tainui Group Holdings (TGH), will speak at a free public seminar at the Waikato Management School on 20 July as part of the school’s Excellence in Practice Series. Tainui Group Holdings Ltd (TGH) is the commercial arm of Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Incorporated (WTTKI), the tribal division of Waikato-Tainui, and delivers commercial returns for the Waikato-Tainui people through its business of property investment and development. The public is welcome to come along and hear Mr Pohio speak on the commercial journey of Waikato-Tainui and the recent successes of the Novotel Auckland Airport and The Base retail development in Te Rapa. Find out how TGH has overcome many hurdles on its journey and what the future might hold for the company. Mr Pohio will also spend some time discussing the proposed Ruakura Inland Port and Logistics Hub - a game-changer for the Waikato and New Zealand. The seminar takes place at the Waikato Management School, room MSB 1.02, on Friday 20 July, from 1pm. Please RSVP to
More than 200 secondary school students from throughout the North Island will have the opportunity next week to experience a day in the life of a science or engineering student at the University of Waikato. The university’s Faculty of Science & Engineering will host the annual Science Open Day, Wednesday 11 July, and Engineering Open Day, Thursday 12 July. Both events offer Year 11-13 students and adult learners the chance to spend the day on campus, attending hands-on workshops. The Science Open Day will cover the subjects of physics, chemistry, earth and ocean sciences and biological sciences. Engineering Open Day will cover the programmes of chemical & biological, mechanical, software, materials and process and electronic engineering. Each day has a range of activities planned that offer an insight into the kinds of exercises and thinking University of Waikato students have to do.

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