Media Advisory May 27

A delegation of Colombian politicians and top academics visit the University of Waikato today, Monday, to explore opportunities for collaboration in research and education in the agricultural sector. The delegation, led by Colombian Vice-Minister of Higher Education Patricia Martínez Barrios, and Director of Technological Development and Biosecurity Juan Fernando Gallego from the Ministry of Agriculture, will be welcomed by University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. University of Waikato experts will then present a series of short presentations on agri-focused research and expertise.

Top players in agribusiness will get together the night before Fieldays to discuss building export earnings from agribusiness innovation. The University Commercialisation offices of New Zealand (UCONZ) symposium event is hosted by the University of Waikato and keynote speakers include the Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce, Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries Wayne McNee and Sarah Kennedy who is Managing Director of Fonterra Nutrition. Chaired by Waikato University’s Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth, the panel will include Dr John Sharpe, CEO of CytonomeST, a high-tech Boston-based company that develops laser-based biomedical instrumentation, Dr Bert Quin, Director of international fertiliser consultancy Quin Environmentals (NZ) Ltd, Geoff Furniss, CEO of advanced fruit processing technology company, BBC Technologies Ltd and Stuart Gordon, CEO of Waikato Innovation Park Ltd and former CEO of Livestock Improvement Corporation. On a lighter note, judging will take place for the finals of an inaugural Waikato Milk Cocktail competition.

With the partial sale of Mighty River Power, New Zealand's electricity market has been regularly in the news. Malcolm Taylor from Contact Energy will take a look back at the development of New Zealand's electricity market, including a brief history of electricity generation and the setting up of ECNZ and the selling off of Contact Energy before moving on to a discussion of the formation of the present electricity market. He will also look to the future and discuss the effects of the partial sell-off of SOEs and the potential impact of a possible closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. He will also look at the implications of future wind energy development in New Zealand. The talk will be held in A Block, ground floor (AG30) on Thursday 30 May at 3pm. 

University of Waikato music students June and Jarvis Dams, soprano and baritone, have both been selected for this year's Astoria Music Festival Vocal Apprenticeship Program in Astoria, Oregon, to be held next month. The pair auditioned (online) at the suggestion of senior teaching fellow Dame Malvina Major and will now spend three weeks in Astoria focusing on opera. They'll receive voice coaching, attend daily German or Italian conversation classes and stage two full operas. Their parts are confirmed as Gianni Schicchi by Puccini and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. They have been frantically learning their roles in advance. June, the elder of the siblings, is in the final year of a Doctor of Musical Arts at Waikato and is a Hillary Scholar. Jarvis, a Hillary alumnus, graduated with a Masters of Music last year and is now studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma (Music) in professional performance practice.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford and Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori Professor Linda Smith will visit Gisborne and the East Coast next week, 4-7 June, to further strengthen ties with the area. Dr Apirana Mahuika, a University of Waikato Councillor, is organising a meeting between representatives from Ngāti Porou and other iwi and senior university staff. Visits to schools in Gisborne and Ruatoria are planned, as is an alumni and stakeholder event on 6 June. The university has more than 300 alumni in the area.

University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones has been appointed to a Ministerial Advisory Group carrying out a review of the New Zealand Teachers Council. Minister of Education Hekia Parata announced the advisory group last week, saying it will lead consultation on proposed changes to the Teachers Council and report back to the Minister in August. ERO chief executive Dr Graham Stoop chairs the group whose members include experienced educators Arihia Stirling, Barbara Ala'alatoa, Irene Cooper, Lynda Reid, Nancy Bell, Patrick Walsh and Peter Simpson.

A University of Waikato alumnus is about to brave ice, snow, and altitude when he takes on the highest race in the world - the Tenzing Hillary Marathon which starts on Wednesday, 29 May. Qualified snowboard instructor, international level wake-boarder, action sports fanatic, and former Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Chris Dunn has travelled to Nepal to take part in the marathon which kicks off at Everest Base Camp (5364m) and travels 42km through the Himalayas to Namche Bazaar (3446m). The marathon was created to commemorate the first successful ascent of Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary 60 years ago 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 his time in Nepal. The Sir Edmund Hillary scholarships are the University of Waikato’s most prestigious scholarship for students who are high academic achievers but who are also achieving in the arts or sport and who display leadership qualities. It was created to mirror the values of Sir Edmund Hillary. To see how Chris is getting on visit

About 750 senior secondary school biology students are expected to attend the 15th annual Waikato Experience Biology (WEB) Days next week. The WEB Days offer students the opportunity to experience a range of biology-related events, including a seminar on human evolution based on the Department's collection of hominid skulls; a lab session focusing on DNA technology, and a series of lectures on other key topics from the secondary school curriculum. The event runs over two days, 4-5 June 2013, at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus.

A leader in limestone and oceanographic research has been awarded the title of Emeritus Professor by the University of Waikato. Professor Campbell Nelson spent 41 years in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, joining the Earth and Ocean Sciences Department when it was in its infancy. Professor Nelson made a major contribution to the pool of qualified young geoscientists in New Zealand and abroad. On campus he was Associate Dean of Postgraduate Studies in the Faculty for 15 years, taught all levels of Earth and Ocean Sciences to more than 10,000 students, and supervised the thesis research of about 150 masters and doctoral students. He founded a sedimentary geology research group and became world-renowned for his research on non-tropical carbonate deposits and limestones based on widespread New Zealand examples. He also developed marine research programmes in paleoceanography which have led to a better understanding of the environmental and climatic changes that have affected the southwest Pacific region over the past several million years. Professor Nelson has been the recipient of four Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden grants, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, was the international councillor for the worldwide Society of Sedimentary Geology in 2006, and most recently was a winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Kudos Awards.

Waikato's Te Piringa - Faculty of Law hosts the 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium from 24-28 June. 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

A linguist from the University of Bern in Switzerland will talk about his discoveries of Palauan English in a lecture at the University of Waikato this week. David Britain, Professor of Modern English Linguistics, is touring New Zealand as the New Zealand Linguistics Society Visiting Fellow and giving a series of workshops and lectures. The Republic of Palau is an island state in the Western Pacific and Professor Britain will talk about the emergence of English in that country’s complex colonial past, examine its development, and the main linguistic characteristics of this unique form of the language. It's not the first time Professor Britain has been in New Zealand, he toured here in the 1990s when he worked on a project describing social dialects in Wellington. His Waikato lecture is on Wednesday 29 May in LAWG.04 from 9am-10am. (Parking available at the bottom of Gate 7)

The University of Waikato holds information evenings at its Hamilton and Tauranga campuses for people wanting to begin or resume study in July. There are sessions at the Hamilton campus's Student Centre on Wednesday 29 May and Wednesday 19 June from 4.30-7pm, and in Tauranga at the Bongard Centre at lunchtime on June 4 and 5. A variety of papers in all faculties are available for study in B Semester which begins in July.

Eager secondary school students from around the central North Island will visit the University of Waikato next week for the 27th annual Osborne Physics and Engineering (OsPEn) Days. Talks and practical demonstrations will give students the opportunity to see how the physics they are learning at school can be used in the wider world. A highlight of the event will be the Tractor Pull Competition. Participating schools have been sent a 3-volt electric motor and a set of nylon gears for students to work on in teams. Their aim is to design and build a small battery-powered model tractor that can tow a loaded model trailer a distance of five metres up a 5° inclined plane. Lectures will cover topics such as the Large Hadron Collider and the Higgs Boson, close encounters of the asteroid kind, battery-electric cars and fracture of materials.
The event runs over two days from 6-7 June 2013 at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus.

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