Media Advisory July 7

My Father was a Race Alien: Globalisation and Immigration in New Zealand

This is a tale of a young Lebanese man leaving behind the hardships of his home country to search for new opportunities in New Zealand during the mid-20thcentury. He marries a New Zealand woman, has two children, and they are compelled to integrate into this new culture and way of life, ignoring their Lebanese heritage. Professor Michèle Akoorie, from the University of Waikato’s Management School, is one of those children. She will deliver her Inaugural Professorial Lecture in July using her family history as an example of what it was like for people who came here from non-European countries and were classified as ‘race aliens’. Professor Akoorie’s specialisation is International Management and her family history has led her on a research journey which considers aspects of globalisation and immigration in New Zealand. Her Inaugural Professorial Lecture ‘My Father was a Race Alien’, is on July 15 at 6pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the University’s way of presenting new or newly promoted professors to the wider public.

University’s annual free Winter Lecture Series to look to the future

The future of business, online security, entertainment, and the city of Hamilton will be up for discussion in the University of Waikato Winter Lecture Series, held every Wednesday in August. All lectures will have a forward-looking theme as the University celebrates its 50th anniversary and looks to the next 50 years and beyond. Highlights of this year’s series include a conversation with Neil Everson, the force behind the revitalisation of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from a “steel-worker” town to Ontario’s no. 1 city to invest in; Netsafe Executive Director Martin Cocker will lead a presentation on online safety and ways to protect you and your family from online crime; alumnus and TV presenter Jesse Mulligan leads a panel discussion on the future of entertainment and viewing; and alumnus and 37 Degrees South Independent Director Chris Insley looks at the roles of iwi and sustainability in the future of business. All lectures are free and open to the public, each Wednesday in August, 6pm-7pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. For more information, visit

Malaysian politician talks about turning Penang green

A Malaysian politician largely responsible for cleaning up Penang will reveal some of the ways he did it during a special lecture at the University of Waikato this week, July 10. Boon Poh Phee is a Minister in the Penang State Legislative Assembly and is responsible for welfare, caring society and the environment. Penang is in the midst of being transformed into a smart, clean, green and safe city and among the environmental measures that have been taken are encouraging waste minimisation, developing a new solid waste management system, establishing buy-back centres and material recovery facilities, collecting food and green waste for composting, instituting car-free days and banning the use of free plastic bags and styrofoam containers. Boon Poh Phee will outline how the transformation of Penang was carried out and what other steps need to be taken, providing valuable insight into how similar ideas could be adopted in New Zealand. He will deliver his free lecture on July 10 from 5.30pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

Award recognises lifetime immersed in education

It should come as no surprise that Enoka Murphy has been presented with one of the highest awards available for tertiary teaching. At a ceremony in Wellington last week, the te reo Māori and tikanga lecturer from the University of Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development received a Sustained Excellence award for teaching in a kaupapa Māori context at the Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Awards. The award comes just a year after he picked up a Faculty Teaching Excellence Award from the University. Murphy’s life has been about education since the beginning. His parents were teachers and he’s taught in kohanga reo, kura kaupapa Māori and at tertiary level, along with being involved in theatre, kapa haka and speech competitions. The Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Awards aim to recognise and encourage excellence in tertiary education, at a national level. They provide an opportunity for teachers to further their careers and share good practice in teaching. Up to 12 Sustained Excellence Awards of $20,000 each are awarded annually.

Four Fulbright Scholarships for Waikato University

Four Fulbright scholarships have been awarded to University of Waikato graduates and PhD scholars. Former masters student Sharon Toi is the recipient of a Fulbright-Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Graduate Award, which will see her spend a year at the College of Law at the University of Arizona researching and writing her PhD about the invisibility of women in tribal governance. Another law graduate, Ashiq Hamid, has been granted a Fulbright Science and Innovation Graduate Award to go to Columbia University in New York to study the reforms made by the US government after the global financial crisis of 2008, how financial institutions and banks have responded to new regulations and the impact they’ve had. New PhD scholar Vincent Malcolm-Buchanan will use his Fulbright - Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Travel Award in Indigenous Development to lecture and present a paper at the Association of Social Anthropologists of Oceania (ASAO) conference in New Mexico. His paper is called The ‘Hilton Hotel Row’: NZ Māori and Urupā Memorialisation. His graveside topic was inspired after walking amongst the headstones at his private family urupā where he was surprised at the elaborate and expensive headstones which got him thinking about the changes in Māori memorial traditions. PhD candidate Monica Peters has been awarded a Fulbright New Zealand Travel Award and will travel to the International North American Lake Management Society Symposium in Florida in November.

First INTERCOAST law student receives PhD

The first law and social science student to go through the INTERCOAST programme  a collaboration between the University of Waikato and Bremen University in Germany has received her PhD. Lisa Marquardt has been awarded her PhD following her final verbal “Viva” examination. Her research looked at the way decisions are made about how we use our natural resources. The research involved a comparative analysis of environmental law across both countries. Ms Marquardt spent a year in New Zealand looking at the proposal to dredge Tauranga Harbour and the processes involved in making a decision. She was part of a group of doctoral students on the INTERCOAST programme, a partnership between the two universities to study the marine systems of the Bay of Plenty and the North Sea in Germany to better understand the significant changes taking place in our coastal environments.

Science and Engineering Open Days to offer insights into tertiary study

More than 200 secondary school students from throughout the North Island will have the opportunity this week to experience a day in the life of a science or engineering student at the University of Waikato. The University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering is all geared up to host the annual Science Open Day (Wednesday, July 9) and Engineering Open Day (Thursday, July 10). Both events offer Year 11-13 students and adult learners the chance to spend the day on campus, attending hands-on workshops. Science Open Day will cover the subjects of physics, chemistry, Earth sciences and biological sciences. Engineering Open Day will cover the programmes of chemical and biological, mechanical, software, materials and process and electronic engineering.

Organisations working together to build stronger communities

Community organisations will come face to face with influential business leaders in a bid to raise awareness around current social issues within the Waikato at a function this month. The Network for Community Hospitality, in conjunction with the Waikato Management School, will host ‘Town and Gown: Advocating the Social Issues through the Network for Community Hospitality’, a dinner for local business leaders and corporate guests, as well as University of Waikato staff, on Thursday, July 24 in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The purpose of the event is to encourage community and academic engagement around current social issues such as, disability, accessibility, health, social housing, poverty and the causes of these, as well as to raise the profile of the Network for Community Hospitality. The Network was founded by Professor Alison McIntosh and Dr Cheryl Cockburn-Wootten from the university and includes volunteer, charitable and not-for-profit organisations who are working together to share resources, knowledge and support each other around Waikato social issues. The Network also includes academics who support the different activities and needs of the community organisations by way of funding, promotion, shared learning and training resources.

Music is science: The first DMA at Waikato

Beverley Pullon has found a way to bring her love for music and background in science together. The Hillary scholar and New Zealand Opera singer will be the first to graduate from Waikato University with a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA), and is only the second graduate in New Zealand to gain this qualification. The DMA degree includes both critically appraised musical performances and undertaking research to write a thesis. Beverley just handed in her 50,000 word thesis that looks at the relationship of the cricothyroid space to vocal range in females. In carrying out her thesis research, Beverley used a sample of 43 female singers and performed ultrasound scans on them to determine whether the distance of the cricothyroid space had any influence on their vocal range. What she found is that singers with a smaller cricothyroid space can sing higher notes. 

Targeting adult literacy and numeracy

Adult literacy and numeracy is in the spotlight this week with a national symposium being held in Wellington. The symposium called Common threads: Sharing effective practice for diverse learners - Ko nga miro taurite: Tukua kia rere - is being hosted by the Waikato-based National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults and will have a special emphasis on Māori, Pasifika and youth. It brings together educators, policy makers, researchers and industry players all committed to raising the level of adult literacy and numeracy. Centre Director Professor Diana Coben says adult literacy and numeracy is a large-scale issue of national strategic importance, prompting a number of new initiatives to be developed to address pressing adult learning issues for diverse learners across New Zealand. These initiatives will be covered at the two-day symposium that starts on Wednesday, July 9 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Associate Professor Mere Berryman, Te Kotahitanga, Faculty of Education, University of Waikato, is presenting the keynote: Relational and Culturally Responsive Approaches to Learning and Literacy. All presentations will be uploaded onto the National Centre’s website. For programme information go to:

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