The impact of honey bees in native forests, Māori health interventions, wicked marketing, corporate governance, and “good” drug development – just some of the topics covered in the University of Waikato’s latest 3 Minute Thesis competition.
Ten doctoral students outlined their theses in three minutes before a packed lecture theatre last night, and judges declared Rachel Nepia the winner, and she also won ‘people’s choice’.
Rachel is studying the impact of honey bees on indigenous biodiversity. She’s spent long hours in forests collecting specimens and monitoring insect activity to find out how the introduced insects are affecting plant resources and rates of pollination of native plants.
For her win, Rachel received $1500 and the John D McCraw memorial trophy, a tiki wānanga, donated by Wiremu Puke who carved it using traditional greenstone tools.
Management student Korey Rubenstein was runner up earning $1000 to put towards his research. Korey’s looking at what motivates consumers’ purchases, and hopes to facilitate more sustainable consumption decisions.
The competition judges were Waikato Times and stuff regional editor Jonathan Mackenzie, Hamilton Boys’ High headmaster and University councillor Susan Hassall, and the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai.
The judges broke from tradition last night to award a special prize to Waikato Management School’s Truely Harding. Truely outlined the issues many Māori face accessing health interventions, able to link it to her own family experiences then taking a wider view of the issue, proposing a He Pikinga Waiora framework to influence policy makers and health professionals to ensure their interventions are culturally appropriate.
Ms Hassall said the judges were impressed with the standard of presentations with the finalists using convincing and powerful language to make good emotional links with the audience in the limited time they had to make their case.
“This event reinforces the strength of the university as a centre of excellence,” said Ms Hassall. “The students all showed their love of learning and as an educator it warms your heart.”
The 3 Minute Thesis competition was an idea developed by the University of Queensland in 2008 and the concept was quickly picked up by the University of Waikato, the first university in New Zealand to do so. Ten years later there are now 600 events held across 59 countries. Rachel Nepia will represent the University of Waikato at the Asia-Pacific final in Queensland next month.