5,974 results for Scholarly text

  • Bacterial Communities Associated with Human Decomposition

    Parkinson, Rachel (2009)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Human decomposition is a little-understood process with even less currently known about the microbiology involved. The aim of this research was to investigate the bacterial community associated with exposed decomposing mammalian carcasses on soil and to determine whether changes in this community could potentially be used to determine time since death in forensic investigations. A variety of soil chemistry and molecular biology methods, including molecular profiling tools T-RFLP and DGGE were used to explore how and when bacterial communities change during the course of a decomposition event. General bacterial populations and more specific bacterial groups were examined. Decomposition was shown to cause significant and sequential changes in the bacterial communities within the soil, and changes in the bacterial community often correlated with visual changes in the stage of decomposition. Organisms derived from the cadavers and carcasses were able to be detected, using molecular methods, in the underlying soil throughout the decomposition period studied. There was little correlation found between decomposition stage and the presence and diversity within the specific bacterial groups investigated. Organisms contributing to the changes seen in the bacterial communities using molecular profiling methods were identified using a cloning and sequencing based technique and included soil and environment-derived bacteria, as well as carcass or cadaver-derived organisms. This research demonstrated that pig (Sus scrofa) carcass and human cadaver decomposition result in similar bacterial community changes in soil, confirming that pig carcasses are a good model for studying the microbiology of human decomposition. The inability to control for differences between donated human cadavers made understanding the human cadaver results difficult, whereas pig carcass study allowed many variables to be held constant while others were investigated. The information gained from this study about the bacteria associated with a cadaver and how the community alters over the course of decomposition may, in the future, enable the development of a forensic post mortem interval estimation tool based on these changes in the bacterial community over time. The findings in this thesis suggest that high variability between human bodies and their microflora is likely to present a challenge to the development of such a tool, but further study with emerging high-throughput molecular tools may enable identification of microbial biomarkers for this purpose.

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  • Ecological, Oceanographic and Temperature Controls on the Incorporation of Trace Elements into Globigerina Bulloides and Globoconella Inflata in the Southwest Pacific Ocean

    Marr, Julene (2009)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Trace element ratios (Mg/Ca, Al/Ca, Mn/Ca, Zn/Ca, Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca) measured by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry plus and test weight and size data are presented for two planktonic foraminiferal species, Globigerina bulloides and Globoconella inflata. These data will be used to investigate the potential of Mg/Ca ocean thermometry and other trace element proxies of past ocean chemistry using these species. Foraminifera were sampled from core-top sediments from 10 sites in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, east of New Zealand, spanning latitudes of c.33' to 54' S and temperatures of 6-19' C at 75-300 m water depth. Mg/Ca in G. bulloides correlates strongly with observed water temperatures at 200 m depth and yields a new calibration of Mg/Ca = 0.941 exp 0.0693*T (r2 = 0.95). When G. bulloides Mg/Ca data from this study are combined with previously published data for this species, a calibration of Mg/Ca = 0.998 exp 0.066*T (r2 = 0.97) is defined. Significant variability of Mg/Ca values (20-30%) was found for the four largest chambers of G. bulloides with the final chamber consistently recording the lowest Mg/Ca values. This is interpreted to reflect changes in the depth habitat towards the end of the life cycle of G. bulloides. Levels of A1 and the micronutrients Mn and Zn in G. bulloides were found to differ significantly between Subtropical and Subantarctic Water masses, suggesting these elements can potentially be used as water mass tracers. No clear relationship between Mg/Ca and temperature was observed for G.inflata. This is interpreted, in part, to reflect the ecological niche that G. inflata occupies at the base of the thermocline, coupled with the impact of heavy secondary calcite which lowers Mg/Ca values. A correlation between size normalized test weight, water temperature and seawater carbonate ion concentration is observed for G. bulloides suggesting a modern calibration that could be potentially applied for paleoceanographic reconstructions of ocean water temperature and carbonate ion concentrations. No correlation between temperature or carbonate ion was found with size normalized G. inflata test weights. However, a bimodal population of G. inflata test weights indicates a possible link between high levels of chlorophyll-a in surface waters and light G. inflata tests. Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and solution-based techniques for measuring Mg/Ca in G. bulloides yield compatible results. However, this is possible only when minimal dissolution of test calcite has occurred during the reductive and dilute acid leaching stages of cleaning prior to solution analysis, or, if only the older three visible chambers are used for LA-ICP-MS analysis. LA-ICP-MS analysis is an effective method for measuring trace element/Ca values in foraminifera, especially for small sample sizes, and enables the test to be used for further geochemical analysis (e.g. boron or carbon/oxygen stable isotope analysis).

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  • Towards a New Pacific Theatre: Practice‐Led Enquiry into a Model of Theatre Making that Relates to the Geography, Cultures and Spiritual Values of Aotearoa/New Zealand

    Van Dijk, Bert (2010)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This practice‐led research enquiry sets out to develop and test a model of theatre practice that relates to the unique geographic, cultural and spiritual dimensions of Aotearoa/New Zealand. In this practice, actors are connected with their body and the earth (they have feet), archetypal qualities inherent in nature and culture are incorporated into training and performance (return of the gods), a sense of adventure and risk‐taking is emphasized, and the practice relates to the multiple cultures and communities of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Presence, defined as the ability to be sensorially alive in the moment, and site‐specific performance, a creative response to locality, emerged as two of the key strategies to connect with self, other and the environment. By investigating selected principles, strategies and values from the indigenous, pre‐European, Māori performing arts (whare tapere), devised theatre, the Michael Chekhov technique, and Japanese Noh theatre, an intercultural approach to site specific theatre evolved that interweaves the four pathways of collaboration, connection, exploration and transformation and their corresponding values. After considering the political and ethical issues of intercultural performance a number of principles to guide the process of intercultural exchange were formulated and tested. A vital component of this study was the creative development and performance of Ex_isle of Strangers – a site‐specific work developed in response to the tangible and intangible dimensions of Matiu/Somes Island. The research generated moments of practice that investigated the creative potential of residential devising processes and the transformative value of audience mobility in performances that involve physical and metaphorical journeying. These moments provided the participants (performers and spectators) time, space and opportunity to interact with one another and with the site they occupied, thus significantly increasing their level of physical and mental engagement with the work.

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  • International student engagement in academic library instruction classes in New Zealand

    Paniora, Riki-Lee (2015)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research Problem: The purpose of this study is to ascertain if New Zealand tertiary libraries are meeting the information literacy needs of international students’ specifically through engagement in library instruction classes. Methodology: A qualitative research design influenced by grounded theory was employed. Three international students’ participated in a semi structured focus group interview designed to explore their learning experiences in information literacy classes at their designated institute. Data collected was then analysed thematically. Results: Students had limited previous experience using a similar library to their current institute one therefore students valued library instruction. Communication difficulties were identified as the biggest barrier to engagement in library instruction and with library staff in general. Other campus wide environmental issues such as computer, Wi-Fi and internet access problems were also identified as barriers to their learning as international students’. Implications: In order to enhance the academic success of International students’, education providers must facilitate their acculturation into both New Zealand academic and social cultural milieu (Mackay, Harding, Jurlina, Scobie, & Khan, 2011). The findings from this study provide a snapshot of factors influencing the international student experience which currently is of strong significance as overseas student recruitment has become an important component of strategic planning at most tertiary institutions as increased enrolments contribute considerably to the New Zealand economy (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 2009). Further research into the topic of improving the International student experience in New Zealand should be undertaken to discover how to better support both tertiary institution goals and students’ learning experience.

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  • Retrofitting Memory: Retrofitting a Non-Physical Architecture

    Low, Soon Yie (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This project looks at how destroyed architecture, although physically lost, fundamentally continues to exist within human memories as a non-physical entity. The site chosen is Avonside Girls’ High School in Christchurch, New Zealand, a school heavily damaged during the February 22nd earthquake in 2011. The project focuses on the Main Block, a 1930s masonry building which had always been a symbol for the school and its alumni. The key theories relevant to this are studies on non-material architecture and memory as these subjects investigate the relationship between conceptual idea and the triggering of it. This research aims to study how to fortify a thought-based architecture against neglect, similar to the retrofitting of physical structures. In doing so, the importance of the emotive realm of architecture and the idea behind a building (as opposed to the built component itself) is further validated, promoting more broadminded stances regarding the significance of the idea over the object. A new method for disaster recovery and addressing trauma from lost architecture is also acquired. Factors regarding advanced structural systems and programmes are not covered within the scope of this research because the project instead explores issues regarding the boundaries between the immaterial and material. The project methodology involves communicating a narrative derived from the memories alumni and staff members have of the old school block. The approach for portraying the narrative is based on a list of strategies obtained from case studies. The final product of the research is a new design for the high school, conveyed through a set of atmospheric drawings that cross-examines the boundaries between the physical and non-physical realms by representing the version of the school that exists solely within memories.

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  • The Three Pathways to Happiness: How Orientations to Pleasure, Engagement, and Meaning Relate to Grit and Well-Being in a Longitudinal, International Sample

    Ross, Catherine (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Orientations to happiness (OTH)--to what extent people endorse pleasure, engagement, and meaning--and Grit--perseverance and passion for long term goals--have not been studied together longitudinally before. Further, grit and OTH have not been investigated together along with a measure of psychological well-being before. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the links between and among OTH, grit, and well-being through a number of longitudinal mediation analyses. Data from the International Well-Being Study was used, in which 755 participants completed surveys at five time points over one year. The results illustrated that all of the variables were positively related to each other over time, except for a negative relationship found between grit and pleasure OTH. Pleasure, meaning and engagement were all found to be significant predictors and outcomes of the longitudinal mediations of grit to well-being and of well-being to grit. Additionally, engagement was found to be the only OTH pathway that was a marginally significant mediator of the relationship between grit and well-being. Future research should further investigate the relationships between OTH, grit and well-being. This research also has implications for devising and implementing interventions that increase grit and OTH, which also in turn are likely to improve well-being, decrease mental illness, and improve levels of success.

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  • How does a music therapy student work to facilitate reminiscence and memory in dementia patients

    Sun, I-Chen (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This study was prompted in response to increased interest in, and demand for, music therapy provision in improving quality of care for dementia patients. It is an exploration of the strategies to facilitate memory and reminiscence in persons with dementia, and considers the need for those preparing for end of life to recall identities, connect with family and others, and express feelings. This research is a qualitative study involving secondary analysis of clinical data from my clinical practice and identifies the strategies, techniques and procedures that I applied in my clinical work to stimulate preserved memory ‘islands’. The findings show that familiarity is central in enabling a remembering process, and music can have unique ways of accessing memory in people with limited cognitive and social abilities. Eight core categories of music therapy strategies were found to be helpful in enabling memory and reminiscence. This study includes examples of both individual and group music therapy. The objective of this study was to examine my music therapy practice, and potentially provide some beneficial ideas and insights to other music therapists working on memory and reminiscence with dementia patients.

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  • Household vulnerability on the frontline of climate change: The Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu

    Taupo, Tauisi; Cuffe, Harold; Noy, Ilan (2016)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This paper investigates the vulnerability of households to climatic disasters in the low-lying atoll nation of Tuvalu. Small Island Developing States, particularly the atoll islands, are considered to be the most vulnerable to climatic change, and in particular to sea-level rise and its associated risks. We construct poverty and hardship profiles for households on the different islands of Tuvalu, and combine these with geographic and topographic information to assess the exposure differentials among different groups using spatial econometric models. Besides the observation that poor households are more vulnerable to negative shocks because they lack the resources to respond, we also find that they are also more likely to reside in highly exposed areas to disasters (closer to the coasts and at lower elevation) and have less ability to migrate (between and within the islands).

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  • Principles that Should Govern the Right of Employers to Monitor Employee’s Computer Mediated Workplace Communication: Private Sector

    Rodriguez, Laura (2016)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This paper explores the issues that arise from the surveillance of digital communications at the workplace and how New Zealand has addressed these issues. To achieve that purpose, this paper explores the two prevalent approaches to privacy rights at the workplace: The ownership of the resources (Anglo-American) and the continental Dignity-based (Europe). New Zealand has aligned itself with the Anglo American approach. This approach is less protective of employee’s privacy interests. This paper shall demonstrate that the legal protection of employees from electronic monitoring would be greatly improved by deriving those protections from "human dignity”.

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  • Part 14 – Too Much of a Compromise? Defining Classes for Creditor Compromise Approval

    Horner, James (2015)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In 2013, the Auckland High Court delivered New Zealand’s leading judgment on the compromise with creditors process set out in Part 14 of the Companies Act 1993. In particular, the Court considered the way in which different classes of creditors might be grouped together for the purposes of approving a compromise arrangement. This essay considers the cogency of the Court’s conclusion on the class issue. It concludes that the outcome was possibly incorrect and that the Part 14 process warrants some legislative clarification.

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  • Parasite Ecology and the Conservation Biology of Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

    Stringer, Andrew Paul (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis combines investigations of parasite ecology and rhinoceros conservation biology to advance our understanding and management of the host-parasite relationship for the critically endangered black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis). My central aim was to determine the key influences on parasite abundance within black rhinoceros, investigate the effects of parasitism on black rhinoceros and how they can be measured, and to provide a balanced summary of the advantages and disadvantages of interventions to control parasites within threatened host species. Two intestinal helminth parasites were the primary focus of this study; the strongyle nematodes and an Anoplocephala sp. tapeworm. The non-invasive assessment of parasite abundance within black rhinoceros is challenging due to the rhinoceros’s elusive nature and rarity. Hence, protocols for faecal egg counts (FECs) where defecation could not be observed were tested. This included testing for the impacts of time since defecation on FECs, and whether sampling location within a bolus influenced FECs. Also, the optimum sample size needed to reliably capture the variation in parasite abundance on a population level was estimated. To identify the key influences on parasite abundance, the black rhinoceros meta-population in South Africa presented an extraordinary and fortuitous research opportunity. Translocation and reintroduction have created multiple populations from the same two source populations, providing a variety of comparable populations with the same host-parasite relationship. I applied my population-level faecal sampling and egg count protocol to collect 160 samples from 18 black rhinoceros populations over two summer sampling periods between 2010 and 2012. I test hypotheses for the influence of a variety of ecological and abiotic factors on parasite abundance. To test for the influence of individual-level host characteristics on parasite abundance, such as age and sex, I collected rectal faecal samples at the translocation of 39 black rhinoceros. At that time I also investigated the influence of body condition on a variety of measures of host resources, such as the size of sexually selected characteristics. Finally I developed a logical and robust approach to debate whether parasites of threatened host species should be controlled. For faecal egg counts, samples taken from the centre of faecal boluses did not change significantly up to six hours after defecation. The only factor which significantly affected the size of confidence intervals of the mean parasite abundance for a host population for both parasite groups was the level of parasite aggregation. The accuracy of estimates of mean parasite abundance increased with increasing sample size, with >9 samples having little further effect on accuracy. As host defecation no longer needs to be observed the efficiency of fieldwork for studies investigating elusive host species is greatly increased. On a population level, host density was the leading model explaining the abundance of both a directly and an indirectly transmitted parasite. For instance, doubling host density led to a 47% rise in strongyle parasite abundance. I found no support for competing hypotheses, such as climate-related variables, that were thought to affect the abundance of free-living stages of macroparasites. This result will be useful to conservationists as it will allow them to predict where parasite abundance will be greatest and may also reveal potential avenues for parasite control. On an individual level, younger individuals may have harboured higher levels of parasitism (p = 0.07). This result would be widely supported by the literature, but a larger host age range is needed to verify the result. I identified four sexual dimorphisms, with anterior horn volume and circumference, and body size, all showing a sex difference in both the slope and intercept of regression lines. Although sexually selected traits are implicated as most vulnerable to parasite impacts, I did not find an influence of parasite abundance on the size of these potentially sexually-selected characteristics or other measures of body condition. This may be because of numerous different factors affecting host resources, of which the parasite groups studied are a relatively small proportion. Parasites can be an important cause of population decline in threatened species. However, the conservation of potentially threatened parasites within host species is rarely considered. Here, I debated the potential benefits and pitfalls of parasite control to help identify the principles behind parasite control within threatened species. I rank 11 identified different types of parasite control by their potentially detrimental effects on host populations and ecosystems. I conclude that as the risk a parasite poses to host extinction increases, so does the justification for using parasite control methods with potentially detrimental effects. Also, the extinction risk of the parasite should determine the need for dedicated parasite conservation programs. These principles may be predominantly intuitive, but there are a number of examples in the literature where they have not been used, such as the treatment of parasites with low levels of virulence in host species of ‘least concern’. The principles provide a framework for the adaptive implementation of parasite control strategies in conservation-reliant species, like rhinoceros. I embarked on the first multi-population and comparative study of host-parasite relationships in the critically endangered black rhinoceros. This was made possible by empirically testing and refining field sampling protocols to overcome concerns about sample identification, number, and age. Through these well-developed, efficient sampling methodologies I was able to determine that host density was the main influence on parasite abundance within black rhinoceros on a population level – a result not previously proven for macroparasites. Influences on individual level variation need further investigation. In particular genetic factors, such as inbreeding, were not researched as part of this study. I successfully identified a number of sexual dimorphisms, but found no evidence that they were influenced by individual parasite abundance. Finally I use a targeted review of the literature to propose some principles behind whether parasites should be controlled within threatened host species. These principles should allow conservation managers to focus resources on those situations where parasite control is needed, and also help conservation managers avoid the potentially detrimental effects of parasite control. In these ways this thesis has advanced the study and understanding of parasites, their ecology, and their relationship to conservation-reliant hosts.

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  • Life on Parole: Examining how the Quality of Parolees' Experiences after Release from Prison Contributes to Successful Re-entry

    Gwynne, Jessie (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Individuals who have spent time in prison face a multitude of challenges during the transition from prison to the community, including finding suitable accommodation, obtaining stable employment, and establishing prosocial support networks (Bucklen & Zajac, 2009; Kubrin & Stewart, 2006; Zamble & Quinsey, 1997). The cumulative impact of these challenges makes it difficult to achieve successful reintegration to the community, yet some men are able to survive the difficult re-entry process without reoffending. What differentiates men who reoffend after release from those who succeed in remaining conviction-free? The present research went some way towards answering this question by investigating how the quality of an individual’s experiences after release from prison relates to the likelihood that he will achieve successful re-entry. A comprehensive measure, named the Parole Experiences Measure (PEM), was developed to assess the type and quality of high-risk parolees’ experiences during re-entry. The PEM was then used to examine whether experiences in the first two months after release predicted both short-term recidivism (i.e., recidivism in the first two months after release) and slightly longer-term recidivism (i.e., recidivism in the first year after release). Three indices of recidivism were examined, varying in severity from breaching a parole condition to committing an offence that resulted in reimprisonment. Logistic regression analyses revealed that the PEM significantly predicted three indices of short-term recidivism, demonstrating that men who had poorer experiences on parole were more likely to fail quickly after release than those who had better experiences. Further, the PEM significantly predicted reconvictions in the first year following release, after controlling for possible confounding variables. Additional analyses explored the relative contribution of different aspects of an individual’s parole experiences to the prediction of recidivism. In general, factors related to individuals’ external circumstances (e.g., accommodation, finances, personal support) were predictive of recidivism over and above factors related to their subjective wellbeing (e.g., mental health, physical health). The findings of this research demonstrate that men who have better experiences after release from prison, particularly with regard to their external circumstances, are significantly more likely to successfully avoid recidivism within their first year in the community. To our knowledge, this study was one of the first methodologically rigorous studies to explore the relationship between the quality of re-entry experiences and recidivism in a sample of New Zealand men at high risk of reoffending.

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  • Revitalising the Heart: Addressing the vacant CBD of Rotorua

    Dittmer, Zakary (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The issue of abandoned retail stores is one that is evident throughout the country and at different scales throughout the world. The appearance leaves main streets and central business districts’ looking tired and run down and does little to benefit the local economy. The rise and demand of international retail corporations in provincial cities, has transformed inner city infrastructure. This combined with suburban sprawl has resulted in high building vacancies and poor community moral. Looking to new theories around Urban Interior Architecture, this research explores the boundary between internal and external design methods and pushes for a merger of the design disciplines to create a coherent spatial context. In order to repopulate the city, human focused design methods are explored to encourage social interactions, commercial activity and habitation of the many vacant sites. Through the use of site-specific design, Rotorua will be investigated to understand the reasoning for the abandoned stores and will look to the urban context to identify potential remedies to solve the neglect. The identity of Rotorua its Placemaking and Cultural Heritage of its people will inform the design response to bring the community back into the heart of the central city.

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  • Architecture as a Catalyst for Activity

    Tungatt, Rory (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Many of New Zealand’s smaller town centres struggle to remain viable. A common issue for these declining public realms is the hollowing out of their city centres. Numerous factors may contribute to this problem. Issues such as a lack of access, connectivity and identity within the urban fabric, or instances of privatisation, where forums that were once public have now shifted to a digital interface. One of the challenges facing cities is the diminishing number of “civic” buildings and activity located in the town centre. The Indoor Community Sports Centre (ICSC) offers a partial remedy for this problem. Even with the merging and downsizing of Council’s and their funding, Territorial Authorities continue to invest in ICSCs. This thesis investigates whether these buildings can make a positive contribution to the public domain of town centres. New Zealand ICSC’s, more often than not, are simple shed-like buildings on the periphery of cities or town centres, predominantly occupying or adjacent to large park areas, sports fields or schools. This thesis examines whether the building type can be adapted to become an “urban” building, where it will have the opportunity contribute to a revitalised town centre. A design case study based on Upper Hutt identifies three key design criteria established from initial research of Sports Centres and best-practice Urban Design. These three criteria – breaking up mass, active edges from the outside and creating a dynamic connection – allow the ICSC to become part of the civic realm. The research concludes that an ICSC can be successfully integrated into an “urban” context. In the Upper Hutt case study, success depends on two broader design strategies. First, the ICSC should be located in an area where walkability, functionality and visual and physical connectivity will benefit the public domain. Second, the ICSC should be part of a mixed-use development, which exploits the building type’s inherent flexibility. This is achieved through combining a transport hub, another essential civic amenity, as well as other commercial programmes that provide occupancy during periods of disuse. The thesis shows how a carefully adapted ICSC can turn a somewhat disconnected, hollowed out town into a functional, integrated and walkable one. The redesigned facility does so by linking existing amenities, feeding city-fringe activity back into the city centre and projecting a consciousness of place.

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  • Fads, Façade and Face of Building: A proposal for an urban university campus expansion

    Kuepper, Ann-Kathrin (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    “Transparency means a simultaneous perception of different spatial locations. Space not only recedes but fluctuates in a continuous activity” (Kepes). Universities in New Zealand are increasingly under scrutiny as sites of public investment. This presents a socio-political necessity for academic transparency, and visibility inevitably becomes a matter of architecture through the universities’ physical presence; the façade. Preoccupations with the aesthetics of a building’s envelope, and the pursuit of technological advancement, has led to a singular understanding of the façade as a mechanical boundary. This research challenges the hermetic nature of the contemporary façade and its legitimacy as a subject matter of architectural design within the overall architectural discourse. Drivers for this project include the need to revisit historical precedents, the ambivalence of the label ‘façade’, and a speculative siting as a campus expansion of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The design response to the site’s topography via the theory-charged, re-oriented, and as a heterogeneous space, and threshold redefined, façade enables a novel way of projecting a building’s image without depleting the façade’s autonomy. This is achieved through a rigorous iterative modelling methodology. That in turn provokes an ambitious urban campus complex scaling the site between Wellington city and Kelburn Campus. The architectural outcome provides a sophisticated symbolism of the meaning of University when moving through the campus expansion: one transitions from experiencing the visual indication of how learning occurs to the personal experience of it. A constant transparent process of reciprocal visibility, legibility, communication and understanding.

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  • Going all the way: The implications of life history and phenotype on reproductive success of the common triplefin, Forsterygion lapillum

    Moginie, Benjamin (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Identifying sources of variation in individual reproductive success is crucial to our understanding of population dynamics and evolutionary ecology. In many systems, the determinants of success are not well known. Where species have parental care, for example, determinants of success can be particularly challenging to partition between parents and offspring. In this thesis I investigate drivers and consequences of variable life histories, for a small reef fish that exhibits male parental care (the common triplefin Forsterygion lapillum). I examined the influence of individual life history, phenotype and behaviour on (1) the performance of recently settled juveniles, and (2) the reproductive success adult males. I made field-based observations of adult males during the breeding season, measured their phenotypic traits (body size and condition) and used their otoliths to reconstruct life history characteristics (hatch dates and mean growth rates). My life history trait reconstructions suggested two alternate pathways to ’success’ for adult males. Successful males hatched earlier and therefore had a developmental ’head start’ over less successful males (i.e., males with eggs > male territory holders without eggs > floaters). Alternatively, males can apparently achieve success by growing faster: for males born in the same month, those with eggs grew faster than those with territories and no eggs, and both groups grew faster than floaters. These results suggest that accelerated growth rate may mediate the effects of a later hatch date, and that both hatch dates and growth rates influence the success of adult males, likely through proximate effects on individual phenotypes. Identifying sources of variation in individual reproductive success is crucial to our understanding of population dynamics and evolutionary ecology. In many systems, the determinants of success are not well known. Where species have parental care, for example, determinants of success can be particularly challenging to partition between parents and offspring. Male parental care is common among fishes, where resources such as high quality territories and mates often may be limiting. In such systems, individual success of offspring may result from distinct life history pathways that are influenced by both parental effects (e.g., timing of reproduction) and by the offspring themselves (e.g., ’personalities’). These pathways, in turn, can induce phenotypic variation and affect success later in life. The drivers and consequences of variable life histories are not well understood in the context of reproductive success. In this thesis I investigate drivers and consequences of variable life histories, for a small reef fish that exhibits male parental care (the common triplefin Forsterygion lapillum). I examined the influence of individual life history, phenotype and behaviour on (1) the performance of recently settled juveniles, and (2) the reproductive success adult males. I made field-based observations of adult males during the breeding season, measured their phenotypic traits (body size and condition) and used their otoliths to reconstruct life history characteristics (hatch dates and mean growth rates). Some males showed no evidence of territorial defence and were defined as ’floaters’; others defended territories, and a subset of these also had nests with eggs present. Adult male body size was significantly higher for males that defended breeding territories, and body condition was significantly higher for the males that had eggs (i.e., had successfully courted females). My otolith-based reconstructions of life history traits suggested two alternate pathways to ’success’ for adult males. Successful males hatched earlier and therefore had a developmental ’head start’ over less successful males (i.e., males with eggs > male territory holders without eggs > floaters). Alternatively, males can apparently achieve success by growing faster: for males born in the same month, those with eggs grew faster than those with territories and no eggs, and both groups grew faster than floaters. These results suggest that accelerated growth rate may mediate the effects of a later hatch date, and that both hatch dates and growth rates influence the success of adult males, likely through proximate effects on individual phenotypes. I evaluated the effects of variable life history in a complimentary lab-based study. Specifically, I manipulated the developmental environments (feeding regime and temperature) for young fish and evaluated the direct effects on life history traits and phenotypes. Then, I conducted an assay to quantify the indirect effects of developmental environment, life history traits, and phenotypes on aggression and performance of young fish. These developmental environments did not have a clear, overall effect on juvenile phenotype or performance (i.e. behavioural aggression and the ability to dominate a resource). Instead, individuals (irrespective of developmental environment) that grew faster and/or longer pelagic larval durations had increased odds of dominating a limited resource. I attributed the non-significant direct effect of developmental environment to within-treatment mortality and variation among individuals in terms of their realised access to food (i.e., dominance hierarchies were apparent in rearing chambers, suggesting a non-uniform access to food). Fish that were more likely to dominate a resource were also more aggressive (i.e., more likely to engage in chasing behaviours). Fish that were larger and more aggressive established territories that were deemed to be of higher ’quality’ (inferred from percent cover of cobble resources). Overall, this study suggests a complex interplay between social systems, phenotype and life history. Developmental environments may influence phenotypes, although behavioural differences among individuals may moderate that effect, contributing to additional variation in phenotypes and life history traits which, in turn, shape the success of individuals. Collectively, my thesis emphasises the consequences of life history variability on success at multiple life stages. These results may be relevant to other species that exhibit male parental care or undergo intense competition for space during early life stages. In addition, my results highlight interactions between life history, phenotype and behaviour that can have important implications for population dynamics and evolutionary ecology.

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  • Is the fixed ball in our courts? The criminalisation of match-fixing under the Crimes (Match-Fixing) Amendment Act 2014

    Fookes, Zane (2015)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In sport, match-fixing occurs when the result or a particular part of a match is manipulated, removing the uncertainty integral to sporting contests. Match-fixing was criminalised by the New Zealand legislature in the Crimes (Match-Fixing) Amendment Act 2014. This amendment introduces the Crimes Act 1961, s 240A, which expands the definition of ‘deception’ under s 240 to include match-fixing. The amendment legislation was enacted with a number of laudable aims, primarily focused on protecting the integrity of sport, which this paper believes justified the criminalisation of match-fixing. Such criminalisation can be seen as consistent with other behaviours criminalised in the sporting sphere. However, a number of lacunas discussed in the paper demonstrate that the legislation was not comprehensive in achieving the aims that justified the criminalisation of match-fixing. The paper therefore recommends expanding the legislation, influenced particularly by the specificity of equivalent Australian legislation, and drafts a more comprehensive match-fixing provision that aspires to both remedy the lacunas of the Crimes (Match-Fixing) Amendment Act 2014 and better reflect the legislature’s aims in criminalising match-fixing.

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  • What we talk about when we talk about a principle of indemnity: The principle of indemnity in light of Ridgecrest NZ Ltd v IAG New Zealand Ltd

    Ginders, Kasia (2015)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    When the Supreme Court discussed the principle of indemnity in Ridgecrest New Zealand Ltd v IAG New Zealand Ltd, it referred to it as ‘awkward’ in the context of a replacement policy. The application of the indemnity principle in the case raises further questions about the nature of the principle in insurance contracts. It is submitted that the indemnity principle is currently enforceable not as a legal test or as a policy-based presumption; rather, it is applicable mostly because it is presumed the parties intended it to apply. While some policy arguments underlying the principle can be made, these are less relevant than they once were. The rationales and rules of, exceptions to, and law reform concerning the principle are considered in this paper in order to evaluate the status of the principle. Conclusions are drawn from analysis of these elements and in light of Ridgecrest and two other cases from 2014, one in the Court of Appeal and another in the Supreme Court.

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  • Fighting a problem with the problematic: Section 98A and its use against organised crime in New Zealand

    McKeefry, Francis (2015)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Since its conception in 1998, an average of just 21% of offenders charged under s 98A have been convicted. This is much lower than the average for all criminal charges (78%). This paper firstly focuses on the difficulties of defining ‘organised crime’ before examining the context in which s 98A was created in 1998 and later amended. This examination highlights that s 98A has mixed conceptual origins. The paper then identifies two factors which may be contributing to s 98A’s low conviction rate. 1) the burden on the prosecution to establish the criminal group’s common prohibited objective is difficult to satisfy, and often requires the prosecution to establish another substantive offence; and 2) s 98A is regarded as a subsidiary offence which is often withdrawn. A number of factors which increase the likelihood of the charges being withdrawn are submitted. The paper concludes that any benefits stemming from s 98A in an evidence gathering and efficiency enhancing capacity do not quell the perception that s 98A is a problematic provision.

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  • Bleak House and the Demise of Chancery: A Case Study in the Relationship between Fictional Literature and Legal Reform

    Simkiss, Thomas (2015)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This paper explores the relationship between fictional literature and law reform through the treatment of the Court of Chancery in Charles Dickens’s 1852-183 novel Bleak House. It offers a reading of the novel as a law reform narrative which presents a coherent picture of the state of the law as it is and an imaginative alternative for its future. The Chancery represented in the novel is mythologised and symbolic rather than strictly historically accurate, and this enables Dickens to reveal its problematic essence as a morally bankrupt and bankrupting institution. The solution the novel puts forward is two-fold: calling for its readers to participate personally in an ethic of equity and for lawmakers to reconfigure the court in a way which encourages such an ethic in its participants. Although the novel did not have a noticeable effect on the historical process of Chancery reform, it did contribute a new and counter-cultural normative vision of reform, and impacted on its readership at an individual level.

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