Media Advisory July 1

Two students and a staff member from the University of Waikato were recognised at the 65th annual Fulbright Awards held in Wellington last week. History lecturer Dr Nēpia Mahuika received a Fulbright New Zealand Scholar Award and will travel to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, where he will research the roles of oral traditions and oral histories as historical sources for Native American and Māori peoples. Fran Gourdie, who graduated in 2010 with a BSC and LLB (Hons), received a general graduate award and will complete a Master of Laws degree in Human Rights and International Trade Law at Columbia University in New York. Also heading to Columbia is Samantha Hill, who graduated in 2013 with a BSc (Tech). She will complete a Master of Science degree in Sustainability Management.

New Zealand’s waste policies are stuck in the 19th century as ever-rising levels of rubbish are dumped to landfill instead of systems fit for the 21st century of more and better recycling and possibly waste incineration, a leading environmental law expert says. Waikato’s Professor Al Gillespie told the ICUN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium held at Waikato University last week thatNew Zealand is struggling to find sustainable, long-term waste solutions despite years of rhetoric about how clean and green we are. He says we only recycle what is easy and go out of our way to avoid solutions that have proven successful in other countries, such as controlling waste streams such as plastic bags. “If you live in a country like Japan or in some parts of Europe, you have to make different choices and that’s why they have opted for new methods based on the highest technological and corporate standards. These new methods are the way of the future but not what we are doing at the moment,” he said.

Three new scholarships aimed at supporting first time students and those studying te reo Māori at the University of Waikato are being offered by the School of Māori and Pacific Development (SMPD). The scholarships, valued from $1500 to $2000, are for graduate and undergraduate students signing up to study with SMPD in B and T Semesters this year. The Reo Māori Award, which is worth up to $1500, is offered in acknowledgement of the regeneration and retention of te reo Māori and is available for students enrolling in either MAOR111 and MAOR112 courses in B and T Semester. The B and T Semester Undergraduate Awards (up to $1500) are to encourage and support new students who enrol either full-time or part-time for the first time in B or T Semester. The B Semester Graduate Awards (up to $2000) are for students who are studying honours, masters, a postgraduate diploma or postgraduate certificate for the first time, either part-time or full-time, in B Semester.

Four young Māori student leaders from the University of Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development will be speaking at a public seminar as part of the university’s participation in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week) with the theme of the seminar being Succession: the next generation of Māori speakers. All four students will present in te reo Māori. Waikato University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori Professor Linda Smith says through the years te reo has increasingly played a large role in university life. “Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is an opportunity for us at this University to celebrate our distinctiveness, the language of te reo, and to recognise and embrace the language across the university.” The seminar will be held on 7 July from 6pm-8pm in room AG.30 at the School of Māori and Pacific Development, the University of Waikato. Parking will be available at Gate 7.

Wanted: FIFO workers – people who fly in and out of Australia or elsewhere to work, but keep their bases in New Zealand. Researchers at the University of Waikato are carrying out what they think is the first survey of New Zealand fly-in-fly-out workers. They want to get a better understanding of the FIFO work experience, why people choose the lifestyle, and the impact that has on their families, whānau and communities. Dr Tahu Kukutai from the university’s National Institute for Demographic and Economic Analysis says they are particularly interested in the Taranaki and Waikato regions because they are resource-rich in oil, gas and minerals – the very industries that take people offshore to work. Dr Kukutai says by talking to FIFO workers they’ll get a much clearer understanding of the total FIFO package – digging deeper than the financial benefits that come from working offshore - and she’d like to talk to a good cross-section of workers, including Māori workers and any women who do fly-in-fly-out jobs.

Two University of Waikato students have won a Thrifty Scholarship in Tourism worth just over $4000 each. Sponsored by Thrifty Car Rentals, the scholarship will help Honours student Sandra Ringham study how the tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan manages its tourism industry for the benefit of its economy and people. Sandra says Bhutan charges around US$250 a day for every tourist that enters the country and tourists cannot enter Bhutan without a local guide. That means tourism investment and income benefits local communities and provides jobs for local people. The other Thrifty Scholarship recipient, Rachel Leinhardt, will use the funding to explore tourist motivation, researching why tourists decide on one attraction over another, and what influences their choice to visit a particular destination ahead of another one. The research could help tourist operators improve their marketing to particular sectors of the market, she says.

Thirteen chiefly Māori women signed the Treaty of Waitangi, and very few people know that. For Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, this marks the start of their journey in shaping what was to become a distinctive Aotearoa/New Zealand society. It also marks the starting point for a just-opened exhibition in Wellington which considers where women stand, how they got there, how they see themselves in 2013 and most importantly, Professor Te Awekotuku says, questions how Aotearoa will look in 2040. Professor Te Awekotuku, from the University of Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development, has co-curated the exhibition with former Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan. She says it’s the first of its type in 20 years and while the exhibition - Tirohia Mai, Look at us Now - is timed to coincide with the 120th anniversary of women receiving the vote in 1893, Professor Te Awekotuku says including the women who signed the Treaty of Waitangi 53 years earlier was important to provide context. The exhibition runs until November at Te Ahumairangi: The Gallery on the ground floor of the National Library in Wellington.

A University of Waikato lecturer says society needs to take some of the blame for business failures and company disasters, such as the Pike River Mine collapse and BP oil spill. Dr Heather Connolly, who lectures in strategic management at Waikato Management School, has written a book with her father Dr John Bircham titled Addicted to Performance: Society Demands “More-for-Less”. The pair researched a range of accidents and disasters in New Zealand and overseas to find out how the organisations involved were being run before their crisis. They expected to find leadership responsible for organisational success or failure and for common leadership themes to emerge, but what they found was that leadership alone was not to blame for oil spills, cases of fraud, air-craft accidents or company collapse. Dr Connolly says society has to take responsibility too because as consumers we are constantly demanding more from business but want to pay less, and that means businesses are trapped in a cycle of profit and production that has real and serious consequences.

The University of Waikato is holding an information evening for students and families in the Western Bay of Plenty. Staff will be available to answer questions and offer advice on different study options, entrance requirements, scholarships – including the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship programme – and accommodation. There will also be a variety of presentations throughout the night, and opportunities for study in both Hamilton and Tauranga will be covered. The information evening will take place at ASB Arena, Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui, from 6-7.30pm on Tuesday, 2 July.

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