Campus wide

First aviation students complete Qantas training program

The first four School of Aviation students selected by Jetstar New Zealand for the Qantas Future Pilots Program are now working as first officers for the airline.

Cameron Nayler, Chase McDonald, Vanessa BrillHolland and Darcy Clure completed the third and final stage of the Qantas’ Airline Transition Course in November 2018 at the airline’s training centre in Sydney.

Aviation students Grayden Ecklein, Vanessa Brill-Holland and Darcy Clure with Captain Ian Griggs (second from right).

Senior base pilot for Jetstar New Zealand, Captain Ian Griggs, says Qantas’ chief pilot was impressed with the group’s professionalism and motivation and is looking forward to the next four Massey students entering the Qantas Future Pilots Porgram. Two students, Grayden Ecklein and Jacob Houghton, have already been selected.

Massey University was the first tertiary institution outside of Australia to join the program when it signed a partnership deal with the airline in May 2018. It offers aviation students a pathway to flying for Jetstar New Zealand.

Captain Griggs says the airline partnered with the School of Aviation because of an expected shortage of pilots globally and the school’s high standard of training.

School of Aviation chief executive Ashok Poduval says the partnership will be a game changer for pilot training in New Zealand. “For our best students, this programme is an amazing opportunity to transition into a reputable airline,” he says.

New portal tracks GDP in real time

Massey University has launched a real-time gross domestic product (GDP) tracker, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

Called GDPLive, the online portal uses machine learning algorithms and the most up-to-date data possible, including live data sources. It allows users to see instantly estimates of how the New Zealand economy is performing on a daily basis, and provides GDP forecasts.

Professor Christoph Schumacher from Massey University’s School of Economics and Finance says GDPLive’s use of cutting-edge machine learning technologies provides informed forecasts, making it a valuable decision-making tool for businesses. He says it will be a significant improvement on government reporting, which releases national GDP figures quarterly and regional figures annually. “We’ve been told by companies that relying on three-month-old data is too much of a lag in this day and age and they want live data to enhance their decisions,” he says. “Our forecasts should also help businesses to look into the future to determine what their industries might look like in two or three months.” The GDPLive project ( has been developed by the University’s Knowledge Exchange Hub, headed by Professor Schumacher. Users can view historical data, current national and regional GDP figures and forecasts, as well as see a performance overview of a large range of industry sectors.

Managing fatigue and shift work in hospital-based nursing

Professor Philippa Gander

The Safer Nursing 24/7 project has released a draft national code of practice for managing fatigue and shift work in hospital-based nursing.

The project, led by Professor Philippa Gander, aims to improve health service delivery by improving both patient safety and the safety, health, quality of life and retention of nurses.

Professor Gander is director of Massey’s Sleep/Wake Research Centre.

Funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Safer Nursing 24/7 project includes researchers from Massey University and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, and an advisory group with broad representation from across the sector.

The draft code is informed by a national survey of nurses’ work patterns, and includes guidance on scientific principles for fatigue management and roster design, how to use the fatigue risk assessment tools, educational materials, and guidance on organisational and personal fatigue-risk mitigation strategies.

Professor Gander says sector knowledge and experience is a vital component of this new approach, which also draws on the latest fatigue science and international best practice.

Part of the Pūhoro graduating class.

Pūhoro academy boosts Māori achievement

A Massey academy, which has been labelled a breakthrough in Māori education, has seen its first members graduate. The Pūhoro STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) Academy is designed to boost the number of Māori students in the STEM subjects. The black-tie event in Palmerston North saw 67 students graduate, of whom many are now studying at Massey. The University has contributed scholarships worth $150,000 towards their study.

The academy is the brainchild of director Naomi Manu, who saw the need for a STEM academy for Māori secondary students to provide a long-term skills pipeline from secondary school, through tertiary education and into employment. It began in 2016, providing a wraparound support programme for 97 Ma -ori secondary school students in the wider Manawatu area.

Within a year, students who had not been on academic pathways previously were exceeding expectations by passing the National Certificate of Educational Achievement at rates higher than the national average. Three years later, the Manawatū – based programme is the most comprehensive indigenous STEM programme in the world. Pūhoro has spread to Horowhenua, Bay of Plenty, Kapiti and South Auckland, with 439 students taking part across years 11-13.

Designer wins top prize with modified saddle

Industrial design graduate Holly Wright’s specialised saddle for disabled riders won the top prize in the New Zealand section of the James Dyson Award at the end of last year. The global competition celebrates the next generation of design engineers.

Wright’s saddle, called Contak, focuses on safety, experience and adaptability for the rider, volunteers and the horse involved.

“My design brings the rider 60 per cent closer to the horse, which is important as the rider responds to the movement and gait of the horse. The further away from the horse they are, the less stable and more risky it is.

James Dyson award winner and Massey University industrial design graduate Holly Wright with her therapeutic equestrian saddle for disabled riders.

“Putting a rider on a horse gives the rider the feeling of walking without assistance and means they are effectively walking on the same plane as able-bodied people.”

Her design uses high-density polyethylene plastic, foam and felted wool, rather than wood and leather. “It will fit any shaped horse of any size,” she says.

The prize money will aid in the manufacture of a small run of prototype saddles for local testing. Market research suggests there is a niche international market.

Runners-up for the award included another Massey industrial design graduate, Georgia Fulton, who designed a sensor jacket for farm pigs that prevents piglets being crushed by sows.

New Gender Dashboard launched

Greta Parker with her grandmother Marian Lawson, a member of the National Council of Women.

She’s one of the brains behind the campaigns and the kaupapa of Gender Equal NZ – Bachelor of Communication graduate Greta Parker has been with the Wellington-based organisation since its inception in 2017. The group is led by the National Council of Women of New Zealand.

Now, she’s been pivotal in launching the Gender Dashboard, which brings together data on gender and equality to tell – in accessible stories – what that data means for us all. She’s also rolling out the Gender Attitude survey again this year to measure shifts over time.

Her interest in communications for social change – to “make a difference” – was galvanised through her work experiences with Age Concern New Zealand and the National Council of Women. A Bachelor of Communication is, she says, “not just about promotion and publicity” but also “fostering authentic two-way communication and understanding the benefits and value of that for organisations – what that can mean for society and the good it can do in communities.”