Media Advisory November 2

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 this month’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, Linda Waimarie 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 17 November at 6pm in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. This lecture is free and open to the public. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the University’s way of introducing its newest professors to the community.

New Dean is coming home

A leading Māori academic who has spent the past three and a half years in Canada has been appointed Dean of the University of Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development (SMPD). Professor Brendan Hokowhitu will start his new role at Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao in early January. He is currently Dean of the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada and says he has received a broad education on indigenous issues while there. Professor Hokowhitu grew up in Ōpōtiki and spent a year at the University of Waikato before completing a Physical Education degree at Otago. He did a Masters at the University of Victoria (Canada) and then a PhD at Otago, before becoming a lecturer in Te Tumu, Otago’s School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, where he spent 10 years. He will take over from Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith as Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato, allowing Professor Smith to focus on her university-wide role as Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori.

Social work students gain new perspectives in Cambodia

Social work students from Waikato and Massey universities are working together to contribute to the fight against child sex trade and human trafficking in Cambodia. Five students from across both universities recently returned from Phnom Penh where they spent 10 weeks on a student placement working in conjunction with Justice Reach, a New Zealand-based NGO committed to setting children free from the abuse of human trafficking and the sex trade. The Cambodia placement was a first for both universities. The students did a scoping exercise to explore NGO, community, and government responses to child trafficking, current initiatives, challenges, gaps and opportunities for future development.  Their work culminated in a report for Justice Reach addressing the needs and responses for children trafficked into the sex industry.

Waikato student rockin’ it with two scholarships

Kate Mauriohooho’s PhD research will take her to Ngauruhoe and Tongariro where she plans to attach hyperspectral sensors to drones as part of her simultaneous study into slope failure on stratovolcanoes and mineral mapping over geothermal fields. Having just graduated at the University of Waikato with a Master of Science with first class honours, Kate (Waikato, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Tuwharetoa) has been awarded two Waikato University doctoral scholarships to assist her study. She decided to do a PhD because she had so much fun doing her masters research when she trialled sophisticated methods, traditionally used for mining, to characterise rocks in geothermal areas, research which had support from GNS, Contact Energy and an iwi trust and, after presenting the results of her research at a geothermal conference, other power companies are also interested in her work.

Tauranga Postgraduate Information Session

The University of Waikato is hosting a Postgraduate Information Session in Tauranga, targeted at people looking to fast-track their career, change direction or improve their employability. The session will run from 5.30pm-7pm tomorrow, Tuesday November 3 at the ASB Arena, 81 Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui. University staff will be available on the night to answer any questions. To register for the Tauranga Postgraduate Information Session visit

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 19 November.

Climate change put to expert panel

University of Waikato academics, a climate scientist and a former Green Party co-leader will take part in a panel discussion as part of “The Greatest Climate Show on Earth” next week. The event is designed to inform and inspire people to take action with their communities to prevent climate change. The panel will be hosted by University of Waikato Environmental Planning Professor Iain White. Panelists include Waikato University’s Associate Professor Linda Te Aho and Professor Al Gillespie as well as climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger and former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons. The panel will address why people should be concerned about climate change - what's it all about? What is the most important thing that our government needs to do to prevent climate change? What can I do as an individual and with my community to prevent climate change? Questions will also be taken from the floor. The event is at 7pm on Tuesday 10 November at The Atrium, Wintec City Campus, Hamilton. For more information visit

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