Media Advisory March 17

University announces contract for new building

Fletcher Construction has won the contract to build the University of Waikato’s new Law and Management building. The announcement was made at a function on 13 March commemorating the University’s 50th anniversary attended by Prime Minister John Key, Chancellor Jim Bolger, Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker and other guests. Work on the $20 million-plus building will begin mid-April and construction is scheduled to take 16-18 months. The new Law and Management building will house Te Piringa - Faculty of Law and Waikato Management School's Centre for Corporate and Executive Education, as well as student services. Fletcher also built the University’s award-winning Student Centre.

University backs comments on impact of funding decision

The University of Waikato is supporting one of New Zealand’s senior Māori academics who has criticised the decision to stop funding Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, the country’s only Māori Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE). Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, who was founding co-director of Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga and is Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori and Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato, says the decision by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) puts at risk research capacity, infrastructure and “a set of beliefs that the research system is genuinely interested in innovation”. Professor Smith, who was one of 22 international scholars to be made a fellow of the American Educational Research Association this week, says the TEC decision impacts on more than just Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga. The decision “will cut more deeply into the capacity, momentum, community, system of knowledge, networks, relationships (and) intellectual excitement that was emerging”. University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones says the University supports Professor Smith’s comments and she “raises some important points about the decision”. While the decision making process may have been robust and based on research excellence, “we are in danger of missing out on what are the true needs of New Zealand”.

International acknowledgement for Māori researchers

University of Waikato Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith has been made a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Her husband Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith, CEO of Waikato’s partner institution, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane has also been named a 2014 fellow. Professor Linda Smith (Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou) is Professor of Education and Māori Development and Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato. In 2013 she was awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Māori and education. The AERA award acknowledges notable and sustained research achievements. The Smiths are the only New Zealanders from 22 academics to be made fellows in 2014 and will be attending AERA’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Arctic exhibition to launch at Waikato University

The University of Waikato is hosting the inaugural launch of Canada’s Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving bi-lingual exhibition of photographs and covers from Canadian Geographic magazine on Friday, March 21. Canadian leadership on international Arctic issues has come to the forefront with the country’s 2013-2015 chairmanship of the Arctic Council. To meet the challenges and opportunities of a changing North, Canada is taking concrete action in exercising Arctic sovereignty, protecting environmental heritage, promoting social and economic development and improving and devolving Northern governance. In partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the exhibition of contemporary photographs of Canada’s Arctic offers the opportunity for a glimpse into the lives of Northerners, and offers perspective on the environment and activities that help shape and influence this region. High Commissioner of Canada Ms Caroline Chretien will be attending the event. Dr Ian Hogg, from the University’s Biological Science department will speak on research by the University in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

University prepares for Night Glow

Thousands of people are expected to descend on the University of Waikato on March 29 for the annual Balloons Over Waikato Night Glow. The Night Glow is the highlight of the Balloons Over Waikato event, and sees people flood onto the University's sports fields to watch the tethered hot air balloons inflate to music. There will be bands playing music from the decades, and fireworks at 8.20pm. The event runs from 4pm-9pm on Saturday, March 29 and the University is again a strategic partner of the festival. For more information, visit

Waikato Management School to host Global Leaders Forum

The move towards building a more entrepreneurial economy within New Zealand, and establishing stronger partnerships with important players in international markets, requires New Zealanders who understand how to lead in multi-cultural and multi-geographical environments, and can take their innovative products and services global. The University of Waikato’s Management School has recognised this need for developing global leaders and will host a Global Leadership Forum targeting corporates in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and South Auckland regions, as well as University of Waikato alumni and staff, on Monday May 12. Held at Claudelands Events Centre, this forum will provide participants with key insights designed to provoke, challenge, inform and inspire them with new perspectives for developing their leadership capability. There will also be ample opportunities to mix informally with keynote speakers and leaders in key industry sectors, including University alumnus Unilever Europe President, Jan Zijderveld, Executive Director of Hawkins Construction, Jim Boult and Founding Partner of Chen Palmer Public and Employment Law Specialists, Mai Chen.

Fourth consecutive win for Waikato

Students from the University of Waikato music programme are on a roll with young cellist Matthias Balzat taking a shared first prize at the 47th annual National Concerto finals on March 8. The talented 14-year-old and Hillary Scholar continues Waikato University’s successful tradition at this prestigious competition as the fourth consecutive music student to win the top prize and the People’s Prize (audience vote) at this annual competition. The prestigious competition is open to musicians aged 25 and under, and alternates between being open to pianists one year and all other instrumentalists the next. Clarinettist and Hillary scholar Nathaniel Smorti was also competing in the final and started the evening with a wonderful performance of his Weber, and won third prize overall as well as the Junior Jurors prize.

Good conflict

Using conflict to good effect will be the focus of a lecture by American psychologist and educator Dr John E Hoover.  He’s coming to the University of Waikato on March 19 to present an overview of how people with differing viewpoints can avoid the usual pitfalls of conflict and engage in constructive dialogue. Dr Hoover has written a book, The Uniting Power of Conflict, which offers direction on conflict resolution and gives processes that can create understanding and a stronger bond between former adversaries without either party abdicating power.

Waikato University race car on show at museum

The University of Waikato’s Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) race car will feature in a new exhibit in Waikato Museum’s Exscite interactive science gallery from March 17 to May 9. The formula-style race car was designed, built and raced by Waikato University students at an international event last December. Following the exhibition, the car will be revised and improved by the student team for the 2014 competition. University of Waikato Engineering students worked with Waikato Museum curator Salina Ghazally to develop the display to give Exscite visitors an insight into the project development of the car and the science of racing. Senior Lecturer in Engineering Dr Mark Lay says the display is a great opportunity to share the work of the University engineering team with the wider community, and hopefully inspire more students to consider engineering as a career. The car was ranked sixth overall and the top New Zealand entrant among more than 20 competitors from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and England in the annual Formula SAE race in Melbourne in December, 2013.

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