Media Advisory November 3

Waikato University hosts major water conference

The University of Waikato plays host this week to a major conference and workshop dedicated to water quality and improvement. The 21st Century Watershed Technology Conference and Workshop - Improving Water Quality and the Environment began with workshops on Saturday and Sunday and runs until Thursday. University water experts such as Professors Iain White and David Hamilton feature, and they are joined by experts including from NIWA, Ag Research, the Ministry for the Environment, other key University of Waikato staff, as well as a large number of local and international attendees. One of the keynote speakers is Dr Liz Wedderburn from AgResearch who will speak on "Farm and Catchment Solutions to nutrient loss entering New Zealand waterways". More information and the conference programme can be found at

Three Minute Thesis winner announced

Onyekachi Raymond is the winner of the University of Waikato Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition held last week. He also took out the People’s Choice Award. Raymond’s presentation was “The Beauty Without the Beast: A Chemical Search for Beryllium’s Partner”. Beryllium is an indispensable but toxic metal used in high-tech devices such as smartphones and computers. His research looks at finding chemical agents that help remove beryllium from these products when they are disposed of. The two runners-up were Liam McMahon “Mathematics of Solar Flares”, and Sripriya Somasekhar “Navigating safety in the context of immigration: Indian women experiencing domestic violence in New Zealand/Aotearoa”. 3MT, in which PhD students have three minutes and a static Power Point slide in which to explain their thesis, is the highlight of the university’s Postgraduate Month, which runs in October.

Visiting author to give lecture

Journalist and author Richard Louv will be giving a free lecture entitled “The Hybrid Mind: The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need” at the University of Waikato on November 13 from 12 to 1pm. The lecture is being hosted by the Environmental Research Institute and Professor Bruce Clarkson. Richard Louv is the author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community. His book “The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder” offers a new vision of the future in which our lives are as immersed in nature as they are in technology. This future, available to all of us right now, offers better psychological, physical and spiritual health for people of every age. He has received numerous awards including the 2008 San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal, the 2008 George B Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society, and the 2009 International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award. He also serves as Honorary Co-chairman with artist Robert Bateman of Canada’s national Children and Nature Alliance. 

Founding Dean for Fulbright lecture

Nationhood, Māori-Pakeha relationships and the place of Māori in New Zealand’s future will be addressed in a lecture by the University of Waikato’s founding dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development next week. Sir Tamati Reedy, also the university’s founding Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori and its first Māori emeritus professor, will deliver his free and public Fulbright Lecture on November 11. Sir Tamati (Ngāti Porou) is a Fulbright alumnus and one of New Zealand’s leading educationalists, academics and linguists, along with being a former top public servant. His lecture, Nga Wai Whakaata o Hine-Kauorohia: The Reflecting Waters of Hine-Kauorohia, will be held in S Block at 6pm on November 11 and will cover our sense of nationhood, which, he says, is the mauri, the life-essence, of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Flood risk management in the 21st century

How do societies manage uncertain environmental risks? Why is flooding so hard to manage? And how can we make water proof buildings? Professor Iain White, from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, is an international expert in the field of environmental planning. His work takes an interdisciplinary perspective that aims to better understand the nature of environmental problems and how they can be addressed. In his upcoming inaugural professorial lecture ‘The more we know, the more we don’t know: Flood risk management in the 21st century’, Professor White will provide insights into the difficulties in managing the risk of flooding and the new approaches to keeping water out of buildings. His inaugural professorial lecture will be held on November 18 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.

Snake Robot to the rescue 

University of Waikato Master of Engineering (ME) student Pinwei Jin has designed and built a remote control robotic snake, which he hopes will be used in the future for rescue operations. He says earthquakes and other natural disasters happen frequently in New Zealand and when it comes to the big ones, many lives could be saved if search and rescue operations were conducted more effectively and efficiently. Differing from the existing mobile rescue robot systems currently in the market place, his Snake Robot provides the flexibility of movement needed in cluttered and irregular environments created by disasters. The Snake Robot features a wireless camera on its head and is controlled by a wireless joystick to move forward, backwards, left and right. It has 16 degrees of freedom from the eight joints, nine segments, 16 motors and nine passive wheels. Essentially it can move along the ground like a snake.

Grappling with copyright

Traditional laws of copyright are under threat from 21st century technology. Visiting Law Foundation Distinguished Fellow Professor Jane C Ginsburg will be giving a public lecture at the University of Waikato on issues of copyright and access to information. Professor Ginsberg says access to “all the world’s knowledge” is an ancient aspiration, but equally important is the protection of authors’ rights. If all works are to be found in a universal digital library, that threatens the incomes of copyright holders, so what’s needed instead may be a universal bookstore. Professor Ginsburg is the Morton L Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at Columbia University School of Law in New York, and Faculty Director of its Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts. The public lecture will be at the Te Whare Tapere Iti, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, University of Waikato on November 10 at 5.45pm.

University to host historical garden tours

From cow paddock to botanical gem, the University of Waikato grounds have undergone a transformation in the past 50 years. To celebrate, the university is hosting 50th Anniversary Celebration Tours of its gardens and grounds led by Ron Lycette, the grounds supervisor from 1965-1979. Mr Lycette came to the university having previously worked at London's Kew Gardens. Mr Lycette says they started with an overall plan to impart education into the gardens, aiming for a succession of plants in family relationships to illustrate botanical diversity. The first three tours are now fully booked and a new tour date has opened: Thursday, November 13 from 2pm-5pm. Mr Lycette will present a brief history of the background and development of the campus landscape, followed by a guided tour of the grounds and a high tea. A gold coin donation will go towards stage two of the Rongoa (Māori medicine) garden. Tours are limited to 30 people each, so registrations are essential. RSVP name to

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:

Conference of interest to policymakers

The InternationalAssociation for Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines' third biennial hui will be held from November 25-28 at the University of Waikato. This methodological and methods conference circulating around the broad field of ethnography offers cultural understandings to policymakers. The conference theme is 'Sensual Landscapes in Ethnography', and many papers will explore the connections between lived sensory and sensual experiences and the contemporary world, between the personal and the public. Pre-conference presentations will include papers delivered in Spanish and Portuguese, workshops ranging from working with Harakeke plants, history, and context of Māori weaving; site-specific performance of research; participatory research; video ethnography practices; and civic engagement and study of sub-groups. Keynote presentations will discuss political engagement and performance; waka travels and rediscovery of ancestral knowledge; and a creative, participatory demonstration will show how performance can connect us to the land, traditions, and local sites. For more information, and to register, visit 

Campus fun run continues at university

Keen runners and walkers have been making the most of the warmer weather by taking part in the Campus 5km Fun Run and Walk at the University of Waikato. The event, hosted by the university in association with the Hamilton City Hawks Running Club and UniRec, sees participants making their way around a marked course on the university grounds. This is the second time the series has been held. Businesses on campus, including ANZ, Bongo Sushi and Dezigner Hair, have donated spot prizes for the event. The Campus 5km Fun Run and Walk takes place every Monday until December 15, and will start again in February. Registrations start at 5pm outside Momento Café, next to the lake on the Village Green. Walkers start between 5pm and 6pm, while runners start at 6pm. Registration is $6 and entitles participants to a beer, cider or non-alcoholic drink. Spot prizes are also awarded on the night. The Campus 5km Fun Run and Walk is held in association with the Hamilton City Hawks running club, UniRec, Momento Café and Good George. For more information, email

Our Futures: Te Pae Tawhiti Public Discussion in Hamilton

The authors of Our Futures: Te Pae Tawhiti review are touring the country and presenting its findings. The public is invited to hear about what an evolving New Zealand society might look like, what is underlying these changes, and the challenges and opportunities from a panel of local experts including University of Waikato academics Dr Tahu Kukutai, Professor Richard Bedford, Professor Natalie Jackson and distinguished alumna Parekawhia McLean and who will also share their views about the potential impacts of the changes in the region, and take part in an audience discussion with the Review’s authors to discuss the trends and future implications of these changes. Our Futures: Te Pae Tawhiti Public Discussion is at 6pm on Thursday, November 20 at Waikato Museum, 1 Grantham St, Hamilton. For more information visit

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