Media Advisory October 19

High achievers acknowledged at annual Blues Awards

Excellence in rowing, waka ama and cello was acknowledged in the top accolades presented at the 2015 Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards last Friday, October 16. This year, more than 60 Blues Awards were given out for high achievement in sport and arts. Zoe Stevenson was named Sportswoman of the Year for the second year running and Caleb Shepherd was named Athletes House Sportsman of the Year. The Pou Ahurea Award for Māori Person of the Year went to Tupuria King, also for the second year running, and Catherine Kwak was named Creative and Performing Arts Person of the Year. The Blue is a prestigious award for excellence in sport or creative and performing arts, and recognises regional and national excellence, through to world champions. Thirty-six University of Waikato students were recognised for their sporting achievements this year, alongside 21 students who have made considerable contributions to the creative and performing arts. For more information visit

Honorary Doctorate for Tauranga kaumātua

A Tauranga kaumātua who has spent decades working for his people is to receive the University of Waikato’s highest honour. Morehu Ngatoko Rahipere MNZM will receive an Honorary Doctorate tomorrow, Tuesday October 20, from the University of Waikato for his contribution to the university over many years. Mr Ngatoko Rahipere’s whakapapa extends to two of the principal tribes of the Tauranga Moana region, to Ngāti Ranginui, and Ngāi Te Rangi, and to Ngāti Awa also. His primary hapū affiliations are to Ngāi Tamarāwaho and Ngāti Rangi. He is widely regarded as an acknowledged leader, an exponent of tribal lore and narratives, a man of mana and a formidable orator. He is a strong advocate of the long-standing relationship between Ngāti Ranginui and the Kīngitanga. Mr Ngatoko Rahipere was instrumental in advancing the return of Mauao (Mount Maunganui) to the people and his expertise and knowledge in tikanga and kawa, has ensured the mountain is protected and its cultural integrity is maintained. Mr Ngatoko Rahipere will receive his Honorary Doctorate at the University of Waikato’s graduation ceremony at Claudelands Events Centre, Hamilton on the afternoon of Tuesday October 20.

Doctoral students to present their theses in three minutes at 3MT

The 3MT final, where 10 University of Waikato PhD candidates will pitch their theses to a general audience, is on this Wednesday. The finalists are: Gayadini Madho Kandage - The role of communication channels and networks in building community resilience to natural disasters in different cultural contexts Sheree Balvert - Reducing the impact of farming on the environment: the potential role of broccoli; Sarah Lockwood, A match made in crisis: a self-organised, youth volunteer response to crisis events; Neda Nourmohammadi - Shaping the future: reconciling the contemporary Iranian art with dynamic identity; Catharina Jerratsch - Women in Management in non-profit organisations: a case study of the YMCA; Ash Puriri - Underpinnings of whānau tourism development; Dara Dimitrov - The accountability of New Zealand charities: a stakeholder perspective; Karen Houghton - Methane-munching microbes; Jason Sun - Seeing through layers; and Suzanna Ellington - Philosophy and fiction: internal aspects on an external world. The 3MT final is from 7pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on Wednesday October 21. Entry is free but numbers are limited. For more information visit

KuDos for scientists

An honorary doctor and a science technologist were University of Waikato winners at last week’s KuDos Hamilton Science Excellence Awards. Max Gibbs, a NIWA scientist who received an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato in 2010, won the lifetime achievement award for his work in fresh and coastal waters, and in particular, his ground-breaking work on stable isotope technique and analysis. School of Science Technical Officer Aaron Wall picked up the top award in the Hill Laboratories Laboratory Technologist Award section. Mr Wall is working on a project that aims to mitigate soil carbon losses and increase gains in soil carbon by adjusting on-farm management practices. Other Waikato University finalists at the KuDos Awards were School of Science Technical Team Leader – Aquatic Dudley Bell, freshwater biologist Professor Brendan Hicks, an expert on invasive species, and PhD student and CodeAvengers' developer Michael Walmsley.

Waikato University celebrates youth development

A young leader from Tokoroa High School, Turoa Tepana, has won a University of Waikato Tokoroa and Putaruru School Leaver Scholarship: Te Ara ki Angitū, as part of a new partnership between the University and secondary schools and communities in South Waikato. Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence is designed to widen the pathway to university study by alleviating the barriers of affordability and transport, and installing quality support to guide students through the transition to university. Turoa is one of 33 students to win the scholarship. He is also a finalist for the inaugural Foundation for Youth Development Waikato Excellence Awards, a University of Waikato-sponsored event that showcases and celebrates outstanding local young people. Award winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 22 October at 6pm at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Media are invited to attend.

Free lecture on gravity’s telescope

The University of Waikato is the venue for a lecture by Dr Nicholas Rattenbury. Dr Rattenbury is a Rutherford Discovery Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland, and a member of a Japan/New Zealand collaboration that uses the largest telescope in New Zealand to detect extra-solar planets. Nearly 2000 planets have been discovered orbiting stars other than our own Sun. In this Ten by Ten talk, Dr Rattenbury describes how New Zealand has contributed to the discovery of extra-solar planets using a phenomenon predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity – the bending of light by gravity. The lecture is on Thursday October 29 at 7pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The lecture is free and open to the public, but to ensure a seat RSVP at

Getting the right sequence

More and more, technology is becoming the norm in our day-to-day lives, in the operation of household and industrial equipment and in medicine too. The trouble is, humans are prone to making mistakes, and inadequate testing of these safety-critical interactive systems can result in serious harm or even death to a user. Waikato University doctoral student Jessica Turner is studying ‘Supporting Interactive System Testing with Interaction Sequences’ for her PhD and has been awarded a University of Waikato Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship of $5000 to accompany her Waikato doctoral scholarship, which gives her $22,000 a year plus course fees. Her interest is in interactive systems that are ‘safety critical’, such as infusion pumps that are used for dispensing medicine and must be precise. She’s looking at different ways and combinations to use interaction sequences for testing purposes to identify sequences that could be potentially hazardous before the system is put into widespread use.

The making of Penny Black

She’s been a stunt double and a director’s assistant in Hollywood and now University of Waikato PhD student Fiona Jackson is launching her own full-length feature. The movie, Penny Black, will screen on October 30 at the Arohanui Film Festival in Te Aroha. Fiona is studying the nature of independent filmmaking for her doctorate, looking at theory, control and decision-making in the filmmaking process. She worked closely with Waikato University graduate, filmmaker Joe Hitchcock, and several other Waikato students and graduates contributed to wardrobe, make-up, props and set design, with composer Jeremy Mayall, who’s graduating next week with his PhD, writing the film score. The film is about a model and a charismatic anarchist who, to escape different situations, go on a road trip. Fiona says the movie’s not a love story; it’s about finding out what is important in life.  For more information go to:

Master of cyber security student wins top new scholarship at Waikato

A top masters student at the University of Waikato is the inaugural recipient of the Sir William Gallagher Cyber Security Scholarship worth $25,000. Former student at Whakatane’s Trident High School, Sjoerd de Feijter, is studying towards a Master of Cyber Security (MCS) and says the scholarship offers more than just money. As well as financial support, the scholarship, for which applications close in April each year, provides work experience in one of the world's fastest growing industries 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 was established in 2015 to support academically talented students studying towards a Master of Cyber Security (MCS) qualification at the University of Waikato.

Waikato Business 2025: A view to the future of business

What will business look like in 2025? Join our three experts for a free, one-hour panel discussion on Friday, 30 October about what business will look like in 10 years and what you need to know to prepare, taking into account likely economic, environmental and social changes. The three panel speakers are Deloitte New Zealand’s corporate social responsibility manager Xavier Black, who has 10 years’ experience designing and evaluating social impact programmes; Waikato Management School’s Professor Juliet Roper, whose research on corporate sustainability includes a long-running survey of business sustainability practices in New Zealand that began in 2003, and Tama Potaka, Tainui Group Holdings corporate services manager. This event, ‘Waikato Business 2025’, will be held at the University of Waikato’s Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, from 10am-11am. Registration starts at 9.45am. For more information see

¡Ole! Sombreros off for winning Mexico business strategy

A bold, innovative plan to turn Hamilton-based dairy manufacturer Waikato Milking Systems into an international brand by moving to Mexico, then expanding into North and South America, has seen a team of students from the University of Waikato win this year’s 39th Waikato Management School Case Competition, a practical assignment that is a highlight of the third-year Strategic Management paper STMG391. The Five Profiteers’ entertaining presentation to the judges – complete with sombrero hats - saw them walk away with $2500 prize money, donated by event sponsor PwC. The team included Bachelor of Management Studies students Jordan Herbert, Rhandal Meijerink, Dean Phillips, Casey Stewart and Tasha Taylor. Senior lecturer in strategy Dr Stephen Bowden said the competition gives students an opportunity to act as ‘business consultants’ to a real-life company. The students proposed that Waikato Milking Systems should boost its international sales and expand its dealership networks by going into partnership with a manufacturer in Mexico, a country with a competitive labour market, free trade agreements, and strategic location near California, the biggest dairy region in the United States.

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