Media Advisory December 02

New Zealand’s first dedicated cyber security lab will be opened at the University of Waikato tomorrow, along with the launch of a new qualification, the Master of Cyber Security degree. The lab, dubbed CROW (Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato), will focus on returning control of data to data owners by focussing on research addressing data security from a user-centric perspective. It will develop innovative solutions to allow users to know what happens to their data, particularly when it is stored in a cloud environment. The lab has a large-scale cloud computing test bed for realistic testing and verification of its tools and senior lecturer Dr Ryan Ko says it will run along six themes: provenance; user-centricity; security visualisation; security economics; hardware security and tools and datasets. It will also contribute to teaching New Zealand’s first Master of Cyber Security degree, subject to approval by Universities New Zealand CUAP (Committee on UniversityAcademic Programmes). The launch will take place on Tuesday, December 3 at 4pm at F-G Link at the University of Waikato. For more information visit

Inspiring young people about the exciting world of science is the focus of a new science resource facility being launched in Tauranga tomorrow. The House of Science was established three months ago by former secondary school science teacher Chris Duggan to enrich science education across the community. Her aim is to get more students excited by science in the early years so they will be inspired to carry on with their studies through secondary and into tertiary education. She will offer professional development in science for primary and secondary teachers as well as science-based after school and holiday programmes for primary and secondary students. The House of Science is based at the University of Waikato’s Coastal Marine Field Station at Sulphur Point, where the student-based programmes will start in February. The launch takes place at the Marine Station at 5.30pm Tuesday, December 3.

Electrical Engineering Senior Lecturer Nihal Kularatna from the University of Waikato has been named New Zealand Innovator of the Year at the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards at Te Papa. The award recognises Mr Kularatna’s work in the field of electronic engineering during his 35-year career. His interest in electrical engineering began at an early age as he was growing up in Sri Lanka. From 1976 to 1985 Mr Kularatna worked as an electronics engineer responsible for navigational aids and communications projects in civil aviation and digital telephone exchange systems in Sri Lanka. He joined the Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies in 1985 as a research and development engineer and was appointed CEO in 2000. He moved to New Zealand in 2002 to take up a position at the University of Auckland, moving to the University of Waikato in 2006. His research work at Waikato is in the major area of power electronics and the sub-areas of supercapacitor applications, power conditioning and surge protection.

A report being launched in Wellington on Thursday, 5 December lays the foundations for new laws around the storage of carbon dioxide as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Capture and Storage: Designing the Legal Framework has been written by University of Waikato law professor Barry Barton - who is the director of the University’s Centre for Environmental, Resources and Energy Law (CEREL) - and researchers Kimberley Jordan and Greg Severinsen. In 2012 Professor Barton received a $245,000 grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to design a legal and regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in New Zealand. New Zealand law currently does not provide for carbon capture and storage. The launch takes place in the VK Room at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea at 4.30pm.

The University of Waikato is sponsoring the 2013 New Zealand Youth Games taking place from December 5-10. Close to 4000 secondary school athletes from 17 sporting codes are expected to attend. The games will take place across Hamilton city, at venues such as Fraser High School, Claudelands Arena, Porritt Stadium and YMCA. For more information about the New Zealand Youth Games, visit

Investigating Waikato’s coastal and cave environments will be the task for 40 top Year 12 students at the University of Waikato this week. The action-packed Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School runs from December 1-6, and gives students from around the central North Island a taste of what it’s like to study science and engineering at a tertiary level. The Summer School is an annual event run by Rotary District 9930 and Waikato University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, with sponsorship from Hill Laboratories. The week will begin with an overnight field trip to explore Kawhia Harbour and the surrounding coastline, the Ruakuri Caves and the Mangapohue Natural Bridge. The remainder of the week will be spent in the Faculty of Science & Engineering laboratories, completing experiments using samples taken during the field trip.

Two University of Waikato Master of Science students have scored jobs in the oil industry and will be heading to Perth in February to start work on the same day for two different companies. Aaron Huesser has been selected for Chevron Australia’s Horizons’ Programme, and in the next door tower block in downtown Perth, Kadin Lucas will be working at Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company. For Chevron, Aaron will be doing exploration, production management, research and development, and reservoir management and development and Kadin will doing much the same type of work for Woodside. Kadin completed his MSc thesis in February and since then has been developing paleogeography maps of New Zealand for a MBIE research contract – maps of how New Zealand developed through the last 65 million years which can be helpful for oil exploration. He thinks he’s the first Waikato earth sciences graduate to join Woodside’s graduate programme, while Aaron will be the sixth Waikato student in as many years to be selected for a graduate position with Chevron.

The Rewi Alley Art Collection, housed in the Canterbury Museum, is the subject of a new three-year $434,000 study. Alley’s connection to the highest levels of China’s communist leadership, including Chairman Mao, helped establish the most extensive collection of Chinese art in New Zealand, with about 2000 artefacts, spanning 5000 years. Art historian Dr Richard Bullen from the University of Canterbury and historian Dr James Beattie from the University of Waikato are the two principle investigators on the project, funded through a Marsden Grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand. Dr Beattie says the collection is unique, assembled with the official sanction of the Chinese government at a time when China was very much a closed state and when the export of antique Chinese art was banned. The researchers will investigate the scope of the collection, why and how it developed and the extent to which the artefacts encouraged favourable perceptions of a ‘New China’ in New Zealand.

The second one-day regional conference of Waikato-Bay of Plenty-based soil scientists, “Wai-BoP Soils 2013” is being held on Thursday, December 5 at the University of Waikato. The conference will be convened by the university’s Earth and Ocean Sciences professors David Lowe and Louis Schipper and provides an opportunity for soil scientists and others with an interest in land and soil and their sustainable management to assemble for a day of talks and networking. The conference begins at 8.10am with key-note speakerProfessor Vic Arcus, a molecular biologist with interests in structural biology and protein engineering, who will give a cross-disciplinary talk “Temperature controls on soil microbial processes”. There will be 25 12-minute long papers scheduled for the day. The conference is in room S.1.02 from 8am-5pm.

The University of Waikato is hosting a new event aimed at encouraging Waikato Māori and Pasifika students to study biology at a tertiary level. The Te Huakirangi Māori and Pasifika Biology Summer School is a fun-packed week-long biology experience held on campus at Waikato University from November 30 to December 6. Twenty-three Year 11 students from Hamilton, Te Awamutu and Waitomo are lined up to attend the Summer School. During the event students will look at astronomy and extract DNA in the Faculty of Science & Engineering laboratories. They will have the opportunity to experience aspects of biology in real-world contexts.

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