Media Advisory September 10

The Waikato River saw a tough battle on Sunday with the Sydney University men’s crew attaining victory over Waikato University in the annual Gallagher Great Race. Waikato University got off to a good start but couldn’t take the lead against their Sydney rivals. It’s the first time Sydney University have won the Harry Mahon Trophy since competing in the Gallagher Great Race. The Queensland men’s crew also took to the waters with Sydney and Waikato, but couldn’t keep pace, resulting in a third place position. The women’s race saw Waikato University win with a convincing lead over Sydney University for the Bryan Gould Cup. The Queensland women’s crew also raced against Waikato and Sydney but couldn’t take the lead on either which saw them come in at third place. In the Head of the Waikato challenge the boy’s division saw Auckland Grammar win, with Hamilton Boy’s High School coming in second, and Macleans College coming in third. In the girl’s division, Waikato Diocesan came in first over their Timaru rivals from Craighead Diocesan. Hillcrest High School came in at third place.

An international expert on language revival says the loss of language is more damaging than the loss of land for indigenous peoples, and governments are likely to come under increasing pressure to compensate indigenous peoples for the loss of what he calls “native tongue title”. Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann is Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide. He’ll be giving a free public lecture today at the University of Waikato, where he’ll discuss the importance of revitalising languages and the establishment of a new universal discipline – revival linguistics – in which he says Oceania ought to play a leading role. Professor Zuckermann will deliver his lecture “Sleeping Beauties Awake - Towards the Establishment of Revival Linguistics,” 12-1pm today, Monday 10 September at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at the University of Waikato.

The University of Waikato has six staff nominated as finalists in this year’s Kudos Awards. The awards are a Waikato initiative held once a year to celebrate science excellence and achievement in the region. Mr Nihal Kularatna and Dr Mike Duke (Faculty of Science and Engineering) are finalists in the Hill Laboratories Science Entrepreneur category, Dr Graeme Doole (Waikato Management School) in the Hamilton City Council Emerging Scientist category, Professor David Hamilton (Faculty of Science and Engineering) in the Environmental Scientist category, and Dr Marcus Wilson (Faculty of Science and Engineering) and Rachael Goddard (Facilities Management Division) in the Wintec Secondary School Science Teacher/Communicator/Educator category of the Kudos Awards. The winners will be announced at an awards dinner on 27 September. The University of Waikato is a gold partner of the Kudos Awards and sponsors the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor of Agribusiness at the University of Waikato, Jacqueline Rowarth says if students are looking for lucrative careers, then they should study science. “Graduates in applied science and agribusiness are being offered salary packages of approximately $70,000. I’m not saying ignore arts and culture – I’m just advocating that we feed the soul outside work hours, because we need science and scientific research to keep our economy growing. We also need agriculture and agribusiness. We can shape the future by ensuring that we achieve the right components in education and in the workforce.” Professor Rowarth will be talking about science and agribusiness opportunities as part of her Inaugural Professorial Lecture at the University of Waikato next week. It takes place at 6pm on Tuesday 18 September at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, is free and open to the public. Dr Rowarth came to the University of Waikato this year from Massey University, where she was Foundation Chair of Pastoral Agriculture and Director of Massey Agriculture. She is a frequent contributor to public debate on agriculture and agribusiness, science, education and leadership and was awarded a CNZM in 2008 for her services to agricultural science. She is also a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science and a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

University of Waikato researchers are working with the Waikato District Health Board to ensure hi-tech infusion pumps – used to deliver food, fluids and mediation – are used safely in a range of environments. Professor Steve Reeves and Dr Judy Bowen, from the Department of Computer Science’s Formal Methods group, are ‘reverse engineering’ some of the pumps used in the Waikato Hospital. They are using mathematical modelling techniques - widely used in safety-critical areas - to better match the instructions for use with the device’s actual behaviour. The researchers are also advising on where and how the infusion pumps can be safely used, for instance in a rescue helicopter situation. More details of this and other University of Waikato research stories are in the latest issue of re:think, now available online. 
The notion that our values influence our behaviours is a popular belief but how does this happen? A one-day workshop in Tauranga will explore the relationship between values and ethical behaviour and will question whether it is possible to develop ethical leadership. Values-led Leadership and Implications for Practice will be presented by Professor Christopher Branson of the University of Waikato. Using theory and practical workshop experiences, participants will explore the nature and function of values and then look at how people can develop ethical behaviour through ethical sensitivity, ethical decision-making and ethical motivation. Professor Branson has worked as an educational professional in Australia for more than 35 years in state, Catholic and independent schools and as a university lecturer. The workshop costs $25 and takes place this Saturday 15 September from 10am-3pm at the University’s city campus, 142 Durham St, Tauranga. For further information please contact Nyree Sherlock, 07 577 5376, or

A brightly painted garden gnome named Stumpy is helping University of Waikato scientists to develop cutting-edge imaging technology. Dr Adrian Dorrington, lead researcher of the Chronoptics Group, is developing a range imaging camera that produces high-quality 3D images using time-of-flight technology. It’s done by projecting light on to a scene and measuring the time it takes for the light waves to return – and this is where Stumpy comes in. 3D imaging is helping improve robotic vision for industrial applications and medical imaging systems, and is also part of the latest generation of gaming devices with natural user interfaces that can recognise human gestures. More details of this and other University of Waikato research stories are in the latest issue of re:think, now available online. 

Two University of Waikato adult education experts are being inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame. They’re Professor Brian Findsen and Dr Timote Vaioleti. Dr Vaioleti is also the first Pacific Islander to be admitted into the Hall of Fame that has been honouring adult education scholars, practitioners and policy makers since 1996. Dr Vaioleti is Tongan and alongside his teaching and research serves on numerous public and private advisory groups and panels on Pacific development. He also sits on the Asia Pacific Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) eight-member executive council. Professor Findsen’s research focuses on older learners - 50-80 year olds. He has worked in the adult and continuing education sector for more than 30 years in New Zealand and overseas. He was head of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education at the University of Glasgow before returning to Waikato where he is professor of education and programme leader for the Centre of Continuing Education.

A University of Waikato researcher is looking for a Summer Research Scholarship student to help him explore the impact of using digital tablet technology in primary school reading programmes. Faculty of Education researcher Dr Garry Falloon has been looking at the effect using iPads has on the reading-learning of a group of 18 five and six year olds at Leamington Primary School in Cambridge. The research is an evidence-based investigation into the link between using specifically selected apps delivered via digital tablet technology, and the effect this can have on children’s learning in reading and key competency development. Dr Falloon is looking for a Summer Research Scholarship student to compare a range of data across two groups - one using iPads in their reading programme and one using more conventional resources. They will be involved in analysing interviews made with the children and completing video data analysis. Ten-week summer research scholarships are available for more than 60 topics under the University of Waikato Summer Research Scholarship scheme. The scholarships are worth up to $5,000 and students complete their research over the summer study break. Applications are open to undergraduate and first-year Masters students from anywhere in New Zealand. Please visit the Scholarships webpage to apply online.

With oil fast becoming a scarce resource, what is the likely outlook for compressed natural gas (CNG) globally? Why did it fall out of favour and can it do better next time? Tauranga’s next Café Scientifique will examine the indicators pointing to a potential revival of New Zealand’s CNG industry. Andy Cameron, Managing Director of Tauranga-based Oasis Engineering, will look at how ‘peak oil’, hydraulic fracturing, global concern about carbon emissions and improved technology are having positive spinoffs for the CNG industry. Since 2000, the industry has seen a 1200% increase in CNG use globally. The Café Scientifique series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks and supported by the University of Waikato. It aims to promote public engagement and make science accessible. The next Café will take place next Monday, 17 September, 6.45pm for 7.15pm start at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. For more information please visit: or email

University of Waikato performing arts scholars are showcasing some of their work in a public show that’ll involve music performance, dance and drama. The show is called EXPOSED and while classical music will feature strongly on the programme, dance and theatre studies students, composers and graphic designers will also feature. PhD student Jeremy Mayall has become known for his electronic composition and performance and will feature a work he’s written called Tracking Forward that features live viola by Adam Maha, electronic accompaniment by the composer and a video accompaniment by Dan Inglis. Mayall says it’s a work that was inspired from his love of Blues music. “A lot of Blues music tells stories of lonely journeys, catching rides on the trains, and often powerful sadness. This piece aims to explore this soulful sound through the solo viola combined with the sounds of blues harmonica and electronic manipulation.” Tracking Forward was composed as part of a PhD portfolio exploring the possibilities of hybrid genre composition. EXPOSED takes place on Monday 17 September at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at 6.30pm.

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