Media Advisory March 11

The University of Waikato will be completely smoke free from 1 January 2014. The decision will mean a cleaner, healthier environment for students and staff to enjoy and take pride in, says Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. “The University is committed to providing a healthy and safe working and learning environment and a smoke free campus will be a huge part of this. It will ensure all staff, students and visitors get to enjoy our beautiful campus while breathing in clean, fresh air,” says Professor Crawford. “The majority of staff and students will welcome this decision – there has always been demand for a smoke free campus – and initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.” He says many other New Zealand tertiary institutions have already made the move, and that the new policy will be centred on education, communication and self-policing. "We’ve planned a long phase-in period to allow for significant communication and consultation with staff and students, including provision of support for smokers who wish to become smoke free," he says. The university shares the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s campuses in Tauranga, which are already smoke free.

There are said to be more than 2000 land and other claims at the community level across Canada. Very few have been resolved. Several approaches have been tried for dealing with them; none have proved particularly successful. ‘Specific claims’, as they are called in Canada, generally refer to claims made by First Nations against the Crown regarding unfulfilled Treaty promises and the administration of land and other First Nation assets. In a free public lecture, Professor Norman Zlotkin from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law, will take a critical look at the various approaches towards the resolution of specific claims, including the Specific Claims Tribunal, established in 2008, the first time in which an independent specialised tribunal model has been utilised for First Nation claims purposes. The free lecture takes place tomorrow, Tuesday, 12 March, 5-6pm in MSB101 at Waikato Management School.

It’s one of the of the Western world's most ancient and celebrated texts and a University of Waikato linguistics lecturer has helped determine when it was actually written. Dr Andreea Calude of the University’s Department of General and Applied Linguistics at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was part of an international team which found that Homer’s Iliad was probably written in about 762 B.C, confirming the time most scholars agreed with. Researchers used statistical modelling techniques to trace changes in common word usage back to the words used in the Iliad. Dr Calude say she has been pleasantly surprised at the interest in the project, with the findings first published in the Inside Science New Service and since been published in several other publications.

Have you ever run around a corner to find yourself face to face with someone else and no time to react? Waikato University Mechanical Engineering student Nathan Dibley spent his summer working out ways to avoid these situations, with a research scholarship from the Child Injury Prevention Foundation of New Zealand. Nathan focused his hazard investigation on primary schools, where collisions between children are common and sometimes serious. The young engineer found the most feasible option for this was a corner extension which would change the child’s path as they ran around the corner, essentially avoiding the likelihood of a collision. But before this conclusion came an exciting research and development phase. Nathan spent time finding out what size to make the corner attachment by researching the average height of a primary school child and conducting simple running exercises with children to test stopping distances. He also investigated non-engineering solutions with help from local school teachers.

A University of Waikato student has spent the summer helping scale-up a project that turns chicken feathers into fibre. Engineering student Geoffrey Wood has been working on a Summer Research Scholarship under the tutelage of Dr Johan Verbeek, trying to come up with novel ways to refine the process of turning chicken feathers into a fibre. Every year New Zealand produces about 50,000 tons of chicken feathers as a by-product of the meat industry. The feathers are washed, cut and sorted producing resilient feather-fibre. Potential uses could be as a substitute for fibre-glass or ceiling panels or packaging - anything requiring rigidity or strength. “My role was to build a fibre classification device to separate the different grades of fibres,” says Geoffrey. “It’s basically a large cylindrical tube with a fan at the bottom. The idea being that when you put in a range of feathers the really light, fluffy ones – the best ones for fibre – are collected at the top.” The Summer Research Programme is intended as an initiative to support and enhance research at the University of Waikato. The Scholarships provide promising students, particularly those considering further study, with the opportunity to experience the rewards of research work.

A free public lecture examining US environmental law will be hosted by the University of Waikato next week in Tauranga. Retired District Court Chief Judge Kirk Samelson, from Colorado, will give an overview of the various state and federal environmental statutes and the interaction between federal, state and local laws with an emphasis on water. He will briefly review the oil spills in Alaska (Exxon Valdez) and the Gulf of Mexico (Deepwater Horizon) and discuss enforcement and liability with regard to environmental laws. His presentation will also examine hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, regulation in oil and gas drilling and the potential for water pollution. Judge Samelson is visiting the University of Waikato under the Fulbright Specialist Program to present a series of lectures and workshops in environmental law. The lecture will be held on Monday 18 March, 5.30-6.30pm, at the Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga. For further information and to register, contact Nyree Sherlock,, or call 07 577 5376.

High profile British legal expert, Nicholas Phillips (Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers), the first President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, currently a Dixon Poon Distinguished Fellow and Visiting Professor at King's College, London, the President of the Qatar International Court and a judge on the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong, will give a free public lecture looking at the approach taken towards the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg and in the United Kingdom. More specifically, he will consider how the British Parliament has given domestic effect to the Convention under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the way in which the Supreme Court has interpreted the relevant provisions of that Act. That lecture takes place next week at the University of Waikato’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, 6.15pm, on Monday 18 March.

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