Media Advisory December 16

The University of Waikato’s Professor Janis Swan has been announced as one of two new appointments to the Science Board - the board responsible for the allocation of funding used predominantly by research organisations for science, technology, research, and related activities. Professor Janis Swan has been appointed for a three year term, bringing the Board’s membership to eight. Professor Swan is Associate Dean of Engineering and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University. She has received several distinctions and awards in recognition of her expertise in the engineering field. Her experience at the Meat Industry Research Association of NZ and her academic research interests have earned her an understanding of the application of scientific research and of the requirements of end users of research.

The University of Waikato’s Te Kotahi Research Institute (TKRI) will provide research training support to two of the recent awardees of the Health Research Council’s Rangahau Hauora Award. The awards provide opportunities for Māori active in their community to undertake practical research training on a large research project and provides $12,000 for up to six months research training. The two awardees, Marlana Maru (Ngāti Maniapoto, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa) and Tammy Tauroa (Ngāti Kurī) will work alongside TKRI Director, Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, to develop a range of research skills and experience. Ms Maru, a community social worker, will undertake training on the Impact of Sexual Violence on Māori project, while Ms Tauroa will be focused on project management for the ‘Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke’ project (funded by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga) which is investigating traditional Māori understandings and practice of childrearing, also led by Dr Pihama in collaboration with Dr Jenny Lee of the University of Auckland.

How New Zealand manages its marine bio-resources in the future will be one of the themes of the University of Waikato’s third Treasuring the Bay public symposium next month in Tauranga. Keynote presenter Libby Evans-Illidge of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Queensland will discuss her work in managing Australia’s largest and most comprehensive marine bio-resources repository, the linkages with New Zealand, traditional ownership and the impacts and influences of the Nagoya Protocol 2010. The symposium will be held from 9.00am-3.00pm, Friday 24 January at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. Registration is essential for seating and catering purposes. To register and for more information, please contact

Thirty-six school-leavers from across the Waikato are set to receive a share of $216,000 from the David Johnstone Charitable Trust Science and Education Scholarships to pay for their first year of tertiary education at the University of Waikato or Wintec. This is one of the most significant scholarships awarded in the Waikato in terms of the number of students it assists every year. The students will each receive $6000 towards study next year. Their success was acknowledged at an awards ceremony in Hamilton on 10 December in front of 200 guests, and guest speaker Commonwealth and Olympic Games chef de mission Rob Waddell, also a University of Waikato alumnus. In total the scholarships received 54 nominations, with 36 students receiving scholarships. These students represent 24 schools across the wider Waikato region in Waihi, Te Awamutu, Tokoroa, Hamilton, Whangamata, Matamata, Thames, Te Aroha, Te Kauwhata, Cambridge and Raglan. This year marks the 18th anniversary of David Johnstone’s scholarship for students, which was established in 1996 as a result of the Waikato farmer’s desire to help young people succeed.

Interactive, hands-on field and lab work were the highlights for students attending the Hill Laboratories Waikato Science Summer School recently. The week-long Summer School ran from December 1-6 at the University of Waikato, and gave 40 talented Year 12 students from around the central North Island the chance to get a taste for what it can be like to study science and engineering at a tertiary level. The journey began with a two-day field trip during which students explored the areas of Kawhia and Waitomo. The group searched for fossils at Puti Point, collected zoo plankton samples at the Kawhia jetty and enjoyed a walk through the Ruakuri Caves. The remainder of the week was spent in Waikato University’s science and engineering labs, analysing samples, conducting experiments and building prototypes to better understand the environmental and social changes the local coastal and cave environments have undergone over time. Group presentations by the students brought the week to an end.

Two young cellists from the University of Waikato’s music programme recently competed and placed in the Gisborne International Music Competition. At just 16, cellist Catherine Kwak has taken second place, with a cash prize of $5,000 and Sam Lucas, also a cellist, placed third, taking home a $3,000 cash prize. The winner of the competition was Adelaide-based classical guitarist Andrey Lebedev. Catherine is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Music with a soloist specialisation at Waikato University and Sam will be starting his programme in 2014 having been accepted into the soloist specialisation. The Gisborne International Music Competition is specifically for young musicians aged 16-25 years and Waikato students have had a lot of success competing over the last few years, including alumnus Santiago Canon Valencia winning first prize in 2011. Catherine is currently in Christchurch with a number of other University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music students preparing for the preliminary rounds of the 2013-2014 National Concerto Competition.

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