Media Advisory October 21

Fulbright scholar Sarah Lockwood from Tauranga will talk about her research into the Rena oil spill in tomorrow night’s final of the 2013 University of Waikato Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. In total, 10 students will outline their doctoral research to a lay audience with the winning presenter taking home $3000 and going on to represent Waikato at the Trans-Tasman 3MT competition next year. Sarah Lockwood’s research aims to better understand the unique organising and communicating dynamics of Generation Y volunteers. Travis Bartosh from the US has been working on analysing language themes from farmers’ markets to understand how the markets engage with the processes of globalisation. The 3MT final will be hosted by comedian Michele A’Court and starts at 7pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on October 22. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

A world leader in population studies will discuss how to avoid the collapse of civilisation, in a series of lectures at New Zealand universities. Professor Paul Ehrlich from Stanford University will present a public lecture, Avoiding Global Collapse, at the University of Waikato on 23 October before also visiting Palmerston North, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. He is best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, which outlined the problem: too many people, too little food, and a dying planet. To fix the problems, he argued that food production needed to be greatly increased, and the population growth rate reduced. He will explain how two kinds of evolution have interacted to create the human predicament - the imminent threat of a collapse of civilization - then discuss the evolutionary steps necessary to avoid that threat. Professor Ehrlich will speak at the University of Waikato on Wednesday, 23 October at 6.30pm in the Playhouse Theatre at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

Innovative technologies have spurred major improvements in food production in New Zealand yet, at the same time, recent events have highlighted serious safety issues. At Tauranga’s Café Scientifique tonight, University of Waikato Agribusiness Professor Jacqueline Rowarth will examine the three critical food factors influencing this country – security of supply, sustainability of production and safety of processing. Professor Rowarth is on the Board of Trustees for the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) and the National Science Challenges Peak Panel, and is President of the New Zealand Grassland Association. The Café takes place on Monday 21 October, 6.30pm for 7.10pm start at the new venue of Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. The cost is $5 per person which includes light refreshments. For more information please visit the Café Scientifique page or email

Planting thousands of seeds by hand is a tedious job, but with the help of University of Waikato engineering students, this task could now be much simpler for tree improvement and treestock production business ArborGen Australasia. As part of a third-year mechanical engineering design paper, seven teams of students were asked to create a prototype that could distribute one pine tree seed in each compartment of a seedling tray in the shortest time. The inventions were tested at the Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show recently. The winners on the day were Sam Brien, Jeff McDowell, Josh McIntyre and Phill Ross, whose prototype seeder was judged the easiest to use by Antoinette Roberts, an ArborGen Australasia Nursery Manager. The Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show gives Waikato University engineering students from years two, three and four the opportunity to showcase their prototypes, posters and design projects.

He may not be as well-known as a certain Ella Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, but University of Waikato senior lecturer Te Kahautu Maxwell got to share the limelight with the chart-topping pop star during the APRA Silver Scroll Awards in Auckland last week. While Lorde won the big award, the Silver Scroll, for her hit song Royals, Maxwell picked up the APRA Maioha Award, celebrating contemporary Māori music, for the song Ruaimoko, which was performed by his niece Maisey Rika –a University of Waikato alumna - and Anika Moa. Maxwell - Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau ā-Apanui, Ngāi Tai, Ngāti Awa, Tuhoe, Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Maniapoto - wrote the song, while Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper composed the music. The song was a lament written after the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake and Maxwell had largely forgotten about it until he was invited to the awards night. “I thought I was going there just to support my niece,” he says.

A campaign highlighting the need for people to save for retirement won this year’s Waikato Management Schools PR campaigns competition, and the financial literacy commissioner is interested in learning more about the student campaign. Four student teams went head-to-head with their campaigns for client Poverty Action Waikato, and the award winning campaign Not so Super-annuation, won over the four judges. Deputy team-leader of the winning campaign, Amy Hacon, says their aim was to start a conversation between elderly and the sandwich generation about the costs and hardships of retirement, and the importance of putting money away now. The students set up a Facebook page to drive people to their website where they posted blogs about different aspects of retirement and people responded with their own experiences. They also interviewed people face-to-face to get their retirement histories.

An online survey that is part of a collaborative research project relationship between knowledge about community water fluoridation, polarisation of opinion, and where people get their information from has been extended until Friday 25 October. The joint project is led by Dr Carrie Cornsweet Barber from the School of Psychology at the University of Waikato and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, David Menkes from the University of Auckland. Dr Barber and Dr Menkes decided to conduct a survey, investigating attitudes toward community water fluoridation, what information people have about fluoride, and what has shaped their opinions on the subject. The public can take the survey by clicking here.

A group of Waikato University Environmental Planning students has had the chance to critique the Sustainability Strategy of Hamilton, and offer their thoughts on what it could include in the future. The third-year students from the Planning for Sustainability paper presented their findings to a panel of external experts including representatives from the Hamilton City Council’s Strategy and Research team, councillor Daphne Bell – who stood down at the recent elections − and members from the newly formed Sustainability Panel, which will be advising Hamilton on how to improve its sustainability strategy. Suggestions from students drew upon international examples from Europe, the US and Australia and included increased transparency and accountability, changing the plan to become statutory with firm targets established, more integrated transport, urban food initiatives, incentives for eco-development and a greening of the public realm.

Hamilton schools took out the top five prizes at the University of Waikato’s ChemQuest challenge held last week on campus. First place went to Jordan Sahlie, Codi Merito and Nicolaas Portegys, from Hamilton Boys’ High School. The students were awarded the James and Wells trophy, $150 and a gold medal each. This was also the first time in the competition’s 16-year history of the contest that Hamilton Boys’ High School has won. Second and third place went to separate teams from St Paul’s Collegiate, followed by another team from Hamilton Boys’ High School in fourth place and Hamilton Girls’ High School coming in fifth. The annual chemistry quiz gives Year 12 chemistry students the chance to put their chemistry knowledge to the test in a pop quiz-style challenge. The after-school event was held at the University of Waikato on 16 October and was attended by about 150 students from schools from Hamilton, the wider Waikato region, the Bay of Plenty and Taupo.

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.

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