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What Indonesia should know about the University of Waikato

5 March 2019

Associate Professor Gareth Schott shows Indonesian Ambassdor Tantowi Yahya around the studio.

The Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand spent 20 years in front of the camera, now he has been back in the film studio, this time at University of Waikato.

Ambassador Tantowi Yahya has been on campus in Hamilton this week, looking at the work of the University, its staff and students, and educational relationships with Indonesia. Mr Yahya is a musician, TV presenter, politician and now diplomat. He was in film and TV for 20 years, before being elected to the Indonesian House of Representative.  He says being an MP is not a part-time job, but he is extremely proud of his career presenting hugely popular game shows like the Indonesian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Deal or No Deal.

On a daylong visit to Waikato University, Mr Yahya meet with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley, and was shown around some of the Facilities, meeting with key staff and academics.  It has been his first visit, and one he says was long overdue. “I am so glad to finally come here, and find a great university, and one of the most beautiful campuses I have been to here in New Zealand. I am also impressed by a lot of studies offered here, like Cyber Security, which cannot be found at other universities. Indonesia should know about this, because Indonesia is also concerned about the subject.”

Mr Yahya was very interested in the School of Arts, with his own personal experience in film, television, and music - he is a country music performer, as well. “Film has  now become associated with New Zealand, especially with the development of Weta Workshop, and major productions here. So, I think that one of the destinations that people should consider when it comes to film studies is New Zealand.

The University of Waikato’s modern film studio was being used by students to experiment with green screen techniques when Mr Yahya was shown around by Head of the School of Arts Associate Professor Gareth Schott. The Ambassador says the studio was ‘most impressive’, and he was also enthusiastic about Dr Schott’s invitation for him to come back and share his experience with students. “As soon as I complete my responsibilities as Ambassador, I intend to get right back into things like this.”

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