Media Advisory May 6

With just a month to go before the Southern Hemisphere's largest agricultural showpiece kicks off for the 45th time, the University of Waikato is welcoming the opportunity to once again show off its innovative and groundbreaking agricultural research at Fieldays. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it should come as no surprise to see the University of Waikato firmly committed to agricultural research and development. "We are located in the heart of the most important agricultural region in the country," he says. "The University of Waikato has developed enduring partnerships and research collaborations with leading agricultural organisations. Our students undertake internships with these organisations and many go on to have very successful and rewarding careers with them." Among the organisations the University works closely with are Fonterra, AgResearch, GNS Science, Landcare Research, Dairy NZ, both the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regional councils and several government departments. The National Agricultural Fieldays is being held at Mystery Creek from 12-15 June.

Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister, Sir Peter Gluckman, will address the Waikato science community on Friday when he delivers a short presentation about the just-released National Science Challenges at the University of Waikato. Sir Peter will speak from 2-2.30pm on Friday, 10 May, in MSB1.01, anyone interested in science is welcome to attend. The 10 National Science Challenges were decided by a panel of scientists and were chosen as those which would have major benefits for New Zealand.

A group of top international energy and resource law academics will present their work at a free and open public seminar in Hamilton next 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 8-12 May. The Hamilton seminar takes place on 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.

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 this month. 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. For more information on Professor Schipper’s work, visit: 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.

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

Next week’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 why 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 at Alimento, 72 First Avenue, Tauranga on Monday 13 May, starting at 6.30pm. The series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks and supported by the University of Waikato.

Four University of Waikato rowers have been selected in the New Zealand University squad to travel to the World University Games in Russia this year.Matthew Glenn has been named as the men's single sculler, Paddy McInnes and Logan Rodger form the men's pair, and Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar Matthew Dunham was named in the men's lightweight double sculls in the New Zealand University squad following a successful University Rowing Championship regatta recently. 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. The four head to the World Rowing University Championships in Kazan, Russia, on 6-8 July.

Strange interludes, tremendous honesty, occasional disturbing moments and general silliness are all woven into Carving in Ice Theatre’s latest production called Instructions for Life. Opening on 16 May in the Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, the play is a devised theatre piece, collectively collaborated by a group of 13, current and former Waikato University students. Director Gaye Poole, who teaches Theatre Studies at Waikato University, says the piece evolved organically and incrementally from there as a result of the homework given to the group each week. The play runs on 16-18 May at 7.30pm at the Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts in Hamilton before moving out to the Gaslight Theatre in Cambridge for shows on 6-8 June at 7.30pm and 9 June, 2pm. Tickets: Concession/Student $15, Adult $20. Bookings:

Waikato University graduate Victoria McCullough chose engineering because she wanted to study towards a career that was both academic and practical. As a Graduate Process Engineer for engineering consultancy Transfield Worley Ltd, Victoria is putting her skills to the test. “Companies approach us to complete projects for them. This can be anything from design work, through to sourcing components and commissioning the project,” says Victoria. She has worked on projects throughout New Zealand during her time in the company’s graduate programme. Projects have included involvement in the design stage of Marsden Point Oil Refinery’s $365 million expansion and site experience at Fonterra Whareroa, updating the company’s plant drawings. She is currently on a secondment to the New Plymouth office of Origin Energy, an Australian energy company.

Six weeks camping in the Andes, 3000 metres above sea level, is not what typically comes to mind when thinking about a career in Chemistry. Yet for Waikato graduate Jacob Croall, this is just one of the amazing experiences he has had during his exciting position in Colorado, USA. Former Hillcrest High School student Jacob works as the manager of global water treatment for the Newmont Mining Corporation. His main tasks include supporting projects and operations in all areas that relate to water; in particular developing treatment systems for process and contact water that comes from the mines. Water is becoming an increasingly important factor for the mining business and there is pressure on compliance criteria from regulators, coupled with increasingly complex ores and processing requirements, and operations that are coming on-line in increasingly challenging locations.

Victoria University Associate Professor Mark McGuinness will give a free public lecture at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on 22 May discussing volcanoes. It is the third talk of the Royal Society of New Zealand 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 on 22 May, starting at 7.30pm. For enquiries, contact 04 470 5770 or

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