Media Advisory March 24

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 of Waikato leads NZ with open access mandate

The University of Waikato has become the first university in New Zealand to approve a mandate around open access to academics’ publications. The Open Access Mandate Guidelines were approved this month by the University of Waikato’s Academic Board. Under the guidelines, academic staff can disseminate their research as widely as possible, bringing research results out from behind the subscription paywall to be accessed by all. University of Waikato faculty are encouraged to deposit the full text of their peer-reviewed academic publications into the University's digital repository, Research Commons. Matt McGregor, from Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand based at the Royal Society of New Zealand, says this is an important move by the University of Waikato. “This is a great achievement by Waikato. In passing the mandate, they join other world-class institutions from all over the world in ensuring that the public has free and open access to Waikato's high quality research.”

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 month, 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 ackowledgment 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.

£25,000 scholarship to Cambridge University for Waikato scholar

University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar and first-year music student Paul Newton-Jackson has been awarded the Girdlers’ Scholarship to study at Cambridge University’s Corpus Christi College. The scholarship is valued at £25,000 a year and is funded by the Girdlers’ Company in the UK, a craftsman’s guild founded in medieval times. In 1952 the company decided to grant an award to a young outstanding New Zealander every three years, with the award becoming an annual one from 1969. A former pupil of Hamilton’s St Paul’s Collegiate School, Paul plays the piano, pipe organ, electric guitar, bass guitar and percussion but his first love is composition. In 2013 Paul received his school’s most prestigious prize, the Seaville trophy, for his extensive contribution to school activities. Paul will head to Cambridge in October.

Sweet job for honey expert

The Ministry of Primary Industries has formed two working groups to come up with a robust labelling guideline for mānuka honey. One is made up of industry representatives and the other of scientists, with the University of Waikato Associate Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris joining representatives from organisations such as GNS Science, Plant and Food Research, Comvita, Manuka Health and Analytica Laboratories. Dr Manley-Harris from the School of Science and Engineering works in organic and analytical chemistry and has spent many years working on honey. She says there have been issues around labelling honey in the past and it is quite urgent that we get a standardised labelling system. The groups have until the end of June to come up with the guideline and Dr Manley-Harris says the scientists have already been busy on the project. The aim is to achieve a clear, scientifically robust definition of mānuka honey and to implement the definition so consumers have confidence in the authenticity of the honey they are buying.

Finace Minister fronts integrated data roadshow at Waikato

Finance Minister Hon Bill English is at the University of Waikato on April 2 to open a talk for academics about integrated data. Mr English will open the Integrated Data Infrastructure session being held by Statistics New Zealand and will highlight the importance of joining data from across government to ensure better outcomes for New Zealand, and how the academic community can help in this. Guido Stark from Statistics New Zealand will then explain the Integrated Data Infrastructure including what data is available, how the data is collected and linked, and how individual privacy is protected. The Integrated Data Infrastructure is the result of linking public sector data to ultimately help with research, policy, and evaluation questions.

Canadian arctic exhibition at Waikato University

The University of Waikato hosted 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 attended the event. Dr Ian Hogg, from the University’s Biological Science department spoke on research by the University in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

University prepares for Nightglow

Thousands of people are expected to descend on the University of Waikato on Saturday, March 29 for the annual Balloons Over Waikato ASB Nightglow. The Nightglow 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; the University is a strategic partner of the festival. For more information, visit

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.

Vice Chancellor XI cricket match on today

The annual University of Waikato VCXI cricket match vs Northern Districts Māori is on today, March 24, at Seddon Park. The coin toss is with Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford at 10am, game begins at 10.30am and is 40 overs per side. The University side features three Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars - Captain Ben Hyde (Northland), Tommy Clout (BOP) and first year scholar Matt Wallbank (Hamilton). Other University squad members include Henry Cooper (Northland), Brad Kneebone (Northland), Mitchell Santner - a Northern Knights player - subject to availability, (Hamilton), Mike Dodunski (Hamilton), Devon Singh-Parhar (Hamilton), Freddy Walker (Hamilton), Nick Shoston (Hamilton), Maison Carstensen (Hamilton), Danny Gibbs (Poverty Bay) and Ben Musgrave (BOP).

Waikato University engineering grad brews dream career

A job sampling beer and designing craft brewery systems may sound too good to be true, but for University of Waikato engineering graduate Matt Dromgool, this is his reality. Matt is a development engineer for Waikato-based company Natural Brew Inc. His primary task is to work on the mechanical design and development of an automated pub-scale micro-brewery system, dubbed the Smartbrew. Two existing prototypes of the Smartbrew are in use in breweries in Waitomo and Taupo.  Matt says that he works with these existing clients and the prototypes to provide technical support and develop a better understanding of refinements and improvements required for the production model. When not on site he works from home on his latest project, a Smartbrew system for local brewery, Good George, which involves liaising with automation and electrical contractors to improve the design.

Waikato engineering students tramp 3000km in 100 days

Three thousand kilometres, about six million steps, 100 days and two pairs of destroyed shoes. Ambitious University of Waikato fourth-year mechanical engineering students Kendall Bristow and Luke Sinclair decided to forgo the typical working summer holiday for a tramping expedition from Cape Reinga to Bluff.  The walk involved followed the Te Araroa trail, a recently opened New Zealand long trail, which runs from the top of the north to the bottom of the south, snaking its way through bush, mountains, farms, beaches and the odd road. Kendall originally came across the idea of doing the Te Araroa trail online and jokingly mentioned it to Luke as something the pair could do. After hearing about the potential plans for the walk, a local Institute for Professional Engineers (IPENZ) member suggested to Kendall at the University’s Engineering Design Show, that they use the adventure to raise money for Oxfam’s Water for Survival Programme.

University of Waikato to host New Zealand's first halal tourism symposium

High-level government, tourism and academic professionals from New Zealand and overseas will gather in Hamilton at the end of April to discuss the potential and development of halal tourism in New Zealand. The inaugural symposium, to be held at the Novotel Tainui Hotel on April 30, is a new initiative put together by the University of Waikato’s Institute for Business Research in collaboration with the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), the University of Canterbury’s College of Business and Law, Ministry of Business Employment and Innovation, Inside Tourism, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and Aotea Souvenirs. Its purpose is to connect New Zealand with trade opportunities in halal tourism and hospitality, and more than 100 key members from the government sector, the tourism and hospitality industry, airlines, and academics interested in the field, have been invited to attend the one-day event.

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 Unilever Europe President and alumnus Jan Zijderveld; Executive Director of Hawkins Construction, Jim Boult and Founding Partner of Chen Palmer Public and Employment Law Specialists, Mai Chen.

Spotlight on Taranaki

Two University of Waikato students have been awarded scholarships to assist their scientific research in Taranaki. Masters student Nicole Sturgess and PhD student Kiri Cutting are recipients of 2014 George Mason Charitable Trust Scholarships each worth $5000 for each year of their study. Nicole grew up in the province, attending Spotswood College, and she’ll be back there to do a biodiversity assessment in the Paranihinihi Marine Reserve, to examine the factors that may explain the high biomass of encrusting organisms within the ecosystem. She’ll also be doing some sonar mapping to help her classify the different biogenic habitats on the Pariokariwa reef. Kiri Cutting is making a comparative study of urban ecological restoration in Hamilton and New Plymouth. Her research will help increase understanding of how to maintain bush in urban areas and identify what plants yield the best results in particular locations. George Mason scholarships were first established in 2002 and are awarded to postgraduate students with links to Taranaki and/or are carrying out research relating to Taranaki's natural history.

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