Media Advisory November 11

In response to the recent exposure of the Roast Busters Facebook group, four University of Waikato academics will take part in a Google Hangout tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the trends and social issues surrounding the exposure and actions of the group. The Google Hangout will feature Dr Neville Robertson from the School of Psychology, Professor Robyn Longhurst from the Geography Programme, Debi Futter-Puati from the Department of Sport and Leisure Studies in the Faculty of Education and Brenda Midson from Te Piringa – Faculty of Law. The academics will cover issues such as domestic violence, sexuality education, gender studies and sexual abuse law. The hangout takes place on Tuesday 12 November from 12-1pm. For more information and how to submit questions, go to the Roast Busters Hangout page

This month, 18 MBA students from the University of Waikato will graduate in a ceremony at Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development at Hopuhopu. The MBA programme is a partnership between the University’s Management School and the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development, combining academic teaching with traditional Māori ways of learning. It is a unique MBA programme for Māori leaders that has been developed to foster indigenous ways of doing business. In 2011 the programme won the MBA Innovation Award from the London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA). The graduation proceedings will be opened by Waikato Endowed Colleges Trust Chairperson John Heremia and Chancellor of the University of Waikato the Rt Hon Jim Bolger. Kīngi Tūheitia, Patron of the Waikato-Tainui College for Research & Development, will present the college taonga at the ceremony. The keynote speaker is Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie. The graduation is on Friday, November 22 from 12pm-5pm at Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development Hopuhopu Complex.

Saving lives on New Zealand roads is the goal for University of Waikato mechanical engineering student Andrew Gerbich. His hydraulic rescue tool is designed as an alternative to the commonly known ‘Jaws of Life’. Rather than cutting through the vehicle, Andrew’s Car Spreader is designed to straighten bent steel back to its original shape. Andrew, a former Waiuku College student, began with a machine concept from Pukekohe company Belcher Industries. Along with workshop space, the company also provided supervision from Engineering Manager Kael Roberts, who was a co-supervisor of the project alongside Waikato University’s engineering lecturer Dr Rob Torrens

Waikato University’s Te Kotahi Research Institute (TKRI), in conjunction with the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori office, are hosting two highly regarded Native American scholars who are giving a public lecture this month at Waikato University. Professor Karina Walters and Associate Professor Gregory Cajete will present in their speciality areas including historical trauma, traditional knowledge and wellbeing. Both scholars are being brought to New Zealand by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, a Centre of Research Excellence funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, to be a part of their international review board. They will both be hosted by Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development before their public lecture on campus. The public lecture will run from 10am to 12.30pm on Friday, November 15 at S block, room 1.02. To register, email 

A day-long Pacific Research Conference being held at the University of Waikato in November will have a firm eye on the future as it tackles three themes of increasing importance to the Pacific region. The inaugural Kiwa’s Colloquium will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on November 12. The symposium will focus on three key topics: climate change and the Pacific; the Pacific and higher education and working for the Pacific. Pacific students will also be presenting their research at the symposium, with eight students selected to compete for five research grants, and a Pacific artist will install an original piece during the day which will be an interpretation of the value of generative talanoa for problem solving. Registration for the symposium is free, although numbers are limited. For more details visit:

The arrival of visitors is an important moment for people of many cultures. Custom dictates they be welcomed and fed, often with the best offerings available. Failure to provide the appropriate level of hospitality can be seen as an unforgivable slight on the host and an insult to the visitor. This traditional view of hospitality has changed markedly over time and those changes - and the implications of them - will be the subject of a public lecture by visiting British academic Alison Phipps. Professor Phipps is from the University of Glasgow where she is Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network. In 2012 she received an OBE for Services to Education and Intercultural and Interreligious Relations. Professor Phipps’ lecture, Hospitality and Occupation, is in lecture theatre SG.02 at 5.30pm on Tuesday, November 12.

Poet and literary historian John Newton will be the University of Waikato’s writer in residence in 2014. Dr Newton will work on two books, a book of poetry and another that takes a look at New Zealand literature. He says we still have a lot to learn from our own ‘classic; literature and he’ll be exploring the impact of the Second World War on New Zealand literature in a way he hope non-specialist readers will enjoy reading. Dr Newton has written several volumes of poetry and is also the author of The Double Rainbow: James K Baxter, Ngāti Hau and the Jerusalem Commune when he interviewed former followers and members of the local community to get insiders’ perspectives on Baxter and the commune. He will take up the residency in February.

The New Zealand daphne and tiny Antarctic invertebrates called springtails are the focus of two new studies being carried out by University of Waikato postgraduate science students. Steven Pratt has been awarded a doctoral scholarship from the University’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI), worth $22,000 a year plus fees for three years' full time study, to research the genetics and molecular systematics of New Zealand Pimelea, sometimes known as New Zealand daphne. Many of the 35 known species are threatened with extinction. Gemma Collins is the recipient of an ERI $12,000 masters scholarship to study how the genetic diversity of springtails might change in response to warming air temperatures. Gemma will travel to Antarctica in summer to collect samples twice a day for five weeks, then return to Waikato to complete her analysis. The University's six flagship research institutes, of which ERI is one, offered new doctoral and masters scholarships for the first time this year. 

Te Kotahi Research Institute director, Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, has announced the recipients of the Inaugural Te Kotahi Research Institute Postgraduate Scholarships. The scholarships have been provided through a decision by the University of Waikato to allocate postgraduate scholarships to each of the research institutes within the university, with the scholarships aligning to the research focus areas for each Institute. The doctoral scholarship (worth $22,000 a year) has been awarded to Pānia Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura) who is undertaking research to develop a new curriculum for the teaching of te reo Māori, while the masters scholarship of $12,000 was awarded to Jaime Rolleston (Te Arawa) who has focused her research in the area of te reo Māori revitalisation. Dr Pihama says it is an exciting development to have the scholarships allocated through the Institute and was another step towards meeting the wider vision of both the Institute and the university’s Iwi Board, Te Rōpū Manukura, to increase support for Māori at the University.

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