Media Advisory November 16

Grant for leading Māori health researcher

A senior Māori academic and health researcher at the University of Waikato has been awarded one of two inaugural Ngā Pou Senior Fellowships worth $300,000 from the Health Research Council of New Zealand. Associate Professor Leonie Pihama (Te Ātiawa, Ngā Māhanga a Tairi, Ngāti Māhanga) is Director of the Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato and has more than 20 years’ experience in Māori health research. She is developing a cultural framework for understanding emotions from a Māori perspective and will use this information to help Māori health providers working in the area of family violence prevention and intervention. She says indigenous research highlights emotional well-being as essential to well-being and healthy relationships. The Ngā Pou Senior Fellowship is a new HRC award developed to advance the work of mid-career to senior level researchers with a proven track record and prominent level of leadership in an area of Māori health.

Cloud security topic of forum

It’s never been more important to gain control of cloud-based data. At a free forum in Wellington later this month, the STRATUS research group will demonstrate cloud security tools and techniques that will protect data in the cloud and help put New Zealand on the global IT map. Forum keynote speakers are Security Technologies Returning Accountability, Trust and User-centric Services in the Cloud (STRATUS) Science Leader Dr Ryan Ko from the University of Waikato and Industry Advisory Group chairman Jonathan Miller. Dr Ko says one of the main objectives of the forum is to engage and familiarise New Zealand industry partners and end-users with the services and products being developed by STRATUS. STRATUS is a six-year, $12.2 million cyber security project, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment and executed by a team of leading cloud security researchers and practitioners from University of Waikato, University of Auckland, Unitec Institute of Technology and Cloud Security Alliance. The STRATUS Forum and CSA (Cloud Security Alliance) NZ Summit runs from 10.30am-5pm on November 27 in the MBIE Building, 15 Stout St, Wellington. For more information and to register, visit

Waikato initiative aims to spur student innovation

A new initiative developed by the University and Waikato Students’ Union will offer University of Waikato students the opportunity to experience what it takes to be an entrepreneur. The Summer Start-Up Programme will run in Hamilton and Tauranga from November 16 to February 12 - with a three-week break over Christmas. This gives students 10 weeks to develop their own project or idea with the help of an expert start-up coach, workshops and full-access to a shared working space. A $5000 Scholarship was set up to support students during the programme and a total of 29 scholarships were awarded. Among the successful applications were creating footwear that will give high performance on multiple terrains; developing an online toolbox for property managers and tenants; and investigating the logistics of freezing citrus.

Waikato strengthens international ties

The University of Waikato will further strengthen its international links this week by signing two agreements with universities in Vietnam – one with Vietnam International Education Development (VIED) and the other with University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City. The University’s Chancellor, Rt Hon James Bolger, will travel to Vietnam with a delegation led by Prime Minister John Key and Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce. There, he will sign the agreements on behalf of the University of Waikato, address representatives of Foreign Trade University and the Australian International School, and take part in a panel discussion on educational reform.

Māori flourishing in a fast-changing world

A strong sense of who one is and that one’s life matters is vital to health and wellbeing. This is a key theme of tomorrow night’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture being delivered by Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Without meaning and belonging, many people, families and communities lie open to the risk of mental illness, addiction, transience, criminality, suicide and so on. Surveying almost 30 years of research, Professor Nikora will examine some of these unwellness forces in her lecture and the responses Māori make within the broader quest to remain indigenous and to flourish. Of Tuhoe and Te Aitanga a Hauiti descent, Professor Nikora is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Waikato. Her training is primarily in social, community, cross-cultural, ethno and indigenous psychology. Professor Nikora’s lecture Māori flourishing in a fast changing world is on Tuesday November 17 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 introducing its newest professors to the community.

Exhibition dedicated to ‘Oman’s Message of Islam’

An exhibition titled Tolerance, Understanding, Coexistence: Oman’s Message of Islam, supplied by the Omani government, is currently on display in the Lady Goodfellow Chapel at the University of Waikato. It will be available for viewing until Friday November 20. Consisting of 24 panels of photos and texts, the display depicts aspects of Oman’s history and modernisation and its philosophy of acceptance of religious diversity. It is accompanied by a 30-minute DVD which can be viewed in the Chapel. The exhibition was mounted in conjunction with the international Islamic Studies Conference which took place last week and it will feature in activities marking the United Nations Day of Tolerance on November 16. Oman’s Message of Islam advocates positive and peaceful relations with other faiths and cultures.

Dyslexia resource a book award finalist

University of Waikato's Dr Sue Dymock and co-author Professor Tom Nicholson from Massey University are finalists in the Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) Education Awards for their book The New Zealand Dyslexia Handbook. The book and accompanying DVD is a finalist in the ‘Best Resource in Higher Education’ category. Intended as a resource for teachers, the handbook aims to demystify dyslexia and show that there are many practical things classroom teachers can do to help students with dyslexia. Award winners will be announced in Auckland on Thursday November 19.

Cafe Scientifique - Can we stop overeating?

While having food easily accessible and cheap has dramatically decreased occurrence of hunger throughout the industrialised world, it has also created an unexpectedly common health risk: obesity. At the next Café Scientifique in Tauranga, University of Waikato Biological Sciences senior lecturer Dr Pawel Olszewski will talk about physiological mechanisms that predispose us to eating too much: from powerful processes that drive eating for pleasure to relatively weak mechanisms that promote satiety. He will also reflect on the current status and the future of obesity treatment strategies. Café Scientifique is a chance to explore the latest scientific thinking and research from national and international speakers, in a relaxed setting. Entry is $5. Light refreshments are available from 6.30pm.  The Café Scientifique series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks from Saffron Consulting and supported by the University of Waikato. Café Scientifique is at 7pm on November 23 at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga.

Author to give public lecture on wealth

The University of Waikato is the venue for a public lecture by Max Rashbrooke next month. Mr Rashbrooke is the editor of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, ‘The Inequality Debate: An Introduction’, and most recently ‘Wealth and New Zealand’. His latest book contains new data on wealth inequality in New Zealand, and wraps that into a larger story about why wealth matters and why we need to think about how it is distributed, alongside our traditional concerns about income inequality. Mr Rashbrooke is also a research associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. As a journalist, he has written stories for national newspapers and magazines in Britain and New Zealand, including the Guardian, the National Business Review and Metro. He has twice been the recipient of the Bruce Jesson Senior Journalism Award, and is a 2015 Winston Churchill Fellow. The lecture is on December 9 from 5.15pm–6.30pm in S.G.01.

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