Media Advisory July 23

The revitalisation of te reo comes under the spotlight at the University of Waikato during Māori Language Week this week, 23-29 July. The University of Waikato hosts two free public lectures during the week, one entirely in te reo and one in English, but both address the issue of the revitalisation of te reo. The university’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, Professor Linda Smith, says it is fitting the university is strongly supporting Māori Language Week as many university staff – past and present – have played vital roles in the revitalisation of te reo. The first lecture is tomorrow, Tuesday 24 July, from 10am-12noon at the university’s Te Kohinga Mārama marae with three speakers who are all experts in te reo. They are School of Māori and Pacific Development lecturer Dr Rangi Matāmua, former Waikato University lecturer Pānia Papa, and Koro Ngapo, a Faculty of Education lecturer. The second lecture is on Thursday 26 July from 6-7pm in the university’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. That lecture is presented by School of Māori and Pacific Development’s Associate Professor Winnie Crombie and Te Piringa – Faculty of Law honorary lecturer Dr Richard Benton. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
Opera singer Dame Malvina Major says given the right training, anyone can learn to hold a tune; then there are people with talent who need training to reach a higher level. Dame Malvina will be showing people how to improve their singing voices at a public lecture at the University of Waikato – part of the university’s Winter Lecture Series being held every Wednesday in August. She’ll talk about how the voice works, and have some of her singing students on hand to demonstrate how to effect change. Dame Malvina’s lecture takes place on 1 August, 6-7pm, in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The second lecture will be on 8 August at Novotel Tainui in the city where Mayor Julie Hardaker and Tainui Group Holdings CEO Mike Pohio will talk about Hamilton’s future. For more information on the University of Waikato Winter Lecture Series go to
A lecturer from the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Education has become the first Waikato student to complete and defend his PhD in te reo Māori. Korohere Ngāpō’s thesis is titled 'Te Whare Tāhuhu Kōrero o Hauraki - Revitalising ‘Traditional’ Māori language of Hauraki. “This was a subject close to my heart,” says Dr Ngāpō. “There are no native speakers left in Hauraki, and it concerned me that a lot of the ‘traditional’ language – the more formal aspects of our language - was being lost and, for many reasons, I think we need to keep it alive. It seemed natural for me to write my thesis in Māori.” Dr Ngapo has facilitated wānanga reo throughout Hauraki marae over 15 years and that, coupled with support in Hauraki from a hard core base of family members and kaumātua, assisted his research. In addition, Dr Koro Ngāpō is an inductee of an elite group of Māori scholars named Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo Māori, which is for people who are fluent in Māori – they take scholars to higher levels of fluency to reach excellence in Māori language. 
The University of Waikato Student Centre Te Manawa will host waka expert Hoturoa Kerr and his son Turanga Barclay-Kerr as part of Māori Language Week. The duo will give a presentation on The Great Waka Migration and Tainui Waka and sailing in contemporary times. The presentation takes place today, Monday 23 July, between 9.30 and 11.30am at Te Manawa Student Centre, at the University of Waikato. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Sirocco, the famous kākāpō caught on camera trying to mate with a zoologist’s head, will be the subject of a discussion at the University of Waikato taking place today, 23 July. Chris Smut-Kennedy, an ecologist for Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, will talk about internet-sensation Sirocco visiting the ecological Island during a free public lecture. Sirocco rose to fame courtesy of a documentary made by British filmmaker Stephen Fry, who captured Sirocco trying to mate with a nearby zoologist. The footage, now on YouTube, has been viewed more than 4 million times. Sirocco soon became an internet sensation. The resulting fame has led to him being New Zealand’s first spokesbird, commanding his own seat on aeroplanes, and having 11,000 Facebook fans. He’s also critically endangered, one of only 126 kākāpō left in the world. The lecture takes place in MSB1.05, Waikato Management School Building today, Monday 23 July, beginning at 5pm.

Whether it’s studying microbes in Antarctica or the impacts of spilt oil along the Bay of Plenty coastline, a science degree can take you anywhere. The University of Waikato and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic will talk about the potential career opportunities in the field of science at the 2012 inaugural Future Focus showcase as part of the Tauranga Careers Expo taking place on 27-28 July at the TECT Arena. University of Waikato Chair of Coastal Science Professor Chris Battershill says both the university and polytechnic have been conducting scientific research in and around the Bay of Plenty for many years, but the grounding of the Rena has thrown the work of scientists into the spotlight. “The Rena has been devastating economically for our region but is an excellent example – right on our doorstep – of how real-life science involving chemists, biologists, oceanographers, marine and coastal scientists and a host of others can be harnessed to address the problem. The Future Focus showcase offers a great opportunity to show young people how science is used to provide a range of important information of value to people.” For those contemplating study in 2013, staff from the tertiary partnership – comprising the University of Waikato, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi – will be available at the Careers Expo to guide people through the range of programmes offered by each of the tertiary partners. 
The National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis at the University of Waikato holds a seminar this week, focusing on the social impacts and experiences of childfree couples living in New Zealand. At the centre of the topic is key research looking into the social pressures and stereotypes placed on those couples who choose not to have children. Theresa Riley who is currently in the final year of her PhD in Health Science at Auckland will be presenting the seminar based on her own research, which involved interviews with 10 heterosexual ‘childfree’ couples living in Hamilton and a focus group. Theresa completed her Masters degree at Waikato University in 2008, where her thesis was published as a book title “Being Childfree in New Zealand: Couples who choose to not have children”, and since has appeared in multiple publications. The seminar takes place this week, on Thursday 26 July, 1.10pm, and will be held at the University of Waikato, Room I.1.01. RSVP to Dr Yaqub Foroutan (

One of the country’s most high-profile lawyers, Mai Chen, will give a public lecture at the University of Waikato next week. Ms Chen, a founding partner of specialist public law firm Chen Palmer will talk about issues featured in her book The Public Law Toolbox. She has based her book on her 25 years’ experience in public law, and written it as a resource for business people, lawyers, advocates, industry associations, citizens, Māori and non-governmental organisations to more successfully interface with government. Ms Chen says it will also help people wanting to resolve disputes around administrative and government decision-making, and advise businesses on how to resolve disputes with competitors. The book lays out the government’s legal obligations and the risks it faces when interfacing with business. The lecture will take place at Te Piringa – Faculty of Law on 31 July at 1.10pm in room G.04.
If you like the idea of spending the summer near Lake Taupo, trekking through the bush, helping with the conservation of native bird species - in the name of research, then a University of Waikato Summer Research Scholarship may be for you. Associate Professor Carolyn King from the University of Waikato’s Biological Sciences department is looking for a student to undertake a Summer Research Scholarship investigating the efficiency of a pest control programme in Pukawa – a village at the south end of Lake Taupo. The successful student would be working with the Pukawa Wildlife Management Trust, a community–based conservation project, investigating the effectiveness of their pest management regime. “The basic idea is to make this and other community-based conservation projects as effective as possible. There are a lot of people in communities nationwide who are out there doing what they can to defend their own little patch against pests,” says Dr King. “But, because some pests are very clever at avoiding being caught, the community groups often have little idea if their efforts are making as much difference as they hope.” A large part of the 10-week project would be checking traps and testing suggestions of how to make the community’s pest operation more efficient, says Dr King.

Two University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars have made the New Zealand White Ferns cricket squad for the T20 world cup in Sri Lanka. Felicity Leydon-Davis and Brooke Kirkbride have been named in the 28 player preliminary squad for the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 to be played in September and October this year. Both play their club cricket for the Northern Spirit. National Selection Manager, Kim Littlejohn said “the players who have made the preliminary squad are the best players available and deserve their inclusion. The group includes a lot of up and coming talent, as well as a number of experienced international players. The likes of Brooke Kirkbride, Felicity Leydon-Davis and Georgia Guy are all under 20 years old and are likely to have a big impact in the future.” The squad is to be reduced to 14 players by August 25.

New Zealand has won three medals at the International Biology Olympiad. The team of SuMin Yoon from Hamilton, Richard Chou and Evelyn Qian from Auckland, and Eddie McTaggart from Nelson returned from Singapore last week, and brought with them two bronze and a silver medal. The students had been to an Olympiad training-camp at the University of Waikato before departing, learning the vital practical skills they would need to compete during the international competition. The international competition pits the top four young biologists from 59 countries against each other, in an intense round of practical assessments and theory examinations. Sacred Heart Girls’ College’s SuMin Yoon won a bronze medal – and had spent additional time at the University of Waikato prior to the competition going through extra preparation work with Biological Sciences Professor Peter Molan. The University of Waikato will host the International Biology Olympiad in 2014.

Waikato University PhD student Megan Grainger has been named as a Shirtcliffe Fellowship recipient. The Shirtcliffe Fellowship aims to assist students of outstanding ability and character who are graduates of a university in New Zealand, in the continuation of their doctoral studies in New Zealand or the Commonwealth. The fellowship is worth $5,000. Megan is completing her PhD in Organic Chemistry, studying Manuka honey, and already has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and a Master of Science (MSc) thesis under her belt. During her time at university she has earned many accolades. She has received the award for top chemistry student in her year for three years in a row, has been awarded 10 scholarships throughout the years and presented her Masters research at an international symposium in Sydney in 2010. More recently she has had an article published in the journal of analytical atomic spectrometry based on her Masters research and presented her PhD research at the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Conference last year.

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