Media Advisory September 30

Te Kotahitanga, a project based in the Faculty of Education at Waikato University, has been named one of six major winners in the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). Te Kotahitanga has been in operation for 11 years and has been directed by Professor Russell Bishop and, more recently, Associate Professor Mere Berryman. The project has focused on raising Māori achievement through classroom interaction. During the project, 48 schools were involved. Some of the recent data indicates significant improvement in Māori achievement in secondary schools. Dean of Education Professor Roger Moltzen says the WISE award is fitting recognition for a project that has engaged project staff, principals, teachers and students. The six winning initiatives will be showcased at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar from October 29-31.

Waikato University-hosted symposium ‘Ecological Restoration 2013: the Waikato Story’ is on at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at Waikato University on Wednesday 2 October. The symposium is a showcase for researchers from the university, Waikato Regional Council, NIWA, Landcare Research and local groups including the Waikato Biodiversity Forum, Waikato River Authority and Waikato Raupatu River Trust who are working on projects to restore Waikato waterways, as well as researching how to monitor, manage and restore terrestrial biodiversity in urban and rural areas. It’s a chance for anyone interested in environmental matters to hear Waikato’s top environmental scientists and practitioners share their stories on restoring a full range of ecosystems before they take the ‘Waikato Story’ to the world. Ministry for the Environment chief executive Dr Paul Reynolds is the keynote speaker. Next week the Waikato researchers will present 10 coordinated talks at an invited symposium at the 5th World Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration in Wisconsin.

This Friday the Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards celebrate 61 high-achieving students who excel in sports and the creative and performing arts. The Blue is a prestigious award that recognises national excellence through to world champions. The awards are one of the University of Waikato's strongest traditions, dating back to 1971. Forty-three University of Waikato students will be recognised for their athletic achievements this year, alongside 18 students who have made considerable contributions to the creative and performing arts. Among the awards given out will be the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, Māori Person of the Year and Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year. Also given out on the evening at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts are awards recognising long service, as well as club, sports team and sports coach of the year. For more information visit the Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards page.

World-leading neuroscientist Professor Michael Merzenich’s work treating brain diseases such as autism, dyslexia and schizophrenia is about to be adapted to see if it can help people with Huntington’s disease. Merzenich is a leading authority on neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself, and has developed computer-based exercises that can retrain a person’s brain to overcome problems associated with disease. While the work is mostly centred on autism, dyslexia and schizophrenia, University of Waikato Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Melanie Cheung is keen to find out if this approach can also be used to help people with Huntington’s disease. Dr Cheung will spend about six months at Merzenich’s Brain Plasticity Institute in San Francisco after receiving a Fulbright New Zealand Scholars Award.

Award-winning actor and director Miranda Harcourt will be on campus on Wednesday, October 2 giving inspiration to University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars as part of their leadership programme. Brought to campus by Celebrity Speakers, Ms Harcourt was the Head of Acting at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School for seven years and now works independently as an acting coach all over the world with celebrity clients and new talent. She’ll also be presenting a workshop to 20 theatre studies students focusing on Connection – shifting the paradigm around screen performance. Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarships are the University’s most prestigious scholarships and are awarded to students who are high academic achievers who 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.

Novelist, poet and academic, Vincent O’Sullivan is returning to the Waikato to present this year’s Frank Sargeson lecture at the University of Waikato. Emeritus Professor Vincent O’Sullivan taught at Waikato from 1968-1978. His novel Let the River Stand won the 1994 Montana Book Award; in 2006 he was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for literary achievement, and this year he was named Poet Laureate. The Sargeson Lecture takes place at S.G.02 at 5.30pm on October 30 when Professor O’Sullivan will talk about Sargeson’s personal and professional relationship with author Dan Davin. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will consider some of the currents, and cross-currents, of that friendship.

The University of Waikato is hosting an information evening on Wednesday that will provide information on all aspects of university life with faculty representatives on-hand to give advice on Summer School (T Semester, November 4 - December 13 and S Semester, January 6 - February 21), study in 2014, accommodation, scholarships, course choices, and the application process. Student ambassadors will conduct campus tours from 3pm-4pm. Included in the information evening will be specific information for those considering postgraduate study, with presentations from academic and administrative staff on research, study and funding opportunities. There will be a Masters Research presentation from 5pm-5.45pm, and a Higher Degree presentation from 5.45pm-6.30pm. The information evening is on Wednesday, October 2 from 4pm-7pm at the university Student Centre.

The 2013 Latin American Film Festival is coming to Hamilton with screenings held at the University of Waikato from September 26 to October 6. The festival features a range of films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela. This year’s selection of films covers a wide range of genres, topics and styles giving movie-lovers a chance to immerse themselves into the languages - Portuguese and Spanish – as well as into the cultural and social aspects of these countries. Films are being shown on campus in room S.1.02. For more information on dates and times of screenings, visit LAFF’s Facebook page. All sessions are free and open to the public. Family-orientated films are being screened on Sundays during the festival.

The University of Waikato is hosting a range of events during October as part of its annual Postgraduate Month. Kicking off the month is a doctoral information evening on Wednesday, October 2 aimed at people considering postgraduate study. The information evening is in the university Student Centre Blue Room from 4pm with a Masters Research presentation from 5pm-5.45pm, and a Higher Degree presentation from 5.45pm-6.30pm. Other events during the month include workshops for students new to postgraduate study, those midway and finishing their research, and those starting their careers outside academia. Staff workshops are being held for doctoral supervisors and exam conveyors. Back again is the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition which sees doctoral students outline their theses in just three minutes and carries a $5000 prize to go towards their research. The final is on October 22. For more information on these events visit the Student and Academic Services page.  

Free information sessions about the University of Waikato’s MBA and other postgraduate business programmes will be held in Hamilton and Tauranga during October. All programmes begin between January and March next year. The Hamilton information sessions take place on Tuesday, October 8 and Thursday, October 10, 5.30pm at Waikato Management School. Tauranga sessions focusing on the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies take place on Wednesday 9 October and Monday 14 October, 5.30pm at the Bongard Centre, 200 Cameron Road, Tauranga. To find out more and reserve your place phone 0800 800 891 or email

The University of Waikato will host two Alumni and Friends events this week in Wellington on October 2 and Christchurch on October 3. Both events will be hosted by the Chancellor, Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford, and will feature the University’s Senior Fellow in Music Dame Malvina Major as she coaches three voice students through a singing master class. The University hosts a number of events throughout New Zealand and overseas to keep in touch with alumni and share the latest Waikato news and highlights. Alumni are invited to register for these events to

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