Media Advisory February 4

The University of Waikato is once again a strategic partner of Te Matatini – New Zealand’s national kapa haka competition and premier Māori cultural performing arts festival. Waikato University staff and students will be performing at the event, and other staff members are judging. University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the university’s partnership with Te Matatini is part of an on-going commitment to developing and enhancing its Māori distinctiveness. “The university has always sought to establish and build relationships not only with local iwi and iwi of Te Rōpu Manukura, but with many other iwi across New Zealand.” Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) Professor Linda Smith, also Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development, says partnerships such as that with Te Matatini, help strengthen the university’s ties with Māori. “Not only is Te Matatini an important event for our region, but it will give us the opportunity to celebrate Māori. I am looking forward to hosting people at Te Matatini and showcasing the talents of our staff and students.” Te Matatini will take place at the Rotorua International Stadium, 20-24 February.

A man who left school at 12 and who helped generations of young people make the most of their opportunities has been awarded the University of Waikato medal. Bill Flower received the medal – which is given to acknowledge services of international and national credibility, outstanding leadership and community endeavour in a person who also has strong university connections – at a ceremony at the university on 30 January. Mr Flower was among the first to volunteer for a committee set up to raise funds for the Halls of Residence when a university was first mooted for Hamilton. He and his wife Joan have funded undergraduate prizes in global and environmental economics at the University of Waikato and in 2010 launched the Flower Doctoral Fellowship in Economics. University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says Mr Flower is a great friend of the university. “He has been involved with the University of Waikato since the very beginning and has given his support to generations of students.”

The Waikato Centre for Advanced Materials (WaiCAM) holds a Titanium Alloy Powder Metallurgy Research, Development and Commercialisation symposium this week to showcase developments in titanium research and technology. Waikato University has a world-class titanium research team, and many members will use the symposium to present their research findings. They will be joined by titanium researchers and industry representatives from around the country. Organiser Professor Deliang Zhang says the conference aims to unite titanium industry insiders to discuss key issues facing the industry. The one-day symposium is at the University of Waikato on 7 February.

Former All White Che Bunce has established the Waikato University Football Academy to give aspiring players a coaching programme combined with fulltime study. The 32-week programme is currently available to a maximum of 12 University of Waikato students. Successful applications will have skills-based training four times a week, tailored gym programmes, training gear supplied by Nike, and receive specialist coaching while competing their qualifications at the University of Waikato. Bunce begins training students on 25 February. He holds United Kingdom and New Zealand coaching qualifications and will be the main coach. University of Waikato Student and Academic Services head Michelle Jordan-Tong says the Football Academy is a great addition to the already comprehensive list of services available to high-performance students at the university. The University of Waikato offers a range of scholarships including the prestigious Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship and provides support through a High Performance Student Manager who works with students to help them balance their training, competition and study commitments. The university is also a member of the High Performance Sport New Zealand Athlete Friendly Tertiary Network.

Two teams from Waikato University have made it into the final of the 2013 New Zealand Microsoft Imagine Cup.The Cold Studios team of Ersin Buckley, Shawnee Kitson, Brian Cole and Marcel Beetz have created an app called My Storyteller, which is designed to bring families with one parent working away from home closer together. The app is designed to bridge the gap between caregivers and children in the busy modern world, and allows caregivers to record themselves telling a custom story to their child while overseas, which is then sent home through the internet and can be played back at any time. Team NAME members Jess Howse, Michael Watson, Haley Littlewood and Keiran Thomson have created a mobile app aimed at third world countries that will keep records of vaccines and will notify the user, or other family members via text, when they are due for a booster shot. When the user is connected to Wi-Fi it will also notify them of any updates or new vaccines. The Microsoft Imagine Cup, the world’s largest technology competition, invites tertiary students from around the globe to create software using Microsoft applications to find real solutions to real-world problems. It is held in Auckland from 24-25 March.

University of Waikato PhD student Megan Grainger has been awarded a Fulbright Travel Award to present her Masters research at the University of Montana. Fulbright New Zealand Travel Awards are for New Zealand academics, artists or professionals to present their work to American audiences, and Megan will be presenting her Masters research while continuing work on her PhD in Montana later this year. However, the Fulbright Travel Award isn’t Megan’s only reason for going to Montana. Last year she received a Claude McCarthy Fellowship to help her travel to the States to work more closely with her external supervisor University of Montana Professor Emeritus Richard Field – a physical chemist who specialises in nonlinear dynamics. Megan was also the recipient of a Shirtcliffe Fellowship, which aims to assist students of outstanding ability and character who are graduates of a New Zealand university, in the continuation of their doctoral studies. Her PhD is looking at the chemical conversion that occurs in mānuka honey responsible for the unique mānuka factor (UMF), and trying to find out how it occurs, and how long it takes. She is working to produce a model that will predict the ideal conversion environment. Megan leaves for Montana in July.

This page has been reformatted for printing.