Media Advisory September 17


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 this week. It takes place tomorrow at 6pm on Tuesday 18 September at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, and 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.


A Waikato computer science PhD student has come up with a fun way to teach programming to students tackling the new NCEA achievement standards in programming and computer science. Michael Walmsley’s guinea pig was his younger brother, who kept ditching the learning for computer games. So he decided to design a ‘gamified’ website that taught JavaScript programming and web development skills. The result is, and the site has already had 45,000 hits from around the world. More details of this and other University of Waikato research stories are in the latest issue of re:think, now available online.


Hamilton mayor and University of Waikato alumni Julie Hardaker will be at the university this Wednesday, 19 September, as part of her Mayor Outside the Square series. Mayor Outside the Square is an opportunity for people in the wider Hamilton area to share their thoughts with Mayor Julie Hardaker in various locations around the city outside of the CBD. Mayor Hardaker will be at the Village Green from 12:30-1:30pm.


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, taking place today, Monday 17 September, 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. Tauranga’s 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 takes place today, Monday, 17 September, 6.45pm for 7.15pm start at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga. For more information please visit: or email


Musicians, dancers, actors and composers – all of them Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars at the University of Waikato are showcasing their work in a 90 minute production taking place tonight, Monday 17 September, at the Academy of Performing Arts. The show’s director Gaye Poole says it’ll be a blend of “classical, lyrical, hybrid, physical, and dark”. The performance kaleidoscope includes dancers performing to the music of Florence and the Machine and Al Green, as well as a piece by theatre scholars adapted from Chris Cleave’s novel The Other Hand. A number of the performers have already been recognised nationally and internationally by achieving top placings in competitions where they are up against some of the best in New Zealand and overseas. EXPOSED starts at 6.30pm. Entry is $12.


Scientists at the University of Waikato and the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic are exploring the possibility of commercially farming kingfish, and they’ve found the important thing is to make sure the farmed fish put their energy into growth rather than breeding. Waikato’s Dr Steven Bird is working with Dr Simon Muncaster at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic; Dr Bird is using biomarkers to look at how genes responds to environmental changes, while Dr Muncaster is examining the process of sexual differentiation – when and how kingfish develop either male or female characteristics. More details of this and other University of Waikato research stories are in the latest issue of re:think, now available online.


Restorative justice - the process for resolving crime that focuses on redressing the harm done to victims while holding offenders to account - is the subject for this year’s Harkness Henry lecture at the University of Waikato. The speaker is Judge Sir David Carruthers, new head of the Independent Police Conduct Authority, who’ll cover something of the history and future challenges for restorative justice. Judge Carruthers says his subject is a good fit with Waikato University because its Law Faculty has done pioneering work into restorative practices and education and that has now moved rapidly throughout other educational facilities in New Zealand. Sir David Carruthers is a former Chief District Court Judge, former Principal Youth Court Judge and former chairman of the Parole Board. His lecture is open to the public and takes place on Tuesday 25 September at 6.15pm at the University’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.


The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp and Paper Engineering Design Show this year will be showcasing both historical and modern design. University of Waikato graduate diploma in engineering student Chris Mitchell will have his miniature steam engine on show, as will many of his class mates, as a demonstration of the work they’ve done in class. Students built the steam engines as part of their introduction to workshop process paper, utilising the university’s large scale laboratory. “We built our steam engines as part of our workshop practices paper. We had to learn how to use the CNC machine, the lathe and the milling machine, and use them to make up all the components. We created the piston, crank and flywheel and machined the stand for the boiler.” The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show is held at the University of Waikato on 24 and 25 October, in S Block. Topics include Chemical & Biological Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Software Engineering. The Design Show is an opportunity for high school students and industry representatives to meet the School of Engineering’s students.


A showcase of recent creative works by students combining different electronic media and real-time performance will be offered to the public at the annual ArtzElectro concert next Friday. University of Waikato students from Computer Graphic Design, Screen and Media, Computer Science, Dance and Music have produced works for the event. ArtzElectro director, Associate Professor Ian Whalley, says that it will show recent interdisciplinary results from collaborative teams as well as individuals. Including works from third year students from the new Bachelor of Media and Creative Technologies degree, the show will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts next Friday, 21 September, from 7.30pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $10 for adults and $5 for students.


Tongan adults migrating to New Zealand report feeling happier and less downhearted, but also have higher blood pressure, while their children tend to be taller and heavier than those who stayed in the islands. These findings come from the Pacific Island – New Zealand Migration Study (PINZMS), headed by University of Waikato economist Professor John Gibson. He and post-doctoral research fellow Dr Halahingano Rohorua have surveyed more than 500 households in New Zealand and the Pacific since 2005 to gather information on the broad effect that migration has on families and communities. More details of this and other University of Waikato research stories are in the latest issue of re:think, now available online.


The University of Waikato is participating in the nationwide ShakeOut earthquake drill taking place next week at 9:26am, Wednesday 26 September. Students and staff across the campus will be encouraged to practice ‘Drop, Cover and Hold’, the correct action to take in an earthquake. They will be helped by videos, photos, demonstrations and loudspeaker instructions leading up to and on the morning.

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