Media Advisory July 22

The government’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Participation Programme has set up initiatives to ensure ‘priority’ families are participating in ECE before starting school. These are largely Māori and Pasifika children and children from low socio-economic communities. Academics from the University of Waikato have been evaluating the success of these initiatives, and will be presenting some of their findings in Wellington today (Monday July 22) as part of a seminar focussing on early childhood education. Associate Professor Linda Mitchell from the Faculty of Education Early Years Research Centre says the evaluation has enabled them to talk to parents to find out the barriers they face to ECE, what they want for their children and how they are finding the initiatives. Today’s seminar at the Museum Hotel is called ‘Increasing participation in quality early childhood education: Initiatives, priorities and challenges’ and will be attended by representatives from several government ministries, ECE organisations and academics. Dr Mitchell says the seminar is timely, given the new wave of welfare reforms announced by the government and the focus on ECE participation. The report on the participation programme evaluation can be found at education counts

Rosemarie Fili wanted to study how Tongan perspectives of beauty differed from western views so she entered a beauty pageant in the Pacific kingdom, and won. Rosemarie, 22, entered the Miss Heilala pageant - effectively the Miss Tonga competition - as part of her postgraduate studies at the University of Waikato and says it was a plan to learn more about Tongan women’s perspectives of beauty. She now has the chance to broaden her studies even further, with her new title guaranteeing her entry into the Miss South Pacific competition, being held in the Solomon Islands in December. Rosemarie - who was born in Christchurch but returned to live in Tonga when she was just three months old, before completing her schooling in Palmerston North - hopes to complete her postgraduate degree in Social Sciences with Honours later this year before fulfilling one of the conditions of her win and returning to Tonga to work as an ambassador for the government for six months.

The Kim Dotcom case has highlighted the need for New Zealand to review its extradition laws and improve aspects of its policing. Meanwhile, as he fights extradition to the United States, Dotcom has made several generous gestures to win the support of the New Zealand public. Waikato University law professor Neil Boister, an international law specialist, thinks the case is evenly balanced in legal terms. The Dotcom case will be the subject of his Inaugural Professorial Lecture, taking place at the university on July 23. Professor Boister says he chose the topic for his lecture a long time ago thinking the Dotcom case would be all wrapped up by now, but says it’s fascinating on many levels – how far the US and other western countries will go to maximise the protection of intellectual property, the complexity of police co-operation across borders, the man’s careful play to win over the public’s hearts and minds, and speculation on how the courts here in New Zealand will deal with him. Professor Boister’s lecture is at 6pm at the University of Waikato’s Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday, July 23. It’s free and open to the public.

Waikato University’s School of Māori and Pacific Development is hoping for a surge in late enrolments for a short course to give business leaders a better understanding of cultural practices. Irikura, Suspended Treasures, runs over six evenings from the end of July and aims to give executives the skills and confidence to take a meaningful part in Māori functions, ceremonies or rituals. It’s led by one of New Zealand’s foremost tikanga and te reo Māori experts, Pou Temara of Ngāi Tūhoe. Professor Temara says it will enable senior managers to do the right thing when the situation arises in the workplace or the community, and allow them to work more productively with Māori communities.

A multi award-winning and consciousness-raising documentary on the bitter-sweet world of chocolate will have its New Zealand premiere at the University of Waikato on July 25. Nothing like Chocolate, by visiting University of California Professor and part-time filmmaker Kum-Kum Bhavnani, tells the story of a quirky chocolate-maker, Mott Green, who set up a chocolate company partly because he heard of children being trafficked and enslaved in the Ivory Coast, which produces over one third of the world’s cocoa. Narrated by Susan Sarandon, Nothing like Chocolate has claimed many awards including ‘Best Documentary’ Award at the ITN Los Angeles Film Festival and was nominated for ‘Best Documentary’ at the prestigious Milan International Film Festival. The director is visiting the university to write her third collaborative book with Political Science Associate Professor Priya Kurian and Management Communication Professor Debashish Munshi. Nothing like Chocolate will screen at the university on Thursday, July 25 from 5.30–8.30pm in room S1.04. A further screening will run at the Tauranga Campus on Monday, July 29 at the Bongard Centre, Lecture Theatre 104, with a 6pm start. Both screenings are free and open to the public.

Hobbits, mental health, the arts and education all feature in the University of Waikato’s Winter Lecture Series. The lectures are on every Wednesday in August and bring together the latest university research and experts from the community to promote robust discussion on a series of topics.
August 7 - An Unexpected Result: The Business of Hobbits. Tourism heads and researchers discuss the benefits to the region of having parts of The Hobbit movies filmed here. Speakers: Hamilton & Waikato Tourism head Kiri Goulter, Matamata PR Association manager Sue Whiting, and University of Waikato’s Dr Carolyn Michelle, who has been carrying out worldwide research on perceptions of and reactions to The Hobbit.
August 14 – It’s all in Your Head: Understanding More about Mental Health. Speakers: Denise L’Estrange-Corbet - a long time mental health campaigner - will be joined by Waikato University researchers Associate Professor Cathy Coleborne and Dr Nicola Starkey.
August 21 - Class Struggles: Is Our Education on Track? Speakers: Educational experts Dr Noeline Wright, Associate Professor Deborah Fraser and Dr Bill Ussher.
August 28 - A Star is Born: How Hamilton’s Arts Scene Has Come of Age. Speakers: Creative Waikato head Sarah Nathan, arts patron Sir James Wallace and university art collection curator Steph Chalmers.
The Winter Lecture Series is held in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures run from 6pm to 7pm.

Career professionals, seeking a change or wanting to upskill, can now study for a career-specific masters degree at the University of Waikato Management School. The school is offering year-long Master of Professional Management degrees in Agribusiness, Finance, Public Relations and International Hospitality Management, starting in T-Semester (November) this year. The 180 point masters degrees are for people who already have an undergraduate degree but who now want specialist knowledge in a specific area. The degrees are made up of 10 high-level papers, that cover core knowledge and skills, move on to advanced professional knowledge and finish with either an applied research project or internship. For more information view the Master of Professional Management handbook.

The University of Waikato is offering new Research Institute Scholarships for masters and doctoral students and applications close at the end of the month. There are six research institutes at the university and they are each offering a doctoral scholarship worth $22,000 a year plus tuition fees for three years' full time study, and a masters scholarship worth $12,000 that includes a fees component of $3,500 – 12 scholarships in all. The institutes support world-class research in environmental science, demography and economic analysis, business and leadership, professional learning and development, education, and Māori and indigenous development. For more information go to the Research Insitiute Scholarships page.

This page has been reformatted for printing.