Te Ngira Seminar Series

Te Ngira hosts a series of regular seminars related to our research themes, presented by speakers from both within and outside of the  University of Waikato. See details of our past seminars below.

For enquiries about Te Ngira's seminar series, please contact Renae Dixon ([email protected])

If you would like to be kept informed of upcoming seminars, please click on this link to register your interest.

2023 series

Title: Engineering for the future for a changing demographic in Aotearoa, New Zealand  Ray

Presenter: Ray Hudd

Date: Friday, 24th March 2023 from 12pm to 12.50pm


Civil engineering has been around for thousands of years. Many major developments have occurred since the industrial revolution resulting in many great advances in society. The basic physical principles remain unchanged even in our modern technological world with advanced computer based analysis techniques. However, in recent years there has been an increasing realisation that these solutions while meeting the physical parameters don’t always address the problems they were designed for. It is now recognised that more information and a broader perspective is needed when undertaking designs to ensure they meet the specific rather than generic needs of the individuals and groups they are intended to serve. To that end, a greater knowledge and understanding of changing population demographics and its changing requirements and priorities is needed as the basis of design decision making. This presentation will discuss the potential opportunities this approach presents and how it can lead to sustainable infrastructure solutions to meet the people of Aotearoa's needs and aspirations into the future. Examples of engagement with communities relating to these different demographics will be used to illustrate how this can be applied in practice.


Born in the North West of England near Liverpool. After graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering and completing his PhD in concrete permeability test methods he worked as a product developer in the construction material supply sector developing new products for projects in the UK, Europe and Asia and New Zealand after emigrating here in 1998. In addition to these Ray has also worked as a lifestyle farmer, an intelligence analyst for New Zealand Police, and processing and quality control roles in the agricultural sector. He started teaching Civil Engineering at the University of Waikato in 2019. His teaching includes materials, construction processes and civil engineering design. He has a keen interest in finding improved solutions to infrastructure development in the face of a changing society.

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K.G.09  -

Title: The fertility curve: an under-used trove of demographic informationMarion

Presenter: Marion Burkimsher

Date: Tuesday 14th Feb, 2023. 12pm  to 1pm


What can a roughly bell-shaped curve tell us about the childbearing habits of a country? The fertility curve is a plot of births by age of women (usually, though could be of men). Even comparing solely developed countries the variations in shape of the curve are huge. Some have a single sharp mode, other countries have wide curves and some even have two peaks. Many have evolved from being left-skewed to right-skewed as women are having children later and later in life. So why is the curve important for demography? Because the TFR (total fertility rate) is defined as the area under the fertility curve and changes in the TFR ultimately determine whether a population will grow or shrink in size. This talk shows how the changing shape of the fertility curve over the past three decades has caused the TFR to fall, rise and, most recently, to fall again.


Marion originates from the UK but has lived in France, on the border with Switzerland, for almost 40 years, and at heart she is a geographer. Her PhD was in glaciology but more recently she did an MSc in demography. Are these topics at all related? Yes, glaciers and population are both dynamic systems with inputs (snow, births) and outputs (meltwater, deaths). Marion likes to crunch numbers and make pretty graphs and make the results accessible to everyone.