Media Advisory October 13

University well represented at KuDos Science Awards

Two University of Waikato staff have taken out big awards at this year KuDos science awards. Professor Craig Cary won the Environmental Science Award, and The Hill Laboratories Laboratory Technician Award went to Advanced Technical Officer Chris McBride. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to University of Waikato Emeritus Professor Roy Daniel. The KuDos Awards were launched in 2007 to celebrate science in the region. Additional finalists from the university were Associate Professor Nicola Starkey for the Gallagher Medical Science Award and Dudley Bell, who was a finalist alongside Chris McBride for the Hill Laboratories Laboratory Technician Award. The awards were held in Hamilton on October 9.

A degree for good behaviour

New Zealanders and Australians collectively spend $10 billion a year on their pets. Much of that money goes on food and health, but people also spend big on behaviour therapy. While there are qualifications available ‘down-under’ in veterinary science, there are currently no universities in the southern hemisphere offering a qualification in clinical animal behaviour. That’s about to change, with Waikato University launching a suite of postgraduate qualifications in clinical animal behaviour, all available online. TV One’s Purina Pound Pups to Dog Star trainer and animal behaviour consultant Mark Vette says a qualification like this is well overdue. He says while many problems can be dealt with by animal trainers, more serious problems need the expertise of people who have a thorough understanding of ethology and psychology. The Waikato qualifications will be aligned with the British Animal Behaviour and Training Council standards. For more information, go to or email

Three professors emeritus

Professors who have made their mark in chemistry, education and population studies will be acknowledged by the University of Waikato this week by being awarded the title Emeritus Professor. Professor Alistair Wilkins’ long career in chemistry included working on assessing the environmental impacts of the Rena grounding on Astrolabe Reef. His work in fingerprinting the oil was of prime importance to the Ministry for the Environment, Maritime New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, who were tasked with assessing liability and environmental impacts. Professor Russell Bishop’s contribution to educational research and practice spans 50 years and includes the Te Kotahitanga and He Kākano programmes adopted in schools throughout New Zealand to improve educational outcomes for Māori students. Professor Richard Bedford has long studied aspects of Pacific population movement, and is highly regarded for his research and analysis of New Zealand’s international migration system, immigrant integration and immigration policies.

Our changing populations

When countries have low fertility rates, the burden of raising and educating children is reduced, and that means resources can be re-distributed into programmes for economic growth. It’s what visiting Harvard Professor David Bloom calls the “demographic dividend” and he’ll be talking about this and coping with ageing populations at two public lectures this month. Professor Bloom from the Harvard School of Public Health is Waikato University’s Golden Jubilee Distinguished Professor and is in New Zealand this month giving public lectures, meeting politicians and health sector workers, and working with Waikato University academics. The Wellington lecture is on October 16 at Rydges Hotel at 5pm. The Hamilton lecture is on Tuesday, October 21, 5pm at the Academy of Performing Arts, Waikato University. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

New Pacific scholarships offered

Pacific people with leadership potential are being encouraged to apply for a new University of Waikato scholarship funded by the estate of the late Morrinsville accountant and farmer Edna Money. The Edna Money Future Pacific Leaders’ Scholarship will provide support for students to achieve academically and develop leadership skills through a tailored leadership and personal development programme. Three scholarships will be offered each year for students undertaking fulltime study. The scholarships are worth $6000 per year for up to three years. They are being funded from a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edna Money, who died last year aged 94. She was a Morrinsville farm owner, accountant and philanthropist and is thought to be one of New Zealand’s first female qualified accountants. The bequest has become part of the University’s Endowment Fund with the interest earned funding the scholarships. Applicants should be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, of Pacific Island descent and enrolling at the University of Waikato for the first time in 2015. Scholarship applications are open until November 3.

Dame Malvina gives back with musical showcase

In the spirit of giving back to the community, Dame Malvina Major has put together a special musical showcase that will feature performances by some of the University of Waikato’s top music students. Held on October 16, the event will welcome and thank those from the community who have supported the university over the years. Representatives from community groups including local government, arts and education, as well as members of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and University of Waikato staff and alumni, are among those invited to attend. The audience can expect musical talent from music students including NZ Youth Choir tenor Filipe Manu, award-winning cellist Catherine Kwak and Tongan coloratura soprano Christina Vehikite. The University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music: ‘Musical Showcase’ is on Thursday, October 16 at 6.30pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Tickets are: adults $30, senior citizens $25, students (with valid ID) $10 and can be purchased from the venue’s box office.

Sargeson Lecture to feature award-winning novelist

Taking an imaginary place and making it seem real is something novelist and short-story writer Catherine Chidgey is extremely good at. It’s this idea of place in her writing that she will address at the 12th annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture this week. Chidgey, who teaches creative writing at Waikato University, will reflect on the ways in which the real world impinges on the imaginary, and explore some of the strategies a writer can use to breathe life into a fictional setting. A former recipient of the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and now a literary adviser to the Sargeson Trust, Chidgey’s novels have been published to international acclaim. Her awards include the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award, the Prize in Modern Letters, and Best First Book in both the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Asia-Pacific region) and the New Zealand Book Awards. This is a free community event and is on Thursday, October 16 at 5.30pm (light refreshments to follow) in S.G.03 (S Block, University of Waikato).

Recognition of a lifetime’s work for Dame Malvina

Dame Malvina Major was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the Women of Influence awards on October 8. Now in its second year, the 2014 Women of Influence Awards, a partnership between Fairfax Media and Westpac, celebrate the women helping shape the future of New Zealand. The inaugural Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Dame Malvina Major, recognising her success as one of the country’s finest opera singers and a tireless worker in the community. Dame Malvina is a Senior Teaching Fellow with the Music Programme at Waikato University.

Of Calendars and Kings: UK professor to deliver lecture on archaeoastronomy

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will welcome Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester in the UK, to campus later this month. Professor Ruggles will deliver a public lecture, ‘Of Calendars and Kings: gods, temples, the Pleiades, and the development of archaic states in Hawai’i’, in which he describes his fieldwork with archaeologist Patrick V Kirch studying the orientations of temple platforms and their connections with astronomy, the calendar, dryland agriculture and the emergence of “god-king” cults. Professor Ruggles has worked in many parts of the world and published numerous books, papers and articles on topics ranging from prehistoric Europe and pre-Columbian America to indigenous astronomies in Africa and elsewhere. He has ongoing fieldwork projects in Peru and the Hawaiian Islands. This free community event is on Friday, October 31 at 5pm in S.G.01 (S Block, University of Waikato).

Waikato University ChemQuest to challenge young minds

The University of Waikato’s annual ChemQuest will provide the ultimate test for Year 12 chemistry students next week. The after-school event gives students studying chemistry at NCEA Level 2 the chance to compete for the ChemQuest trophy and other prizes. Around 70 teams of three are expected to attend. The quiz includes questions based on chemistry, general knowledge and the NCEA curriculum. There are also interactive rounds when students must listen to music or watch chemistry demonstrations to identify the quiz answers. The current trophy holders are Hamilton Boys’ High School, who will be battling it out to retain the title. The event is sponsored by the Faculty of Science & Engineering, James & Wells Intellectual Property, the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry and Hill Laboratories. ChemQuest is at 7pm on October 22 at the University of Waikato Hamilton campus, PWC lecture theatre.

Racing robots at Engineering Design Show

Programming Lego robots to have a sense of direction has been the task for a class of University of Waikato Software Engineering students this semester. The robots will be put to the test at the upcoming Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show (October 21-22), in a race to determine the fastest, most accurate prototype. The race is at 11am Wednesday, October 22 in the first floor foyer of S Block at the university. The event is open to the public. During the two-day event, second, third and fourth-year engineering students showcase their research and design projects in the forms of posters, displays and seminars. In addition, the School of Engineering will host an industry session, in which a series of research presentations will be given by engineering staff from 3.30pm-5pm on October 21 in S Block. Contact to register interest for the industry session.

Language revitalisation focus of symposium

A day-long symposium on the revitalisation of te reo Māori will provide an opportunity for teachers and researchers to share their views and experiences and learn from others. The symposium – which will be open to the public – is to be held at the University of Waikato on Saturday, December 13 and will include presentations on teaching and learning te reo Māori and policy and planning issues. It is being hosted by Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao (The School of Māori and Pacific Development) and School Manager Louise Tainui says it will be a good opportunity to learn from people at the forefront of the revitalisation of the language. People interested in either attending or presenting at Te Whakahaumanutanga o te reo Māori Symposium should contact Louise Tainui on or visit:

Lecturers awarded international scholarships

University of Waikato education lecturers Sonja Arndt and Sharyn Heaton have each won a prestigious international doctoral scholarship. The Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA) doctoral scholarships, valued at AUD$10,000, aims to help students advance serious philosophical discussion about education. Two of these highly competitive international scholarships are awarded annually. Arndt’s doctoral thesis explores understandings and experiences of diversity, difference and marginalisation. Arndt has a particular interest in the orientations of early childhood teachers and their teaching teams. Heaton’s doctoral research examines and extends current understandings of the whare tapa whā, a Māori philosophical model of hauora/health wellbeing. PESA aims to promote research and teaching in philosophy of education. This global organisation has a broad membership across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America.

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