Media Advisory September 21

Distinguished Alumni honoured this week

Three outstanding University of Waikato alumni will be formally acknowledged for their achievements at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards this Friday September 25. This year's awardees are finance and investment expert Peter Churchouse, singer Hinewehi Mohi and Olympic gold medallist Rob Waddell. The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour University of Waikato graduates who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities. Previous awardees include Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, former Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung and Wales Rugby Coach Warren Gatland.
Contact: Nicola Lee, 07 838 4401, or

First for second-years

A team of second-year students from the University of Waikato have taken out the second New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge. The challenge, which attracted about 150 people, was held on Friday and involved teams solving a series of cyber security challenges based on a pirate theme. The winning team – named nullPointerExceptions – was made up of Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences students Tim Hampton and Nicholas Shaw, and Bachelor of Engineering student Swikrit Khanal. Cyber security head Dr Ryan Ko says the event and job fair, which was held in conjunction with the challenge, had been very successful.
Contact: Tracey Cooper, 07 858 5014, 022 071 2443, or

Tackling functional illiteracy in New Zealand

Waikato University's Golden Key Chapter is hosting New Zealand's first panel on the causes, impacts and solutions of Functional Illiteracy in New Zealand. The panel is on Wednesday September 23 from 1-2pm, in S Block, Level 1, Room 2 (S.1.02), on the Hamilton campus. Waikato University's Professor Diana Coben and Associate Director Nicola McCartney from the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, and Massey University's Professor Thomas Nicholson will discuss the causes and impacts of Functional Illiteracy in New Zealand and how the community and policy makers can respond to the issue. Functional Illiteracy is when an individual's reading and writing skills are inadequate to meet everyday needs.
Contact: Deanna Morse, 027 756 1203, or

Café Scientifique examines coastal marine research

Researchers from the University of Waikato's Coastal Marine Field Station in Tauranga will present a sequence of short talks at today's Café Scientifique. Topics covered include seaweed remedies for vine disease Psa, new work on Tauranga Harbour's apex predators, the development of new methods for measuring marine pollution, marine invasions, restoration of the iconic toheroa, and why the Rena volunteer clean-up crew was so successful. Café Scientifique is at 7pm today, Monday September 21 at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. Entry is $5. Organised by Saffron Consulting and supported by the University of Waikato, Café Scientifique is a chance to explore the latest scientific thinking and research from national and international speakers. For more information about the University's Coastal Marine Field Station visit: For Café Scientifique visit or email
Contact: Anthea McLeary, 07 557 8960, or

Light work for doctoral student

Bridgette Farnworth has been awarded a University of Waikato Research Institute doctoral scholarship, worth up to $85,000 for three years to assist her study into non-lethal pest control. Bridgette, based in the Environmental Research Institute, is researching whether light can be used to deter nocturnal rodents, mice in particular. She's already found positive signs in the lab that mice will spend less time foraging under illumination and is now moving her testing to Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari where there's a 47 kilometre predator-proof fence around 3400 hectares of native forest. Bridgette says if a tree falls and breaks part of the predator-proof fence, or gaps are created through flooding, then mice are first to invade the forest and there are no mammals to predate on them. And while early indications are positive, other factors need to be tested, such as frequency, light strength, habituation, and how other species respond to increased light.
Contact: Bridgette Farnworth, 07 856 2900, or

Pacific high achievers

High achieving Pacific students at the University of Waikato were celebrated last week as scholarships were given out and academic achievements acknowledged. Nine students have been awarded 2015 Edna Money scholarships, for achievement and excellence. The Edna Money Scholarship for Pacific Academic Excellence worth up to $3000, and the Edna Money Scholarship for Pacific Academic Achievement worth up to $1000 are awarded to Pacific undergraduate students from the university who have demonstrated continuous academic excellence or who have made significant academic improvement during their time of study. The scholarships come as part of a $1million bequest from the estate of Edna Money, a Morrinsville farm owner, accountant and philanthropist. A further 40 students were awarded Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako (TAPA) awards, including Tongan husband and wife David and Sangata Kaufononga. TAPA awards are made possible through the Equity Grant administered by the Tertiary Education Commission to support the achievement and participation of Pacific students in tertiary education.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or

Good news for netball

The University of Waikato and the Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Zone (THE ZONE) have formalised what's already a strong relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. University staff and students already work with Kia Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic players on performance enhancement and recovery and the MoU sets out further areas where the university and THE ZONE can work together, on education and research, scholarships and summer internships, and even look to developing an indoor training facility that could become the home of Kia Magic. THE ZONE chairman John Wiltshire says he's been delighted with the university's willingness to work with his organisation and sees opportunities for the development of new research, courses and qualifications, and for players to study for careers after netball.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or

Twilight talk

A Twilight Seminar on today, Monday September 21, will discuss ongoing threats to New Zealand's internationally renowned natural environment. The speakers - Dr Marie Brown from the Environmental Defence Society and Dr Pip Wallace from the University of Waikato's Environmental Planning Programme - will address the need for strategic change and identify specific practical actions. That will be followed by a panel discussion involving Science and Engineering Dean Professor Bruce Clarkson, and Professor Barry Barton, director of the university's Centre for Environmental, Resources and Energy Law. The seminar is at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts from 4.30pm-6.30pm.
Contact: Tracey Cooper, 07 858 5014, 022 071 2443, or

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