Media Advisory November 9

$1.3 million in Marsden grants for University of Waikato

The University of Waikato secured $1.3 million in Marsden grants in the latest round of funding announced last week by the Royal Society of New Zealand. Dr Holly Thorpe received a fast-start grant of $300,000 to examine young people’s engagement with informal sports to improve their own and others’ wellbeing in war-torn and post-disaster places. Her case studies will take in Afghanistan, Gaza, Christchurch and New Orleans. Electronic engineer Dr Lee Streeter gets a fast-start grant of $300,000 to re-engineer a new camera that can simultaneously image distances and velocities, to enable real-time accurate measurement of moving scenes. A third fast-start grant goes to Tauranga-based marine scientist Dr Phil Ross who’ll be combining archaeology and molecular ecology with Matauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to gain a better understanding of how early Māori manipulated their marine environment. Computer Scientist Associate Professor Eibe Frank has been awarded $410,000 to investigate alternative and more user-friendly approaches to deep learning. The Marsden Fund supports excellence in leading-edge research.

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

University study made possible for Tokoroa students

Sixteen students from Tokoroa and Forest View high schools are the first of 25 in South Waikato to be accepted into a new University of Waikato programme that makes university study more accessible. The programme, Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence, is an initiative 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. The initiative includes heavily subsidised bus transport between the University of Waikato and Tokoroa and Putaruru, university learning hubs in the high schools, and the provision of student learning devices based on need. The initiative was developed following discussions between university of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley, and the four high school principals in Tokoroa and Putaruru about improving access to the University for Year 13 students. Nine students from Tokoroa High School, and seven from Forest View High School were awarded fees scholarship at their school prize giving last week as part of the Te Ara ki Angitū programme. Each scholarship is to the value of $5000. The first student cohort of Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence will start university in A Semester next year.

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, 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.

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.

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” tomorrow. 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 November 10 at The Atrium, Wintec City Campus, Hamilton. For more information visit

Runners to be given recovery treatment at Round the Bridges

What happens to your leg muscles following a hard run? University of Waikato’s Sport and Leisure’s Dr Matthew Driller and Joe McQuillan are going to find out using one of Hamilton’s biggest events, Round the Bridges, as their platform. Using cutting edge technology, Dr Driller and Mr McQuillan will assess participants taking part in the 12km event. Results will provide information on muscular power, flexibility, level of soreness and fatigue. Through the assessments being performed at the University tent onsite, each participant will get feedback on their individual fatigue profile and specific nutrition and recovery tips following the race. Dr Driller is a senior lecturer and sports physiologist, and Mr McQuillan is a lecturer and Sport Science Lab Manager at the university. Both are experts in sport recovery, and Mr McQuillan says he looks forward to seeing how participants perform. Staff and students participating in Round the Bridges are welcome to take part in the pre and post assessments. Look out for the University of Waikato tent in the main event base, Garden Place. Round the Bridges is on Sunday November 15 from 7.30am-1.30pm.

Māori birthing the subject of award-winning thesis

The New Zealand Geographical Society has awarded a University of Waikato academic its 2015 President’s Award for Best Doctoral Thesis. Dr Naomi Simmonds is a lecturer in the university’s Geography and Environmental Planning programmes and will be presented with her award by NZGS President Ann Pomeroy on Friday November 13. Dr Simmonds’ research is into the experiences of Māori women and whānau in relation to pregnancy and childbirth. She says that within Māori knowledges, histories and stories there are powerful ways to understand maternities that can serve to empower women and whānau. The significance of whanau and the importance of the collective is huge, as is the role female ancestors and goddesses play. Reclaiming uniquely Māori knowledges and tikanga pertaining to birth and mothering can significantly transform the maternity experiences of women and whānau. Dr Simmonds will receive her award in the upstairs lounge in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts at 5.30pm on Friday November 13. All are welcome.

Films champion accessibility for all in New Zealand

Imagine a world where every building and community is truly accessible. This Thursday November 12 at 2pm, Waikato Management School’s Network for Community Hospitality will host a public screening on campus of ‘To. Be. Me.’ and ‘Take The Time’, two short documentaries about the four-year journey of the ‘Be. Accessible’ social movement in New Zealand. Both films will screen in room M.1.04 (Postgraduate Studies Office, opposite Bennetts bookshop), on Level 1 of the Student Centre. An elevator is located nearby. Afterwards there will be an informal Q&A session about the ‘New Zealand Tourism For All’ project, led by researchers Professor Alison McIntosh and Dr Cheryl Cockburn-Wootten. Funded by the NZ Ministry of Social Development, the project seeks to identify and promote tourism opportunities that meet the needs of travellers and disabled people with access requirements. To attend, email Brielle on or Cheryl on For more information, visit and watch the video ‘Being an access tourist’ at

University hosts Islamic Studies Conference

The University of Waikato is hosting a two-day Islamic Studies Conference this week that will look at everything from the role of social media and the blogosphere for Muslim women in the West, to Islamic perspectives on milk banks and Islamophobia. Keynote speakers are former Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Dr Najibullah Lafraie, AgResearch scientist and religious leader Dr Mustafa Farouk and University of Waikato Religious Studies Professor Douglas Pratt. The conference is from November 11-12 on campus. The general public is welcome to attend - RSVP before 12 pm Tuesday November 9 at

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