Media Advisory December 3

University of Waikato Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith has been awarded $424,000 over two years to lead a study into indigenous well-being. Professor Smith’s grant is one of four announcedthis week by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Indigenous Centre of Research Excellence. Professor Tuhiwai Smith, Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori and Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development at Waikato, says we know many of the key elements for social transformation, but what is not known is how to actively stimulate them at the right time, pace and scale, with the appropriate self-correcting mechanisms and forms of resource support provided at moments of need. This project aims to create a new tool, namely an internationally comparative model of indigenous well-being. Professor Smith will conduct an international comparative study of the conditions, strategies, catalysts and meanings that indigenous people employ to realise their aspirations for well-being.

Nine new colleagues will join the University of Waikato’s German Programme before Christmas - all of them from the Thuringian Forest in central Germany. The hand-crafted puppets include Kasper, the Old King, the Princess, the Devil, and his grandmother. Dr Norman Franke, convenor of the German Programme, attended a conference in Germany a few months ago and commissioned a local carver to make replicas of the puppets he saw in the Werra Valley museum. The most interesting character of them all has got to be Kasper who always sports his trade-mark bobble head, says Dr Franke. “Always hungry and thirsty, Kasper is also always on the lookout for cute girls and he is always broke. But on a good day he can out-wit the Professor and out-smart the Devil - not so different from many Waikato students really.” Dr Franke is planning to use his puppets for promoting the German language programme. “Learning to speak a second language has a performative dimension, but some learners are a bit self-conscious. Lending one’s voice to the puppets is fun and can make it easier to tackle tricky pronunciation or grammar.”

Associate Professor of Music Martin Lodge has been awarded a coveted artist's residency at the Pah Homestead in Auckland. From April to July next year he will live in the artist's apartment on the upper level of the Pah Homestead art gallery in Monte Cecilia Park in Hillsborough, Auckland. While there, he will concentrate on composing a major new work, a concerto for solo viola, orchestra and chorus. “Having three months of time set aside for creative work will provide the kind of clear thinking space I need to achieve a large scale artistic work,” says Dr Lodge. The residency is funded by the Wallace Arts Trust, which is based at the Pah Homestead. The University of Otago administers the residency, and contacted Dr Lodge earlier this year and drew his attention to the position. “The letter from Otago arrived out of the blue,” he says. “The timing happened to be perfect and I decided almost immediately to put an application in. These are highly desirable awards, so eventually to be awarded a residency at the Pah is wonderful.” The Wallace Arts Trust supports, promotes and exposes New Zealand contemporary artists across various media while providing the wider public with a substantial cultural and historical resource of contemporary New Zealand art.

More than 100 delegates from India and New Zealand, including business people, government officials and academics, gathered at the University of Waikato to discuss opportunities for the two nations to increase trade and business relations last week. Waikato Management School held the inaugural event to encourage growth in business opportunities with India for the Waikato region. The forum’s convenor, Associate Professor Asad Mohsin, says the forum achieved all of its objectives including creating awareness about India for the Waikato, showing the opportunities that exist, and showing what companies here need to consider before doing business in India. He has received lots of encouraging feedback following the forum and looks forward to the follow up in India next year. 

University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar and opera singer Chase Douglas has been named as one of the 2012 National AMP Scholarship winners. He is one of 10 national winners who have secured the scholarships that aim to help Kiwis chase their dreams. Chase has recently performed as a tenor soloist in Hamilton Opera production Opera Brava, and performed in a Tauranga production of Handel’s Messiah. “I’ve been lucky enough to sing with some of New Zealand’s finest opera singers and that was a huge privilege and honour to work with them and see their professionalism,” says Chase. Every year about 3000 people apply for the scholarships, and then are short-listed to be interviewed by a panel of judges. Recipients get financial assistance of up to $10,000-$15,000 and are put in touch with business that can help them achieve their goals. 

An aspiring iwi development worker and a prospective specialist te reo Māori teacher are the winners of this year’s Dame Te Atairangi Kaahu Scholarships.University of Waikato students Adrienne Paul and Kiriana Waru received the scholarships at a ceremony at Waikato Regional Council in Hamilton, which co-funds the scholarships with Waikato-Tainui, last month.Adrienne, who is from Motiti Island and of Ngati Awa and Tuhoe descent, received a $2000 scholarship. She has just completed her law degree and hopes to assist her people with the development of their Māori land blocks and trusts.“A lot of tribal land meetings involve a lot of politics, and I wanted to be in a position where I could explain all the different aspects of environmental law, Māori land law, and corporate entities. My goal was to help the people and be a voice for them.”Kiriana, from Taniwha Marae in the Waikato and of Ngati Mahuta descent, received $1600. In the third year of a Bachelor of Arts degree, she is hoping to qualify as a specialist te reo Māori teacher and work in the performing arts. The scholarships are to honor the late Māori queen Dame Te Atairangi Kaahu who worked hard for the good of the community and strongly encouraged people to develop their talents.

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