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Bragato students meet on Hawkes Bay EIT campus

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Italian and New Zealand Bragato scholarship winners Christopher Bonifacio and Ben Tombs found plenty of common ground when they recently met in Hawke's Bay.

On a month-long tour of New Zealand's wine regions, Christopher, like Ben, most enjoys making and tasting wine.

And Ben, who heads off on his four-week trip to Italy early next year, shares Christopher's enthusiasm for rugby. Last year, he transferred his playing skills from Blenheim to Hawke's Bay where he moved to study EIT's Bachelor of Viticulture and Bachelor of Wine Science concurrent degree.

While Ben plays centre for Napier Pirates, Christopher switches between flanker and lock playing for his club side in Italy.

Learning about one another's culture is very much what the annually-awarded Bragato scholarship is about.

Established 11 years ago, it fosters the link between Italy's famed Scuola Enologica di Conegliano and the Eastern Institute of Technology's School of Viticulture and Wine Science.

The scholarship also celebrates the legendary Romeo Bragato, who attended the school in the northeast of Italy and, as a viticulturist appointed by the New Zealand Government, recognised New Zealand's potential for growing grapes over a century ago.

Every year, the Bragato exchange programme provides a high-achieving EIT viticulture or wine science degree student with a month in Italy to visit wine regions and visit the school in Conegliano. Similarly, a student from Italy's premier viticultural training institution spends four weeks in New Zealand, learning about the wine regions, attending the Bragato Conference and visiting EIT. A little less than two weeks into his trip, Christopher had gained a favourable impression of the respect Zealanders showed towards their environment.

"It's a young country still, so I hope that continues and you don't make the same mistakes as Italy and other European countries. New Zealand has to be careful to maintain healthy soils."

Christopher's father owns hillside vineyards where he grows Glera for Prosecco. While the 19-year-old feels many villages making much of Italy's wine often lack the necessary equipment, he has found New Zealand producers are balancing tradition with better technology.

Working at Wither Hills has nurtured Ben's interest in the wine industry. He was employed by the Marlborough winery as a cellarhand in 2011 and decided to pursue tertiary studies two years later. He returned south to work at Wither Hills over his last summer break.

This year, Ben was awarded a Constellation Wines scholarship, which is helping to fund his studies and also provides him with part-time and holiday work.

He's looking forward to exploring Italy next year.

"The only time I have been out of the country was to Australia when I was 10," he says. "I'm interested in seeing the culture, the passion for family and the rules and regulations for appellations."

Hawkes Bay EIT visual arts and design student is shortlisted for a prestigious award.

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EIT ideaschool visual arts and design student Tara Cooney has been shortlisted in the Wallace Arts Trust Awards - New Zealand’s most prestigious awards for contemporary art.

Tara has been a selected as a finalist for her series of three wooden sculptures, ‘Roger, Ruth, and Paris’, crafted in repurposed wood as part of her portfolio of work for EIT’s Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design.

The awards, which encompass painting, sculpture, video, drawing and unique photography, provide overseas artist residencies ranging from three to six months in New York, Vermont, San Francisco and Solothurn in Switzerland.

Tara’s entry encourages the viewer to encounter the sculptural pieces as though they have some machine-like purpose. They aim to evoke a sense of curiosity.

"Yet they are designed with limited function," she says, "and remain purposefully pointless."

A second-year degree student, Tara considered what conceptual form a new model of reconnection may take in response to an increasing dependency on technology and the development of the ‘restless user’.

The series of three assemblages are a tactile investigation of handles, strings and moving parts. In what they reveal and what they hide, they challenge the viewer to consider how meaning might be generated.

The 31-year-old student says the constructs, influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters and Stephane Mallarme, appear to have a nihilistic approach to the model of rational capitalism and industrialisation intent on seeking maximum speed, maximum efficiency and maximum output.

"Embedded within this is a sense of irony as the notion of the machine is deliberately subverted, upsetting the balance of function and predictability."

Tara’s work will already be familiar toNapiershoppers and visitors. In 2012, she won the city’s Box Art competition, having responded toNapierInner City Marketing’s challenge to beautify the variously-shaped transformer boxes in the CBD.

Tara took as her motif an unravelling ball of wool and, drawing on stories of the city’s past, she incorporated that into the designs applied to the boxes.

The exhibition of Wallace Trust Art Awards winners and selected finalists will be open to the public at the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre in Auckland’s Pah Homestead from 2 September to 9 November. Works not chosen for that exhibition may be hung in a Salon des Refusés which will run from 2 September to 19 October at the same venue.

From Taradale, Tara will attend the opening of the Wallace Arts Trust Awards exhibition with partner and fellow Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design student Jeff Robertson.

Hawkes Bay EIT hospitality students win a haul of medals at the Nestlé Toque d’Or competition.

A team of EIT hospitality students has won a cache of medals in the Nestlé Toque d’Or competition in Auckland.

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Front of house student Ashleigh Butler scored a silver medal and culinary students Kayla Hughes and Sabrina Faes each picked up a bronze medal in the nationwide event.

FromNapier, Ashleigh is studying the one-year Certificate in Front of House Operations (Advanced).

Kayla is fromHastingsand is the second year of her Diploma in Professional Chef Practice while Swiss-born Sabrina, from Waimarama, is in the first year of the programme.

Having developed a menu comprising three courses, Kayla and Sabrina worked over three hours to prepare the dishes served by Ashleigh to guests.

The pressure throughout the live kitchen cook-off was intense, with the team fighting the clock and working under the ever-present gaze of a panel of industry judges.

The 12 teams taking part were marked against World Chefs Societies’ international judging standards encompassing food preparation, presentation, taste and service.

This year was the 24th for New Zealand’s longest-running student cookery and food event, which is also held in 17 other countries and has helped launch the careers of chefs such as Jamie Oliver.

Hawkes Bay and Gisborne school leavers get in quick for EIT scholarships.

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EIT’s Year 13 degree scholarship, offering students a year’s free tuition fees, is to be awarded on individual merit.

The popular scholarship provides a fees-free first year for successful applicants wanting to study any of EIT’s 15 undergraduate degree programmes. They are available to secondary school leavers in the Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne regions, from Hicks Bay to Dannevirke.

Scholarships for the Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts (Te Toi o Ngā Rangi), the Bachelor of Viticulture, the Bachelor of Wine Science and the Viticulture/Wine Science concurrent degree are open to students nationwide.

In the restructured format, the scholarships will be awarded by a selection panel on the basis of criteria applying to students enrolling for programmes in 2015 and beyond. The value of each fees scholarship will be between $4805 and $6000 depending on the programme.

Priority applications close on Friday, 17 October. For further information, phone 0800 CALL EIT (0800 2255 348).

Mike King was keeping it real in Hawkes Bay.

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Comedian Mike King was in Hawkes Bay recently and treated youths to a humorous but insightful perspective on raising and supporting great kids.

Read more: Mike King was keeping it real in Hawkes Bay.

Hawkes Bay EIT hospitality students sharpen their names to do battle.

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EIT hospitality students are sharpening their knives as they prepare to do battle in a live kitchen and restaurant cook-off in Auckland next week.

Culinary students Kayla Hughes and Sabrina Faes and front of house student Ashleigh Butler will vie against 33 other hospitality students nationwide in a bid to take out top honours in the annual Nestlé Toque d'Or.

From Hastings, Kayla is a second-year Diploma in Professional Chef Practice student while Swiss-born Sabrina, from Waimarama, is in the first year of the programme. From Napier, Ashleigh is studying the one-year Certificate in Front of House Operations (Advanced).

Competition organiser Anita Sarginson - national president of the New Zealand Chefs Association and operations manager for The Flying Burrito Brothers - says the students will be competing in an event that is highly-regarded by the hospitality industry.

"Competitors are placed in a high-pressure environment where they have to perform at their very best if they want to take out the coveted top award."

Teams, each with three students, must impress a top panel of industry judges as they cook and serve six covers of a three-course meal. Competitors develop their own menus and must meet strict time deadlines for delivering each course.

The judges mark each team against World Association of Chefs Societies' international judging standards covering food preparation, presentation, taste and service.

The 24th Nestlé Toque d'Or competition will be held on Monday, 18 August.

Caption: Ready for the cut and thrust of competition, from left, Sabrina Faes, Ashleigh Butler and Kayla Hughes.

Hawkes Bay launches "Clearing the Air" resource.

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A new school resource will help school students learn more about air quality and the hazards of pollution in Hawke's Bay.

The "Clearing the Air" resource was launched yesterday at Hawke's Bay Regional Council. HBRC has developed the resource to support the HeatSmart programme which aims to reduce smoke pollution in the region. The resource has had the input of teachers, scientists, HBRC staff and Māori advisor Brian Morris.

"The resource taps into the science curriculum, is easy to use and will give teachers a good foundation for educating children about the importance of clean air for clean lungs and good health," says Sally Chandler, HBRC's Community engagement coordinator.

The "Clearing the Air" resource helps children to understand climate and atmospheric science, human health and factors in good air quality. Chapters cover states of matter, atmospheric layers, the inversion layer and photosynthesis.

"We inhale about 10 litres of air a minute, compared with the two litres of water a day we need to drink, so we should pay as much attention to air quality, if not more, as we do to water quality," says HBRC air quality scientist Dr Kathleen Kozyniak.

Each chapter starts with a poster which can be used for discussion prompts, and includes teacher notes and student activities. The resource is Hawke's Bay focussed, and will help children learn about the inversion layer that forms in winter over areas of the region. Traditional Māori stories and legends are also incorporated. The resource is linked to the National Curriculum for students in Years 4 – 8.

"Clearing the Air" is available online from www.hbrc.govt.nz (search on Clearing the Air ) so that teachers can download the activities they want to use for their classes. The user guide is also available in print format on request from Hawke's Bay Regional Council Community Engagement Coordinator.

Background

The Government's National Environmental Standard for Air Quality requires the reduction in air pollution by 2020. HBRC manage the HeatSmart programme to tackle the main problem which is smoke from domestic fires in Hastings and Napier. An inversion layer forms in winter over the plains where the cities are located, and traps smoke-filled air close to homes. Woodburners are a popular way of heating Hawke's Bay homes as firewood is easily available, and often free. As well as policies to encourage people to upgrade their woodburners, HBRC also operates an accreditation scheme for wood merchants selling guaranteed dry wood.

Hawkes Bay educated viticulturists aiming for national title.

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EIT is toasting the success of three graduates who have made the final five in the prestigious New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year competition being held in Blenheim later this month.

With a great prize package at stake, the annual event attracts stiff competition. More than 45 budding viticulturists entered from four winegrowing regions and of the five finalists, three have completed degrees at EIT.

The finals will be held from 25-27August. The winner will receive a $5000 voucher to travel anywhere in the world that will provide an insight into the wine industry, a week’s travel visiting established New Zealand industry leaders, $2000 in cash, wine glasses and a 12-month lease of an SUV.  

The EIT-educated finalists are Jeffery Farrell, Brenton O’Riley and Paul Robinson.  

Wairarapa’s regional winner, Jeff studied EIT’s Certificate in Wine in 2002 when he was still at school. He then progressed to a Diploma in Wine Science and graduated with a Bachelor of Viticulture in 2011. Starting his career in Hawke’s Bay, the 29-year-old has since moved to the Wairarapa where he is the assistant vineyard manager of Craggy Range’s Te Muna Vineyard.

Brenton previously contested the Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year while studying at EIT. This year, having moved to Blenheim to take up a position as technical viticulturist for Giesen Wines, he aced the Marlborough competition.

Graduating earlier this year with a Bachelor of Viticulture, Brenton was awarded the 2012 Bragato Exchange Scholarship co-sponsored by EIT and the Rotary Club of Taradale. That took him to Italy for a month where he visited wine regions and Scuola Enolgica di Conegliano, Italy’s leading school for viticulture and wine science.

Representing Hawke’s Bay, Paul is another seasoned campaigner in the competition. This will be his fourth attempt at the national title, having won the Hawke’s Bay event for the last three years. Paul completed a Bachelor of Viticulture at EIT and is assistant vineyard manager for a Villa Maria Estate vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels.

EIT’s Head of School Applied Science Diane Marshall says Hawke’s Bay has a proud record for educating high-achieving viticulturists.

“In the last two years the New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year title has been won by EIT graduates – Braden Crosby in 2012 and Matt Fox in 2013.   Braden is now winemaker for Borthwick Estate in the Wairarapa and Matt is vineyard manager for Glencoe Vineyards in Gisborne.

“It’s great to celebrate such successes and now we are backing our EIT-educated finalists to make it a hat trick for a third successive New Zealand Viticulturist of the Year title.”