Media Advisory June 7

Major funding win for environmental planning professor
University of Waikato professor of environmental planning Iain White has been awarded nearly $200,000 to assist his research into how cities can become more resilient to natural hazards. The funding is part of the $20 million government-funded National Science Challenge – Resilience to Nature’s Challenges. Professor White will contribute to the project from a social sciences perspective, addressing the role played by governance, policies and institutional relationships so New Zealand can build inter-generational resilience to nature’s challenges, such as flooding, in the face of disruptive shocks and change.
Contact: Professor Iain White, 07 838 4466 ext 9166, or

Biological sciences professor to deliver inaugural lecture
Professor Conrad Pilditch will deliver his Inaugural Professorial Lecture at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on June 21 at 5.15pm. Professor Pilditch joined the School of Biological Sciences in 1996 and is an expert in marine ecology and oceanography, with a particular focus on benthic oceanography and ecology – the study of environmental processes just below and above the interface between the seabed and its overlying water. He is a member of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society, the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography and the Oceanography Society. Inaugural Professorial Lectures are the university’s way of introducing its latest professors to the community and are free and open to the public.
Contact: Nicola Lee, 07 838 4401, or

YouTube viral marketing guru on campus
Co-founder of Los Angeles-based viral marketing agency Shareability ( Cameron Manwaring will give a free public talk this week at Waikato University Management School. The YouTube viral marketing guru creates videos for clients such as Dreamworks, Sony Entertainment, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepsi, ESPN, Turkish Airlines and NVIDIA, including YouTube blockbuster hits such as ‘Cristiano Ronaldo in Disguise’ and ‘The Dangers of Selfie Sticks’. Mr Manwaring, 26, will talk about how his company has generated more than one billion views of its videos on behalf of global brands. Mr Manwaring co-founded Shareability in 2013 by teaming up with Oscar-winning Hollywood producer Nick Reed and digital advertiser Tim Staples. He says consumers don’t want to be told to buy something; they want valuable content that’s worth sharing with friends. The Hamilton talk has been organised by Te Ranga Ngaku, the university’s Māori Management Student Network. It takes place on Thursday June 9 from 5pm-6pm in the PWC lecture theatre, Management School Building (MSB), Hillcrest Road, Hamilton.
Contact: Pauline Gray,;or Ruth Taylor,

Fieldays scholarship supports agricultural research
University of Waikato Masters student Rebecca Yeates is this year’s recipient of the $22,000 NZ National Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship. Rebecca will begin work on her Master of Science (Research) in plant physiology in November. Her research will assess thousands of ryegrass seedlings to determine whether it’s possible to select for seedlings with reduced root hair length and density that would decrease competition with white clover for soil phosphorus. In pastures sown with a mix of ryegrass and white clover, ryegrass out-competes white clover, absorbing more phosphorus from the soil and inhibiting white clover growth. Farmers need to put three times more phosphorous on the soil to counteract this than if the two species were grown separately.  If Rebecca can isolate ryegrass seedlings with fewer, shorter root hairs, then the method can be passed onto plant breeders to create a ryegrass that competes less with white clover, reducing the need for additional phosphorus. For more information on the University of Waikato’s involvement at Fieldays, visit
Contact: Ann Huston, 07 838 4775, or

Catch a carp at University’s Fieldays stand
“Catch a Carp” is a new app that will help the Waikato Regional Council control invasive fish species in Waikato water ways. Developed at the University of Waikato in collaboration with the Council, it will be launched at this year’s National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek June 15-18.  The app is an excellent example of citizen science. Once its downloaded, anyone can tap in, noting where, when, and how many unwanted fish, such as koi carp, they see. These fish are bottom feeders that disrupt silt, destroy plants and cause erosion. As the council gathers data on the fishes’ whereabouts, it can direct resources to where the need is greatest to keep numbers at lowest possible levels. For more information on the university’s involvement at Fieldays, visit
Contact: Dr Annika Hinze, 07 838 4052, or or Dr Bruno David,

Cyber Security Challenge to save the world
The world as we know it is on the verge of collapse. A group has been formed called the ‘Coalition’ whose members don’t trust each other but share a common goal: to throw the world into chaos so they can take control of it themselves. A global task force has identified Coalition members, now it’s a race to locate the members who, after having been tipped off, have escaped and gone into hiding. That is the task for those taking part in the 2016 New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge. The challenge begins with an online qualifying round from June 17 to July 1, followed by the competitive round at the University of Waikato on July 14 and 15. NZCSC’16 is open to anyone living in New Zealand of any age, and is divided into three categories: Secondary, Tertiary and Industry/Open. The challenge is hosted by the university and supported by the New Zealand National Cyber Policy Office (Connect Smart), INTERPOL and Internet New Zealand. Entries close on June 16. For more details or to register, visit
Contact: Ann Huston, 07 838 4775, 027 5511 821, or

What’s driving urban change in Hamilton?
A free, one-hour public seminar covering some of the big issues facing Hamilton will take place next Tuesday (14 June) at the University of Waikato. Hamilton was one of five cities investigated by the Resilient Urban Futures research programme, based at the University of Otago, which focused on where urban development is headed, urban planning and Māori, housing and infrastructure issues, environment and resilience. Speakers at the Hamilton event will be economist Associate Professor Ralph Chapman from Victoria University, Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker and Biddy Livesey, who’s a PhD candidate at Massey studying urban development of land acquired as commercial redress through settlements under the Treaty of Waitangi. The research report Drivers of Urban Change was published in December 2015; see The seminar is from 12pm-1pm in the Upstairs Lounge, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.
Contact: Alison Robertson, 07 858 5135, 027 309 4420, or

Let sleeping babies learn
Most people would assume that being wide awake is best for learning, but a study testing babies’ declarative memories, that is memories for facts and events, finds that events occurring relatively close to sleep time seem to be remembered particularly well by infants. Dr Sabine Seehagen, a developmental psychologist from the University of Waikato, was part of an English-German study that tested more than 200 infants aged six and 12 months. She says only infants who took a substantial nap within four hours of learning remembered the imitative actions a researcher had shown them. Dr Seehagen is now keen to extend this research to fully understand the role sleep plays in retaining memory and explore further aspects of learning. To that end she is looking to recruit families and children aged between six months and five years to participate in the next phase of her research. Examples of how the research works can be viewed here. Families are invited to register their interest in taking part in the research at or contact Dr Seehagen for more information.
Contact: Dr Sabine Seehagen, 07 838 4466 extn 9226, or

University to host Education Careers Expo in TaurangaThe University of Waikato’s Faculty of Education is hosting an Education Careers Expo in Tauranga on Friday, June 10. The Education Careers Expo is targeted at Year 13 students interested in careers in education, as well as anyone considering a career change, wanting to upskill or improve their employability. University staff will be available to answer any questions and alumni will give short presentations about their career journeys. The expo runs from 12.45pm-3pm in H110, Windermere Campus, 70 Windermere Drive, Tauranga. For more information or to register go to
Contact: Andy Howells, 027 295 3270, or

New Māori Masters
The University of Waikato is launching New Zealand’s first Māori medium initial teacher education programme at Masters level in July. It aims to produce teachers for Māori medium settings and prepare students with non-teaching backgrounds to become teachers in kohanga reo, kura kaupapa and whārekura. The Master of Teaching and Learning in Māori Medium/Te Toi Arareo, is a 180-point one-year programme and has been developed in close partnership with local kura and whārekura. The new programme is demanding and aimed at high achievers who have a high level of Māori language fluency. Graduates will gain significant practical experience in Māori medium schools, teaching skills and cultural knowledge. The new programme sits alongside the university’s current Master of Teaching and Learning (English). Applications are open now, with B Semester starting July 18.
Contact: Karaitiana Tamatea, 07 838 4466 ext 7814, or

International award for early childhood research
University of Waikato’s Professor Claire McLachlan and her research collaborator Sophie Foster have received an international award from the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education (OMEP) for their research into children’s physical education. The global project aims to increase children's physical abilities and resilience in physical challenges and play, and is aimed at children and teachers. The New Zealand researchers studied more than 200 children across four early childhood centres, and Professor McLachlan says the project is unique because there are few large intervention studies on physical activity in under-fives. She says the research threw up some useful local approaches to supporting physical activity in the early childhood education environment and she’s hopeful that the benefits seen in the project will be long lasting. The pair will give a short presentation of their project next month at the 2016 OMEP World Conference in Seoul, Korea, along with six other award winners from across the globe.
Contact: Professor Claire McLachlan, 07 838 4466 ext 9452, or

Creating supportive classrooms for teachers and students
Authors of a new book 'Better classroom relationships' say they have broken new ground in their exploration of relationship-centred classrooms. Waikato University senior lecturer in Education Dr Maria Kecskemeti and Professor John Winslade from California State University argue that in order to respond to the diversity of today’s classrooms and constantly shifting relationship dynamics, teachers need to be able to deal with uncertainty and have a clear understanding of power relationships. In relationship-centred classrooms, the teacher and the student are seen to be equally important. The authors say their research offers new perspectives on relationship problems; that respectful classroom interactions and constructive responses to conflict can be achieved when teachers apply specific conversational moves and draw on a theoretical framework and specific relationship principles.
Contact: Dr Maria Kecskemeti, 07 838 4466 ext 6446, or

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