Media Advisory May 13

The quality of a University of Waikato education has been recognised globally with six subject areas taught at the university assessed as being among the best in the world. Of the six, Law and Education are ranked in the top 100 worldwide in the QS Universities Subject Rankings, which assess nearly 3000 universities on the quality of 30 different subject areas. Computer Science, Economics and Econometrics, History and Geography and are also ranked in the top 200 of the rankings. Within the rankings, Geography has improved from being ranked between 151-200 to between 101-150, while Education improves from 101-150 to 51-100. Law, which didn’t make the top 200 in 2012, leaps straight into the top 100 while Computer Science is ranked 101-150 and History ranked 151-200. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rankings are considered among the most influential of university ranking systems and are based on academic and employer surveys, research citations for each subject area, the ratio of students to staff and the number of international students and staff at the university. The University of Waikato is already ranked in the top 2% of universities in the world by Times Higher Education.

Thousands of students will get a taste of university life as Waikato University gets ready for Open Day on Friday. Students from as far away as Taranaki and Gisborne are expected to converge on the Hamilton campus, as well as students from Northland, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay regions. The annual event is designed to showcase the qualifications, academic excellence, student support, facilities and lifestyle the university offers. Tours of the campus laboratories and grounds will also be available. A range of mini lectures will be running throughout the day with topics such as 'Is time-travel possible?', 'Is a girlfriend a good investment?', 'Toilets and fungi and corkscrews – oh my!' and 'Sexing up Te Reo Māori'. Prospective students will have the chance to attend dance workshops, chemistry demonstrations and accommodations tours. Open Day runs from 9am to 2pm, 17 May. All members of the community are welcome. For more information and to download a programme visit

University of Waikato Earth and Ocean Sciences Professor Louis Schipper will discuss how working with soil microbes could help overcome problems caused by human acceleration of the nitrogen cycle at his Inaugural Professorial Lecture next week. Professor Schipper, who started his career as a PhD student studying denitrifying microbes in riparian wetlands, will explain how his career has moved from simple research to creating systems utilising those microbes to return excess nitrogen to the atmosphere as a gas. "We have converted nitrogen gas in our atmosphere to biologically-available forms that substantially increase plant and animal growth. When nitrogen is in excess its movement through the landscape leads to multiple unwanted environmental effects. Completing the nitrogen cycle to return excess nitrogen to the atmosphere requires us to learn how to work with soil microorganisms." Professor Schipper’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture takes place at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday, 21 May at 6pm. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of formally introducing new or recently appointed professors to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.

University of Waikato Fulbright Scholar Lora Vaioleti is heading to New York City to work with a global partnership dedicated to helping Pacific Island leaders work together on climate change, conservation and progress towards a sustainable future. She has secured an internship with the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and will be assisting three major projects, including sourcing funding assistance for Micronesian island groups, planning for the International Year of the Small Island Developing States in 2014 and helping to define GLISPA's role in a planned world-wide voyage of traditional Polynesian vaka, the Hōkūleʻa, being organised by the Polynesian Voyaging Society. In the last month of her study, she secured two small grants to interview a number of Tongan-Americans in a study on migration and the application of the socio-spatial concept of Tauhi va; attempting to gauge the latent value within traditional social practices for adapting to predicted changes in climate. This and other University of Waikato research will be on show at the university's Premier stand at Fieldays. Waikato University is a strategic partner of Fieldays, which is being held at Mystery Creek from 12-15 June.

A group of top international energy and resource law academics will present their work at a free and open public seminar in Hamilton this week, covering different aspects of global developments in law and policy in energy, resources and the environment. University of Waikato law Professor Barry Barton is the sole New Zealander on the Academic Advisory Group of SEERIL – the Section on Energy, Environment, Resources and Infrastructure of the International Bar Association – who will be visiting Waikato from 8-13 May. The Hamilton seminar takes place today, Monday 13 May from 3-6.15pm, at the University of Waikato's Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and is being hosted by the Centre for Environmental, Resources and Energy Law (CEREL), based at the university, and co-sponsored by the International Bar Association and the Energy Law Association of New Zealand. The same group will host a day-long Energy Underground conference in Wellington on Wednesday 15 May for the legal fraternity, policy professionals and academics to talk about subsurface issues relevant to policy and law making in New Zealand.

Today's Café Scientifique will investigate the $9 billion contribution that bees make to New Zealand's economy and the critical role they play in the chain of food production. National Beekeepers' Association member Dennis Crowley will share his 17 years of experience working with bees and comment on the practice of continuing to open up tracts of land for agricultural and horticultural production and what this means for the bees and, consequently, for us. He will also explore the reasons honey production is now best done outside of the Western Bay of Plenty, the economic and environmental consequences of failing to nurture our local bee populations and what a bee-less Bay of Plenty might look like in the future. Café Scientifique is a forum for exploring science issues, where for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology.Café Scientifique takes place today, Monday 13 May, at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga starting at 6.30pm. The series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks and supported by the University of Waikato.

Waikato's Te Piringa - Faculty of Law will be hosting the 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium from 24 - 28 June this year. Hosting international environmental law conferences in New Zealand is a rare event, and the 2013 colloquium will be only the third international environmental law conference to be held in New Zealand since 1991, and the first time that the colloquium has been hosted in this country. The Academy was established by the International Union for Conservation (IUCN) in 2003, and has grown to become a network of more than 500 environmental law academics from more than 160 universities based in more than 50 countries. Trevor Daya-Winterbottom is Associate Dean Research at Te Piringa - Faculty of Law and chair of the organising committee for this year's colloquium. He says for a country that has significant economic focus on primary production, developing a coherent body of sound environmental law is an important foundation for future growth and prosperity. "Hosting the colloquium in New Zealand provides a unique opportunity for thought leadership, exposing our environmental law academics to leading international developments in the field from other countries, and similarly providing an opportunity for overseas academics to learn something from us." For more information go to

Professor Gregor Falk from Freiberg University of Education in Germany will be presenting a seminar at Waikato University this week, Thursday 16 May, discussing his view on alternative contributing factors to climate change. "Droughts in Africa, floods in Bangladesh, erupting Icelandic volcanoes, thousands of environmental refugees or flooding along our rivers, it is too easy to identify climate change as a scapegoat to explain threatening phenomena around the globe," says Professor Falk. "Often we fail to see that climate-related changes are only one part of the story about the systems of our highly complex Earth, in many disaster-prone regions, vulnerability is a direct consequence of inappropriate land use and degradation of natural resources". Based on different regional examples, Professor Falk provides some insights into the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change and he explains how inappropriate land use can have threatening consequences for our living environments. His seminar on Thursday 16 May begins at 7.30pm and will be in room I2.22 at the University of Waikato. It is free and open to the public.

University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Adam Burn has been named in the New Zealand U20 Rugby team to play in the IRB Junior World Cup in France next month. Loose forward Adam is one of three Waikato region players to be named in the team."The team was named last month after a couple of summer training camps and trials. The quality of the players at the camps was high so I always knew selection was going to be tough," says Adam. The New Zealand U20 squad will have a pre-departure camp and a fixture against the Auckland Blues Development team before departing for France on 30 May. Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarships are the University of Waikato's most prestigious scholarships and are awarded to students who are high academic achievers and are also achieving in the arts or sport. Scholars have their course fees covered, receive specialist coaching and mentoring and take part in personal development and leadership programmes.

Waikato University history student Ryan Wood's love for history has secured him the Michael Caiger Memorial Scholarship, worth $5000. Ryan's passion for history and talent for theatre has culminated in him performing in Carving in Ice's production of Alan Bennett's famous play The History Boys. In a case of life imitating art, Ryan is playing a student that studies history and acts as a hobby. "What I love about theatre is that it gives you the chance to be someone else for a while." The scholarship was established in recognition of the high regard in which education was held by Michael Caiger, and provides financial assistance to students who demonstrate academic potential to further their studies. To apply for the scholarship, Ryan had to demonstrate his commitment to and vision for the field of history. The play opens on 30 August and runs through to 7 September. For more info, visit:

A University of Waikato alumnus will brave ice, snow, and altitude when he takes on the highest race in the world - the Tenzing Hillary Marathon. Qualified snowboard instructor, international level wake-boarder, action sports fanatic, and former Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Chris Dunn will travel to Nepal this month to complete the marathon. The Tenzing Hillary Marathon starts on 29 May at Everest Base Camp (5364m) and travels 42km through the Himalyas to Namche Bazaar (3446m). The marathon was created to commemorate the first successful ascent of Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Ed in May 1953. Chris was a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar for two years. The University of Waikato is supporting Chris, helping cover his training costs and being in Nepal. The Sir Edmund Hillary scholarships are the University of Waikato's most prestigious scholarship for students who are high academic achievers that are also achieving in the arts or sport and display leadership qualities. It was created to mirror the values of Sir Edmund Hillary. To see how Chris is getting on visit

Victoria University Associate Professor Mark McGuinness will give a free public lecture at the University of Waikato next week on 22 May discussing volcanoes. It is the third of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s 10x10 lecture series. Dr McGuinness will discuss how mathematics can be used to help understand how expanding gases break rock and cause hot rock and ash to erupt violently from earth to air in huge black clouds. Recent mathematical modelling has been inspired by laboratory observations of exploding rocks and dusts, and this lecture will explain the implications of this modelling for the homogeneity of ejected materials. The lecture is free and open to the public and takes place in S.G.01 on 22 May, starting at 7.30pm. For enquiries, contact 04 470 5770 or

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