Media Advisory May 26

Ideas for improving water quality

Providing incentives to farmers not to pollute could be more effective than fining them when they do, a leading economist says. Waikato Management School Professor Les Oxley, who’ll be speaking at this year’s National Agricultural Fieldays, says one way to tackle fresh water pollution would be to create a set of incentives that encouraged people not to pollute waterways. He says rather than punishing farmers for polluting, we might consider paying them not to. He says if it’s profitable for them not to pollute, we could then make it even more profitable by giving them a subsidy. It might sound radical, but it’s incentive-compatible with what we want farmers to do, he says. Meanwhile another Waikato economist is working with DairyNZ to assess whether cap and trade schemes could be used to improve water quality. Dr Dan Marsh says some regional councils have set across-the-board limits for allowable nitrate leaching. He’s found that if farmers were to trade allowances, then in theory, leaching reductions could be achieved at a lower cost.

Origin of a species

An Australian-based, New Zealand-born academic will reveal what are being called startling revelations about the origin of the kiwi in a talk entitled Ancient DNA reveals the bizarre evolutionary history of the kiwi at the University of Waikato today (May 26). Professor Alan Cooper, a specialist in the analysis of ancient DNA, is based at the University of Adelaide and had a paper published in the Science magazine on Friday, 23 May which outlines his latest work. Professor Cooper is a molecular biologist based in Adelaide and was awarded an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship award in 2004. That allowed him to move from Oxford University (where he was the Director of the Henry Wellcome Ancient Biomolecules Centre) to Adelaide to establish the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD). Professor Cooper is also involved in a Marsden-funded study with University of Waikato Earth Sciences Professor David Lowe and Dr Ray Cursons studying possible ancient DNA preserved in buried soils on volcanic ash beds. Professor Cooper’s talk is open to the public and is in lecture theatre LG.05, Gate 1, Knighton Rd, University of Waikato at 9am.

Nice guys making nice blocks

‘Nice Blocks’ is the story of two Kiwi guys, Tommy and James, who enter into a mature market by taking advantage of growing consumer demand for artisan foods by offering New Zealanders a fair trade ice block made from natural and organic ingredients. They then expand into dairy-free ice cream, but with big competitors Fonterra and Unilever, the question is – how will this new company compete? The 36th Waikato Management School Case Competition is on Wednesday, June 4 where the top four teams from the Department of Strategic Management’s STMG391 paper analyse Nice Blocks and pitch their strategies for the company to a panel of external judges. The presentations start at 6.30pm in the PWC Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Waikato Management School.

Agribusiness Professor to chair waterways panel discussion in Tauranga

University of Waikato Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth will compere an expert panel discussion on New Zealand waterways this weekend in Tauranga. Cry Me a Riverpanellists will include environmentalist Craig Potton, economist Rod Oram, Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills and Antoine Coffin, a cultural and heritage consultant for Ngaiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, and Ngāti Raukawa. Speakers will discuss issues such as how well the cultural significance of our rivers is understood or appreciated, and is it possible to have it all – clean water, primary produce and the “100% Pure” brand that drives New Zealand tourism. Cry Me a River is part of the Tauranga readers and writers’ festival ESCAPE, and is on Saturday, May 31 at Baycourt Theatre, 34 Durham Street, Tauranga at 7.30pm. For more details on the event, which is organised by the Tauranga Arts Festival and supported by the University of Waikato, visit 

Asian Invasion – Ten Token Tales

Māori versus Chinese, Chinese versus Samoan, youth suicide, parental expectations and dairies run by Indians are some of the diverse topics in a theatre production doing a tour of the country and taking in the University of Waikato. EnsembleImpact Theatre company is performing Asian Invasion - Ten Token Tales, a collection of plays written by 10 mostly Asian New Zealand playwrights. The aim of the hour-long production is to break down negative stereotyping about our Asian communities. The four actors are presenting at secondary schools up and down the country but have also scheduled a performance at the University of Waikato’s New Place Theatre (in the Law Faculty) at midday on Friday, May 30.

Myths, politicians and money

People are increasingly puzzled and angered by the problems that government seems unable to resolve. Former UK Labour MP and former vice-chancellor of Waikato University, Dr Bryan Gould, will be giving a free public lecture at the university on what he thinks has gone wrong for Western democracies over the past three decades. His lecture, Myths, Politicians and Money: The Truth Behind the Free Market draws insights from his latest book of the same name and casts new light on these issues. Using examples of his involvement with many of the pressing political and economic issues that have troubled governments in the West over the past four decades, Dr Gould shows that these problems have a common cause: the surrender of our democracy to those who control and dominate the global economy. Expert in the political economy and the labour market Dr David Neilson, and ethnicity and diversity policy expert Dr Rachel Simon-Kumar will be discussants for the talk. Dr Gould will give this free public lecture on Thursday, May 29 from 6pm-7pm (with refreshments from 5.30pm) at the University of Waikato, room S.1.04.

Max Gimblett’s generous donation

As part of the University of Waikato’s 50th jubilee, internationally acclaimed New Zealand artist Max Gimblett will launch an exhibition of works he has donated to the university. The 22 works on paper and two hand-made books make up a collection titled The Universe and will be launched by Mr Gimblett at the Academy of Performing Arts on June 9. That same night Mr Gimblett will give a free public lecture to talk about the Western and Eastern influences in his art. From June 10-13 Mr Gimblett will run a series of two-hour sumi-ink workshops which are also open to the public, costing $80 per person. Sumi-e is an ancient form of Japanese ink brush painting that developed from the practice of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy and is rooted in Zen Buddhism as a meditative practice. To register for the workshops go to

Waikato University to defend trophy in sporting competition 

Seven tertiary institutions from across the North Island will take on Waikato University in an intense day of competition on Friday, May 30. Last year, Waikato University came out on top, taking home the supreme award, the Waikato Invitational Trophy. This year bragging rights are at stake once again as the institutions go head-to-head competing in eight sporting codes. Football, ultimate frisbee, lacrosse and touch will be played on the university fields, with netball nearby at Don Llewellyn Pavillion. Volleyball will be at UniRec with hockey offsite at Innes Common and basketball at Morrinsville Events Centre. All sports are mixed with players representing their university in a unique competition which includes both competitive and social teams for each sport. To determine the overall trophy winner, competitive teams accrue points that are added to the final scoreboard, while social teams enjoy the atmosphere.

Freemasons scholarships for Waikato students

Four University of Waikato students have been awarded scholarships totalling $28,000 in the latest round of Freemasons scholarships. Karen Houghton (PhD in microbiology) received $10,000, Anthony Baker (Master of Business Management), Lindi Engelbrecht (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)) and Alana Scott (Bachelor of Business Management) each received $6000. In total, 30 students from New Zealand’s eight universities were presented with Freemasons scholarships totalling $208,000. Sir Ray Avery GNZM awarded the students their scholarships in Parliament’s Legislative Council Chamber on 20 May. For the last 36 years, Freemasons New Zealand - through The Freemasons Charity - has funded nearly $4.42 million in scholarships to 1051 students.

Waikato University reclaims shield in University Badminton Super-League

Defending champions, Waikato University, took on rivals AUT, University of Auckland and Massey University (Albany) and came out on top in the University Badminton Super-League finals against Auckland University yesterday. The Waikato University team consisted of Benjamin Robinson, Vinny Harris, Susannah Leydon-Davis and Felicity Leydon-Davis. Vinny, Susannah and Felicity are on the University’s Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme. Susannah has recently been selected to represent New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

This page has been reformatted for printing.