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UC reopens remediated and renamed Registry building

UC reopens remediated and renamed Registry building

UC staff are moving back into the fully-remediated Registry building, which has been renamed Matariki.

The building will be the new hub for front line services to all UC students. It will also be the home of the University Council and the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.

In the Māori language, Matariki is both the name of a small distinctive star cluster (Pleiades) and the season of its first rising in late May or early June, and is seen as the beginning of the New Year. In traditional times, Matariki was a season to celebrate and to prepare the ground for the coming year. The name has been specially gifted by Ngāi Tahu to UC.

The James Hight building will now be known as Puaka-James Hight. The similarly “star” themed Puaka-James Hight building, is named after the brightest star in the constellation Orion, which rises about the same time as Matariki and is also associated with the start of the New Year.

The new names reflect the growing strength of UC’s relationship with Ngāi Tahu and the mana of Te Ao Māori at the heart of the UC campus.

Leading researcher wins UC Innovation Medal
A leading New Zealand communications disorders researcher who has improved the quality of life of patients and made financial savings for the health care industry has won the University of Canterbury’s Innovation Medal for 2014.

Dr Maggie-Lee Huckabee, who is a world leader in cough-reflex research of stroke patients, will receive her medal at the Chancellor’s annual dinner later this year.

Dr Huckabee’s world-class research seeks to prevent pneumonia in post-stroke or post-surgical stroke patients. Her work is nationally and internationally recognised and she has led clinicians from district health boards across New Zealand to change protocols.

In the Canterbury District Health Board alone, the rate of pneumonia for patients who struggle to swallow following strokes dropped from 26 percent to 11 percent in a three year time period following implementation of her research.

Her efforts have not only resulted in better patient outcomes, but also a potential cost saving to the national health system of about $1.4 million. She has also facilitated a culture of research and innovation for frontline clinicians, which is a key priority for the New Zealand Health Research Council.

Dr Huckabee’s nomination received support from hospitals and speech therapists from around New Zealand and overseas.

Previous university medal winners are Professor Keith Alexander (spring free trampoline), Professor Tim Bell (computer science unplugged) and Professors Andy Buchanan and Stefano Pampanin and Dr Alessandro Palermo (pre-stressed laminated timber).

UC first in two of four TEC rankings
The University of Canterbury is ranked first in the country in two out of the four annual performance rankings just released by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).

Canterbury has the highest proportion of students completing qualifications and the highest proportion of students progressing to higher levels of any New Zealand university, according to the TEC.

The proportion of Canterbury students who completed their qualifications was 88 percent, compared with the national average of 81 percent. The proportion of Canterbury students who progressed to study at a higher level was 95 percent, with the national average 79 percent.

The university was ranked third on the successful completion of courses and for students who remained in study.

The university is the first in New Zealand to be rated five stars by international university QS rankings company and remains among the top three percent of universities in the world.

UC retains five star ranking
UC has retained its five star rating by the international universities rankings organisation QS. The QS stars system is designed to allow institutions to shine, irrespective of their size, shape and mission. UC received five star ratings in the areas of employability, internationalisation, facilities and access and also in the specialist category of Civil and Structural Engineering.

UC hosting World Press Photo exhibition in August
UC is hosting the internationally-renowned World Press Photo exhibition in the Puaka-James Hight Central Library from 2-24 August.

The Word Press Photo is a touring exhibition of the world’s leading photojournalism. Photos included in the exhibition are the winners of the World Press Photo Contest and each highlights a key news story or global issue from the previous year. More information is online at:

UC spin out company wins international award
A University of Canterbury spin out company, Puteko, has won an Auggie, an international augmented reality award, for an app that turns colouring books into 3D.

Puteko's app allows users to print, colour-in and then see the image they've created come alive in 3D thanks to augmented reality technology.

Now in their fifth year, Auggies are awarded for the best augmented reality and wearable technologies, films, tools and hardware. It includes a prize of a one-year licence for DAQRI 4D Studio, an augmented reality content creation tool from the world’s leading augmented reality developer DAQRI.

The Puteko app is a fun, inventive and novel use of augmented reality technology. One of its designers, University of Canterbury researcher Dr Adrian Clark, says that from the beginning their focus was on the user experience, rather than the technology. Further content releases are planned.

A YouTube link of the app can be viewed at:

UC rocket takes world altitude record
A University of Canterbury student-built supersonic rocket has achieved the highest recorded altitude worldwide.

The small supersonic rocket launch near Tekapo on July 26 was an attempt to break the New Zealand and world I-class altitude records which stood at 1117 and 4324 metres respectively.

UC rocketry research project member and postgraduate student David Wright say they attempted to obtain the New Zealand record in December 2013 using a slightly larger research rocket called Melissa. A transmitter failure meant the maximum altitude was never verified.

Wright says he decided to design and construct a highly-optimised 740mm rocket to make a more serious attempt - this time at the world record - launched with the help of PhD Student George Buchanan and other UC rocketry project members near Lake Tekapo.

It reached speeds in excess of 2000kph and broke the sound barrier just 70 metres above the ground. GPS data showed that the rocket reached altitudes in excess of 4889m,eclipsing both the previous New Zealand and world records. The barometric pressure and GPS data has been sent to the New Zealand Rocketry Association for verification.

“By recording the highest ever flight for an I-class rocket we hope that New Zealand's position in the world of high power rocketry will be significantly bolstered,” Wright says.

“This proves that we can both compete on a world stage and lead the way by using innovative techniques to vastly improve performance of these vehicles.”

UC runs New Zealand's first and only rocket course, under the supervision of Rutherford Discovery Fellow and senior electrical and computer engineering lecturer Dr Chris Hann.

The engineering course students are designing and implementing everything relating to rockets including the airframe, 3D printing of canards, rocket engine design, instrumentation and sensors, control systems and parachute recovery.

The course has the backing from Rocket Lab Ltd in Auckland this semester, and is open to all engineering students.

See a University of Canterbury rocket launch on YouTube at


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