Media Advisory March 30

University of California to sign agreement with University of Waikato

The University of California will today, Monday, sign an agreement with the University of Waikato to widen their collaboration. It will be signed by Bruce Varner, the Chair of UC Regents, the board that governs the University of California with its 10 campuses, 235,000 students and 190,000 staff. Mr Varner is at the University of Waikato today for the signing and to discuss deeper research collaborations in areas of common interest such as coastal marine and freshwater, environmental science, sport, indigenous studies, agribusiness, computer science, management and education. The two organisations already have an agreement for student exchange and some academics already work together. Mr Varner says all universities are about creating knowledge and disseminating knowledge, and he has been reading of some impressive research at Waikato. He sees plenty of natural affiliations between the two organisations. University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says while Waikato may run a much smaller model of university, it has built a reputation in its first 50 years of tackling some of the world's big problems of today and tomorrow. Many of its research strengths are strongly aligned with the University of California's, he says.

Cyber security scholarship launched

A new scholarship launched today will support a student studying towards a Master of Cyber Security (MCS) qualification at the University of Waikato. The Sir William Gallagher Cyber Security Scholarship is worth up to $25,000 and also provides industry experience through a research project at Gallagher. Sir William Gallagher is a long-standing supporter of the University of Waikato and Hamilton-based Gallagher is one of the world's leading technology innovators in physical security systems.  The scholarship is open to New Zealand citizens studying towards the Master of Cyber Security.  The value of the Scholarship will be $25,000 for students undertaking a 180-point MCS and $20,000 for a 120-point MCS.

Nominations open for 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Nominations for the 2015 University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Awards are now open. The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour graduates of the university who have made outstanding contributions in their careers or communities. Nominations are encouraged from university staff, students and alumni and members of the community. Graduates of the university holding a degree or diploma are eligible for nomination. All nominations are confidential and take into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors. Past awardees include adventurer Jamie Fitzgerald, economist Dr Arthur Grimes, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and former Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung. For more information, visit

New film to assist families going to court

Recent changes to the Family Court has prompted two family lawyers to make a film that will assist families going to court. University of Waikato law alumnae Tania Williams Blyth and Kiriana Tan from Rotorua and Hamilton worked with recently retired Family Court judge John Adams to script the two films – one in Māori, the other in English – to produce Without a Lawyer in Family Court. The new rule changes restrict the use of lawyers at early stages of a case, an issue that concerned Ms Williams Blyth and Ms Tan and prompted them to make the film that will be launched in Rotorua this Thursday. Mr Adams says many litigants have little understanding of their legal rights, the court system or the psychological features concerning child development, and the films will help people who need guidance to better cope with the court system. The project was financed by the New Zealand Law Foundation and supported by University of Waikato's Te Piringa – Faculty of Law.

Alumnus translates "The Hobbit" into Hawaiian

If you've ever wondered what Gollum or Gandalf would sound like speaking Hawaiian, you won't have to wait long to find out. Keao NeSmith, a PhD graduate in applied linguistics from the University of Waikato's School of Māori and Pacific Development, has translated J R R Tolkien's "The Hobbit" into Hawaiian. Dr NeSmith says his translation, "Ka Hopita", is a book learners can read as part of their journey towards becoming fluent in Hawaiian.  Dr NeSmith is passionate about the revival of Hawaiian, which he says is one of the most endangered Polynesian languages. Dr NeSmith's PhD focused on how the Hawaiian language is being taught to a new generation of speakers and he used his research as a platform for developing a professional teaching programme. He's now teaching Hawaiian at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in Honolulu.

Cello graduates making their mark across the ditch

Two graduates of the University of Waikato's Conservatorium of Music are preparing to take Australia by storm. Over the next few weeks cellists Santiago Cañon Valencia and Edward King will both be performing cello concertos with two of Australia's leading orchestras. On 1-2 April, Edward is set to perform Dvořák's Cello Concerto with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.  One of three finalists in the inaugural Australasian Cello Awards held last year, Edward was awarded this concerto performance as part of the prize. Santiago, after a successful engagement with Orchestra Victoria in 2013, makes a return visit to Melbourne to perform Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations and Pezzo Capriccioso on April 8–10. Both students are former students of the Conservatorium's unique 'Soloist Specialisation' programme, which aims to coach top music students towards international performing careers.

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