22,935 results for Thesis

  • Social capital and the budgeting process

    Frost, Denise Margaret (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This thesis arose out of a previous study of budgeting practices carried out at a not-for-profit church. This initial study had found that relationships played an important role in budgeting practices. Interviewees carried out their budgetary tasks in a cooperative, sometimes sacrificial manner. This relationship-based approach to budgeting was inconsistent with conventional approaches to budgeting. It became apparent that budgeting practices in this church could be explained by social capital theory, and that budgeting could be viewed as a social phenomenon. I began to question whether considering budgeting as a social process might also apply to profit-orientated organisations. As part of this thesis, I approached two different for-profit organisations: an entertainment centre; and, a science testing laboratory. Along with the church examined previously, both of these organisations agreed to participate in this investigation into the social aspects of their budgeting processes. An interpretive methodology was adopted to study budgeting practices from the viewpoint of managers. Social capital was a sensitising theoretical perspective, and was viewed as a ‘skeletal theory’; in particular, I was drawn to a model of social capital proposed by Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998). Nahapiet and Ghoshal’s (1998) social capital framework was chosen as it was pertinent to examining the influence of social capital on the budgeting process. It came as a surprise to find that elements of Nahapiet and Ghoshal’s framework were in evidence in all three organisations. In the three case study organisations, budgeting was found to be a social process which can be explained by social capital theory. In contrast to the beyond budgeting proponents, who claim budgeting is redundant, this thesis has found that the budgeting process constitutes an investment of managers’ time and energy, because it encourages and promotes social capital. The budgeting process brought managers together to work cooperatively towards a commonly understood goal. Budgeting encouraged social interaction and fostered relationship building. Organisational norms and values were reinforced. Despite the differences between the three organisations, the common feature was that the budgeting process encouraged and reinforced social capital. This thesis has implications for other researchers. It provides a new insight into budgeting. It contributes to the qualitative budgeting literature by providing a contemporary view of the way social forces influence the budgeting process. It advances the literature on church budgeting. It adds to the social capital literature by adapting Nahapiet and Ghoshal’s (1998) framework of social capital to a context not previously studied – the budgeting process. There are implications for policymakers involved in setting budget-related policy in organisations, and for practitioners, as this thesis highlights the importance of the social side of the budgeting process.

    View record details
  • The relationships among students' conceptions of equality and achievement

    Anakin, Megan Grayce (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Equality is a key concept in the mathematics curriculum at primary school. Conceptions of equality of primary students have been identified by mathematics education researchers. The relationships among students’ conceptions of equality and students’ achievement in mathematics, however, have not received the same degree of attention. These relationships are generally characterised dichotomously as either correct structural conceptions or incorrect misconceptions. To explore these relationships further, national assessment data were examined from a perspective that emphasised the mathematical structure expressed by primary students as they solved three additive arithmetic missing number problems. As expected, a greater proportion of older students expressed appropriate conceptions of equality than younger students and these conceptions were associated with higher levels of achievement. At both year levels, however, students’ conceptions of equality were also found to be contingent on a student’s mathematical achievement and the mathematical structure of problem. Therefore, the relationships among students’ conceptions of equality and student’s mathematical achievement appear to be more diverse and complex than previously documented and theorised. In particular, the framework has been expanded to include procedural, competing, structural-but-tacit, and structural-and-explicit conceptions of equality. The findings of this study can be used by mathematics education researchers to expand the theoretical framework that describes the relationships among students’ conceptions of equality and achievement. Findings will also be of interest to educators because they may wonder why so many students’ appear to struggle with the concept of equality. Although it appears that certain conceptions of equality act as barriers for students to interpret the mathematical structure of problems appropriately, other conceptions appear to act as gateways for students to appreciate advanced relationships that are possible, given the mathematical structure of the problems. Findings suggest that it is not only the quantity of mathematical knowledge a student has, but it is the quality of the connections between procedural and conceptual knowledge that allows them to solve problems with the concept of equality successfully.

    View record details
  • Geographic Vector Agents from Pixels to Intelligent Processing Units

    Borna, Kambiz (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Spatial modelling methods usually utilise pixels and image objects as the fundamental processing unit to address real-world objects (geo-objects) in image space. To do this, both pixel-based and object-based approaches typically employ a linear two-staged workflow of segmentation and classification. Pixel-based methods often segment a classified image to address geo-objects in image space. In contrast, object-based approaches classify a segmented image to determine geo-objects. These methods lack the ability to simultaneously integrate the geometry and theme of geo-objects in image space. This thesis explores Vector Agents (VA) as an automated and intelligent processing unit to directly address real-world objects in the image space. A VA, is an object that can represent (non)dynamic and (ir)regular vector boundaries (Moore, 2011; Hammam et al., 2007). This aim is achieved by modelling geometry, state, and temporal changes of geo-objects in spatial space. To reach this aim, we first defined and formulated the main components of the VA, including geometry, state and neighbourhood, and their respective rules in accordance with the properties of raster datasets (e.g. satellite images), as a representation of a geographical space (the Earth). The geometry of the VA was formulated according to a directional planar graph that includes a set of spatial reasoning relationships and geometric operators, in order to implement a set of dynamic geometric behaviours, such as growing, joining or splitting. Transition rules were defined by using a classifier (e.g. Support Vector Machines (SVMs)), a set of image analysis operators (e.g. edge detection, median filter), and the characteristics of the objects in real world. VAs used the transition rules in order to find and update their states in image space. The proximity between VAs was explicitly formulated according to the minimum distance between VAs in image space. These components were then used to model the main elements of our software agent (e.g. geo-objects), namely sensors, effectors, states, rules and strategies. These elements allow a VA to perceive its environment, change its geometry and interact with other VAs to evolve inconsistency together with their thematic meaning. It also enables VAs to adjust their thematic meaning based on changes in their own attributes and those of their neighbours. We then tested this concept by using the VA to extract geo-objects from different types of raster datasets (e.g. multispectral and hyperspectral images). The results of the VA model confirmed that: (a) The VA is flexible enough to integrate thematic and geometric components of geo-objects in order to extract them directly from image space, and (b) The VA has sufficient capability to be applied in different areas of image analysis. We discuss the limitations of this work and present the possible solutions in the last chapter.

    View record details
  • Glycaemic response to varying the proportions of starchy foods and non-starchy vegetables within a meal: A randomised controlled trial

    Martin, Kate Elizabeth (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Glycaemic response is an important contributor to glycaemic control and is positively associated with the risk of developing diabetic complications. As it is largely determined by the type and amount of carbohydrate consumed, manipulating carbohydrate intake may have the potential to modify glycaemic response. Current guidelines recommend that one quarter of your plate contains starchy carbohydrate foods, one quarter protein based foods and the remaining half non-starchy vegetables. It is unsure to what extent altering the proportions of starchy foods and non-starchy vegetables within a meal will affect glycaemic response. Objective: To examine the effect on glycaemic response in non-diabetic people of varying the proportions of a starchy carbohydrate food and non-starchy vegetables within a meal. Design: Randomised controlled crossover trial Methods: Over three separate testing days 74 healthy young adults consumed three test meals with varying proportions of starchy carbohydrate foods (30g, 45g, 60g available carbohydrate from either pasta or rice) and non-starchy vegetables. A gram for gram substitution of pasta or rice for non-starchy vegetables was used so as the total weight of each meal remained the same. Participants were randomised to receive either three pasta-based meals or three rice-based meals. Postprandial glycaemic response was measured by finger prick blood samples over a 90-minute period following the consumption of each test meal. Results: Glycaemic response, measured by incremental area under the curve (iAUC) glucose, and 90-minute blood glucose concentration increased as the proportion of pasta or rice within the meal increased and the proportion of non-starchy vegetables decreased (p<0.001, respectively) yet no difference for the medium meals (p=0.243). Conclusion: It is recommended that people follow the current plate model guidelines as the meal with the smallest proportion of pasta or rice (30g or quarter of a plate) and the largest proportion of non-starchy vegetables (half a plate) induced the greatest attenuation in glycaemic response.

    View record details
  • Prevalence of New Zealand High School Athletes at Risk of Low Energy Availability using the LEANZ Questionnaire: A Feasibility Study

    Ireland, Stacey (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: When energy intake is insufficient to cover the energy cost of exercise and physiological functioning, a state of Low Energy Availability (LEA) is entered. This has negative effects on an athlete’s health and performance, including bone health, menstrual function, immunity, and cardiovascular disease. High school athletes have been found to be at risk of LEA, however, the prevalence of adolescents at risk in New Zealand is unknown. Objective: The aims of this study are to determine if male and female New Zealand high school athletes are at risk of LEA, and provide information on the recruitment logistics and ease of collecting data from high school athletes. Design: Eligible participants aged 16 to 18 years (20 male, nine female) were recruited from high schools around New Zealand who engaged in at least 75 minutes of physical activity per week. Participants attended two clinic visits to provide blood, urine and saliva samples, and completed an anonymous online questionnaire containing 98 questions, including the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire (LEAF-Q) and sections from the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI-3). Between the clinic visits, participants completed a three-day weighed food record and wore an accelerometer. This study used participant’s LEAF-Q answers to classify them as at risk or not at risk of LEA. Results: For the high school athletes who completed the questionnaire, 43.5% were found to be at risk of LEA. Analysis of the food records and calculated energy expenditure resulted in 52.6% of those who completed the study estimated to be in a state of LEA. Conclusion: This study highlights that adolescent athletes in New Zealand are at risk of LEA. It also highlighted difficulties in accessing and obtaining data from high school athletes. Despite this, the results from this study support the notion that further research into LEA in this population is required, however, all data should be collected in the presence of researchers where possible, and timing of research around school activities needs to be carefully considered.

    View record details
  • A Kitchen-Based Validation of the Food Skills Component of a Food Literacy Questionnaire in New Zealand Children

    Govan, Alexandra Mary (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Food literacy is a recently developed concept which has emerged as a means to combat the rise in obesity and diet-related disease. Its purpose is to arm the public with a wide range of skills, knowledge and behaviours which are crucial to safely navigate today’s food environment. In 2015, a questionnaire was developed to measure the food literacy of New Zealand children, consisting of three components: food origins, food and nutrition knowledge and food skills. Of these three components, food skills are a practical skill which can be empirically validated, making it possible to ascertain whether the food literacy questionnaire accurately measures children’s food skills. Aim: To validate the food skills section of an online food literacy questionnaire, by comparing results from the food skills section of the food literacy questionnaire to practical food skills measured in a kitchen environment. Methods: A sample of 30 Year 6 children from two Dunedin schools were recruited. The participants initially completed the online food literacy questionnaire during school time, which was followed by participating in an hour-long food skills session one week later. The food skills sessions involved participants completing six ‘stations’ which assessed a range of food skills. These stations included: making a mini pizza, peeling and chopping a carrot, choosing the three main ingredients used in spaghetti bolognese, identifying foods that require cooking before consumption, boiling pasta until it is cooked, adjusting and following a pikelet recipe, and making porridge from an individual sachet by following the packet instructions. The results from the food skills sessions were then compared to the children’s results from the food skills section of the food literacy questionnaire. Results: The mean score from the food skills section of the food literacy questionnaire was 77%, and the mean score from the food skills session was 78%. The overall correlation between the food skills section of the food literacy questionnaire and the food skills session was 0.82 (p-value <0.001), indicating a high correlation. When participant scores were split into tertiles, 70% of participants were correctly classified in the lower tertile, and 60% in the higher tertile; only 10% of participants were grossly misclassified. Conclusion: The food skills section of the food literacy questionnaire is a valid measure of food literacy in Year 6 New Zealand children. It can correctly measure children’s food skills, as shown by an overall correlation of 0.82. The methodology of this research could be a useful tool for measuring children’s food skills in possible future food skills interventions and adopted to evaluate the effectiveness of these interventions.

    View record details
  • Food Literacy in New Zealand School Children: Nutrition Knowledge

    Russell, Kristina Louise (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Obesity rates in both children and adults have increased in recent decades in New Zealand. Changes in lifestyle and environment have meant that the frequency of convenience food consumption has increased and food skills and knowledge are often not passed down to younger generations. Food literacy is a new term encompassing the knowledge, skills, and behaviours needed to prepare and consume healthy foods. Developing food literacy in children is critical to slowing the rates of childhood obesity.To date, there is no data measuring how food literate children are in New Zealand. Objective: To measure the food literacy of a sample of Year 6 children in New Zealand Design: Cross-sectional observational study in three urban centres Method: A previously validated online 37-item questionnaire comprised of 7 food origin, 15 nutrition knowledge, and 15 food skill questions, plus 7 demographic questions was used to measure food literacy. Schools in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington were randomly selected and Year 6 children invited to participate. During school hours, children completed the questionnaire either on iPads or personal devices and had their height and weight measured. A marking schedule was developed and used for scoring the questionnaire; each question had a total score of 1. Mean scores for each question and section were determined and analysed to identify the food literacy strengths and weaknesses of the children. Results: Children from 44 schools in Christchurch (n=198), Auckland (n=331) and Wellington (n=329) participated for a final sample size of 858 children. Children scored an average of 66% percent overall and 56% in the 1 nutrition knowledge section. Children displayed good knowledge with regard to interpreting food labelling (0.83/1.00) and common nutrition messages (0.75/1.00), as well as the knowledge of food groups (0.74/1.00). Lowest scoring areas were the awareness of dietary guidelines (0.25/1.00) and the knowledge of sugar content in diet cola (0.16/1.00). Conclusion: This is the first study to measure the food literacy of New Zealand children. These results can be used to guide future education programmes, however, they need to be interpreted with caution, as the sample contained a high proportion of children of “New Zealand European and Other” ethnicity from high decile schools. The focus of future interventions should be to increase children’s ability to identify healthy options and build on the demonstrated strength of label reading to aid this.

    View record details
  • Effect of long-term exercise training on zinc status: A systematic review

    Varma, Trishala (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Zinc is an essential trace element with many functions in the body, including energy metabolism, immunity and antioxidant activity. Regular exercise is a common recommendation for the prevention of chronic diseases, with irrefutable benefits. Zinc has a central role in exercise, however some groups of active individuals have suboptimal zinc status. Effects of short-term exercise on zinc status have been well documented, however effects of long-term exercise training on zinc status in the literature have been conflicting. Objective: To evaluate the effects of long-term exercise on zinc status, in trained compared to untrained groups. Design: We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed articles up to January 28, 2016 to identify studies that investigated effects of long-term exercise training on zinc status. Results: Six studies were included in the systematic review. Serum zinc did not display consistent results in the included studies in response to exercise training. There was a greater increase in urinary zinc excretion, erythrocyte zinc, dietary zinc intake and the activity of copper-zinc-superoxide dismutase in some groups undergoing exercise training, compared to the control group. Conclusion: The present review indicates that some zinc markers exemplify that there is a change in zinc homeostasis that occurs with exercise training. Further research is required to determine if these fluctuations warrant a change in dietary requirements for active individuals, and to allow dietitians to create best possible intervention plans for optimal health and/or physical performance.

    View record details
  • Where is Craft located? : conversations about work, home and history : an ethnography with artisans in Telangana, India.

    Bose, Chandan (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis is based on ethnographic fieldwork with a family of artisans in the Telangana state of southern India, who are skilled at crafting the region’s style of murals, masks and figurines and etiological scrolls. Specifically, centred on the question, ‘where can one locate craft?’ the following ethnography situates as its point of departure existing scholarship which construct the different epistemological sites within which Craft as a category emerges. By dwelling upon narratives of practitioners about the organization of everyday life around the practice, and the history of the familial studio, this dissertation attempts to read the critical language which practitioners assemble together in order to negotiate with these epistemic frames. Effectively my doctoral dissertation looks at the way in which the practice of craft is not located within a defined universe of internally organized meanings and relationships waiting to be explored by the anthropologist. This project is in fact a step towards exploring the language within which practice, and the histories and artefacts which it fashions, emerge. The language could be derived from collective memory which have been inscribed by the geographical, temporal, metaphysical and philosophical terrains which rules of a practice trace. The language is generated within the way in which the artisan experiences the relationship between materials and tools, and the way in which this experience is historicized. The language could be appropriated and reproduced through imaginations of self and personhood, articulated through the way in which relations between kin are constructed and deconstructed in craft practices. The language emerges as practitioners, in an attempt to express desire for the nation-state, dismantle, interrogate and re-narrate the fixity and actuality of heritage and regional belongingness. The language evolves with the way in which the practitioners have come to co-author the way in which conditions of material realities of production, consumption and circulation that have altered within a global market. This dissertation warrants the abandonment of a privileged site or absolute centre where the practice of craft can be located. Rather it proposes a certain reading of craft, namely as a network everyday practices, relationships and language within which artisans situate themselves to express their capacity to imagine and act on those possibilities.

    View record details
  • A Clinical and Sonographic Investigation of the First Metatarsophalangeal Joint in Gout and Asymptomatic Hyperuricaemia: A Comparison With Normouricaemic Individuals

    Stewart, Sarah

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Background: Although hyperuricaemia is required for the development of symptomatic gout, many individuals with hyperuricaemia remain asymptomatic. However, ultrasonography has identified urate deposition in people with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia. Urate crystal deposition and gout-related features have a certain propensity for the first metatarsophalangeal joint (1MTP). Despite the importance of normal structure and function of the 1MTP, it is unclear how this joint is impaired in people with gout and asymptomatic hyperuricaemia and whether this relates to underlying sonographic pathology. This thesis aimed to (i) identify clinical characteristics and (ii) sonographic features of the 1MTP in participants with gout and participants with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia; and (iii) determine the association between clinical and sonographic characteristics of the 1MTP while accounting for the diagnostic group. Methods: This two-arm cross-sectional study involved participants with gout (n = 23), asymptomatic hyperuricaemia (n = 29), and age- and sex-matched normouricaemic controls (n = 34) without acute arthritis at the time of assessment. Clinically assessed characteristics included patient-reported outcomes related to foot and lower limb pain, disability and impairment; 1MTP structural and functional characteristics including joint range of motion (ROM), muscle force, hallux valgus severity and foot posture; neurovascular characteristics including temperature, vibration perception and protective sensation; and dynamic outcomes including spatiotemporal gait characteristics and barefoot plantar pressure measurements. Ultrasonography was used to assess 1MTPs for the double contour sign, tophus, erosion, effusion, synovial hypertrophy, snowstorm, synovitis and cartilage thickness. Results: All participants were middle-aged men. Compared to controls, participants with gout reported greater 1MTP pain (P = 0.014), greater foot pain and disability (MFPDI) (P < 0.001), decreased lower limb function for daily living (P = 0.002) and recreational (P< 0.001), reduced plantarflexion force (P = 0.012), increased 1MTP temperature (P < 0.05), more loss of protective sensation (OR 15.6, P = 0.21) and more severe hallux valgus (OR 0.3 P = 0.041). Compared to controls, participants with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia had more disabling foot pain (OR 4.2, P = 0.013), increased activity limitation (P = 0.033), decreased lower limb function for daily living (P = 0.026) and recreational (P = 0.010) activities, increased 1MTP plantarflexion force (P = 0.004) and a more pronated foot posture (P = 0.036). Compared to controls, participants with gout demonstrated increased step time (P = 0.022) and stance time (P = 0.022), and reduced velocity (P = 0.050). Participants with gout also walked with decreased peak pressure at the heel (P = 0.012) and hallux (P = 0.036) and increased peak pressure (P < 0.001) and pressure time integrals (P = 0.005) at the midfoot. Compared to controls, participants with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia demonstrated increased support base (P = 0.002), double support time (P < 0.001) and cadence (P = 0.028), and reduced swing time (P = 0.019) and single support time (P = 0.020), as well as increased pressure at the midfoot (P = 0.013), first metatarsal (P = 0.015) and second metatarsal (P = 0.007). Compared to controls, participants with gout and asymptomatic hyperuricaemia had more double contour sign (odds ratio [OR] 3.91, P = 0.011 and OR 3.81, P = 0.009, respectively). Participants with gout also had more erosion (OR 10.13, P = 0.001) and synovitis (OR 9.00, P < 0.001) and had greater tophus and erosion diameters (P = 0.035 and P < 0.001, respectively). The double contour sign was associated with higher MFPDI scores (P < 0.001). Tophus was associated with higher MFPDI scores (P < 0.001), increased temperature (P = 0.005) and reduced walking velocity (P = 0.001). Conclusions: This study has shown that urate deposition, synovitis and bone erosion are common at the 1MTP in participants with gout, even in the absence of acute arthritis. Participants with gout also demonstrated 1MTP-specific changes indicative of subclinical inflammation. Although individuals with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia lack ultrasound features of inflammation or bone changes, they demonstrate a similar frequency of urate deposition. They also report high levels of foot- and lower limb-related pain and disability. Sonographic features of urate deposition, rather than soft tissue inflammation or erosion, are associated with patient-reported foot pain and disability, while the presence of tophus is associated with impaired functional characteristics.

    View record details
  • Tastes Political: An Interpretive Analysis of the Foodie Lifeworld in Contemporary New Zealand

    Watts, Jennie

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The aim of my research is to make sense of foodie activity in New Zealand, and locate that activity in the socio-cultural sphere – the foodie ‘lifeworld’ (Habermas, 1984). This research explores the foodie phenomenon and the ways that foodie activity intersects with lifestyle movements. The lifestyle movement is a contemporary form of social movement based in the kind of day-to-day lived experience that is informed by notions of principled consumption. My approach to the research is based in the interpretive paradigm: I sought to locate and unpack the layered meanings that foodies form about their food activities. I established two questions to guide the research. The first question investigates the underlying a priori purposes to foodie activity. The second investigates the intersection between local foodie practices and political movements. To begin I explore the literature in three subject areas. The first is food politics and the role of nostalgia in shaping belief about the food lifeworld. The second area of literature is New Zealand’s social and cultural history, including the evolution of the New Zealand culinary scene, an examination of utopian impulses in the creation of the country, and a review of the forms of activism that New Zealanders are familiar with and engage in. The third area of literature is social movement and subculture studies and the intersection of the two, which is an emerging area of scholarship. Drawing together these rich fields of scholarship assists in the framing of the foodie lifeworld and begins to answer the research questions. To complement the review of literature and gain an empirical understanding of the foodie lifeworld, I undertake semi-structured interviews with self-identifying foodies and thematically analyse the resulting data. The most significant of my findings is that foodies are participants in an emerging form of social movement, the ‘lifestyle movement’, which is located at the intersection of social movement and subcultural phenomena. Food is, for these foodies, about much more than taste. Rather, food is the site of three realms of behaviour: pleasure, thought, and care, based on their antecedent convictions about food and the responsibility they feel as politically engaged consumers. In contrast to previous research into foodies, the concept of distinction (Bourdieu, 1984) is barely present in the foodie lifeworld. Instead, foodies behave in ways that align with their values in relation to food. The foodies enact these values in their day-to-day lives. Furthermore, foodies have a heightened sense of the provenance of food and, in that respect, can be considered “situated eaters” (Leynse, 2006). In my discussion of the findings I describe foodiness as a quasi-religious meaning system (Brinkerhoff & Jacob, 1999) that features elements of religion, including faith and righteousness, humility, bounded liberty, and opportunities for salvation. And lastly, I draw a comparison between the lifeworld of the New Zealand foodie and the principles of the Arts & Crafts movement of the late 19th–early 20th century, and find that the foundations of each have much in common, including a utopian impulse and disinclination toward industrial processing.

    View record details
  • Unravelling Genome Structure and Function through Experimentally Informed Polymer Models

    Pichugina, Tatyana (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    The genome is the primary information storage system of the cell. However, it is not fully established how eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes are organized and function within cells. To fill this gap I used experimentally informed polymer models to reconstruct the 3D structures of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Escherichia coli genomes. I generated 3D models of the E. coli chromosome that were non-specifically compressed within cells. These models have shown that at the scales of several kb the E. coli chromosome organization cannot be described as random chromosome packing, while at scales starting from several tens of kb the E. coli chromosome is highly mixed and entangled. The polymer models of the S. pombe genome provided evidence that chromosomal interactions, detected by conformation capture experiments, play a structural role in S. pombe genome organization. I used ensembles of the S. pombe genome structures to construct 3D maps of genes, epigenetic marks, and replication origins. The 3D maps demonstrated that the S. pombe genome is highly compartmentalized. I found that highly transcribed genes and active epigenetic marks (H3K4me) are preferentially located toward the S. pombe nuclear interior, and inactive epigenetic mark (H3K9me) towards the nuclear periphery. The 3D maps of genetic elements that I generated represent a significant step towards the development of unified models for spatial gene regulation, DNA repair and replication.

    View record details
  • Second language development, language learning motivation and language learning opportunities: A longitudinal case study of German high school exchange students in New Zealand

    Sauer, Luzia (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This thesis reports longitudinal case studies of three female German high school exchange students in New Zealand. The students had advanced English proficiency levels at the beginning of their 5.5 month stay and were part of a large cohort of fee-paying international students who shared the same first language (L1) in the high schools where they chose to study. The study combines a detailed analysis of the students L2 development along with an analysis of the learners??? language learning motivation, the social contexts in which they operated and the opportunities that these afforded for language learning. The data collected consisted of weekly diary entries, monthly reports, and six individual audio-recordings of monthly semi-structured interviews. A qualitative data analysis was performed to scrutinize the students??? motivation and language learning opportunities as evidenced in their self-reports. A quantitative data analysis was carried out to capture developmental patterns in speech performance, using various measures of L2 complexity, accuracy, and fluency. Language learning opportunities were dynamically constructed between the students and their socio-cultural environment and were unique for each student. The students??? involvement in their L1 communities presented a challenge to the creation of L2 learning opportunities. Each student???s motivation was affected by a complex interaction between their goals, identities, and agency, and their perceptions of their L2 communities. The efforts they expended varied and were most clearly evident in social groups that gave them access and validated their sense of self. The students??? L2 development was non-linear and differed individually. Only the results for fluency were consistent, pointing to overall improvements. Findings for accuracy and complexity varied. Some trends, such as a decrease in lexical complexity, have not typically been observed in previous SA studies. A key finding was that the students??? L2 development was characterized by their adaption to the speech patterns of their native speaker interlocutors over time. The thesis provides a detailed, longitudinal account of the motivational and linguistic processes that characterize study abroad, providing insight into how and why learners perform differently in seemingly identical contexts of learning, and in this way adds to the existing literature on study abroad.

    View record details
  • Cytisine concentration-effect relationships in human smokers

    Jeong, Soo (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Cytisine is a plant alkaloid that is a partial agonist for the ??4??2-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and is used as a smoking cessation medication (Tabex??). Double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trials show that cytisine is more effective than placebo in achieving long-term, continuous abstinence from smoking. At the start of this PhD there was no published information on the pharmacokinetics and metabolism of cytisine in humans or indeed, whether there is any relationship between cytisine exposure and effect. The main aims of this thesis were therefore: to obtain basic pharmacokinetic data for cytisine in humans, to study the effects of cytisine on physiological and psychological measures in smokers and to explore whether these effects could be related to the plasma concentrations of cytisine in human smokers who were instructed to adhere to the standard dosing regimen of Tabex?? In order to study the human metabolism and pharmacokinetics of cytisine, a sensitive analytical method using mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was developed and validated. This method was used to support the subsequent pharmacokinetic studies. In the first study, seven participants took a single dose (3 mg) of Tabex?? and blood samples were collected at various times up to 24 hours. Cytisine plasma concentrations were measured. In the second study, another set of participants (n=11) took Tabex?? using the standard 25-day dosing regimen recommended by the manufacturer. Blood samples were collected and cigarette craving, withdrawal, mood and smoking satisfaction were measured using self-report methods validated in the literature. Following a single dose administration, cytisine peak plasma concentrations typically occurred at 2 hours. Following this, cytisine concentrations declined in a monophasic manner with a mean half-life of 4.8 hours. No metabolites were detected. In the second study, accumulation of cytisine in plasma was observed on day 1. However, with the recommended dosing regimen, cytisine does not reach steady state concentration in plasma. There was also large between-subject variability in cytisine pharmacokinetics. Cytisine appeared to reduce cigarette cravings, but there did not appear to be a simple relationship between craving and cytisine plasma concentration. In summary, this thesis presents the first reported human cytisine pharmacokinetic data. The information gained from these studies may be used to inform the design of future trials that explore different dosing regimens of cytisine.

    View record details
  • Ghosts in the System: The Shaping of Professional Identities within the Organizational Culture(s) of a Private Training Establishment in Auckland, New Zealand

    Breedt, Andre (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    The business strategy of ???rolling intake??? (or continuous enrolment) defines the lived realities of teachers and academic managers in private language schools. Embedded deeply within institutional processes, it becomes an unquestioned systemic feature. As an operating principle, it serves as the catalyst for an organizational culture of perpetual crisis management, characterized by short-term thinking. Pedagogically suspect, ???rolling intake???, at best, complicates the professional practices of teachers and academic managers. At worst, it is a major contributor to the job insecurities of language teachers in the private sector. Founded on two research periods collectively spanning one year, this ???at-home??? ethnographic study (Alvesson, 2009) sought to investigate how five teachers and four academic managers negotiated the professional challenges they faced, individually and as a community, while working in a private training establishment (PTE) in Auckland, New Zealand. On a certain level, the research project represents an examination of the relationships between stakeholders??? professional identities, the people they teach, and the working environment. More profoundly, as arrived at through grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006), the study implicates ???rolling intake??? and other systemic ???innovations??? as instrumental in rendering teachers and their pedagogic concerns invisible. In this thesis, I demonstrate how, despite an inherently anti-social system subordinating pedagogic concerns to a commercial ethic, teachers keep on teaching, and learners keep on learning. They do this through individual acts of resistance which defy the cold rationality of a profit-oriented system, while also avoiding the myopic gaze of audit regimes that cannot capture the complexities of educational practices.

    View record details
  • Stories of Survival and Resilience: An enquiry into what helps tamariki and rangatahi through wh??nau violence

    Walters, Anna (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Family violence is overrepresented amongst M??ori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand, and as elsewhere has been found to have significant consequences for children. Extant research has been predominantly deficit-focused. The current project focused on protective factors and resilience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with professionals working with M??ori who had experienced wh??nau (family) violence as tamariki/rangatahi (children/youth) and survived through this difficult experience. Thematic analysis of transcripts revealed several dominant themes. These included that resilience is a complex concept, internal resources of the child contribute to resilience (involving inherent qualities, having an understanding of wh??nau violence, having dreams, hope for the future and goals, and self-belief in their abilities), having a significant, supportive person in their life, having a strong positive M??ori identity and having a wairua connection. Interventions to assist the development of resilience were also identified including building a relationship, early systemic interventions and using M??ori guided interventions. Implications of these findings include the importance of staff in the helping professions being able to develop effective therapeutic relationships with tamariki/rangatahi and attend to these factors thought to promote resilience.

    View record details
  • Advocacy for Using Evidence in Public Health Nutrition Policy Making

    Field, Penelope Anne (2014)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Do advocates for using evidence make a difference? A case study of public health nutrition policymaking in New Zealand. There is a growing body of evidence supporting interventions that will effectively address nutrition-related non-communicable disease. However, researchers and other stakeholders often despair that such evidence is not informing government policy. The emerging field of ‘evidence-informed’ policy addresses the question, ‘What works?’ to improve the use of evidence in policymaking. This thesis aims to contribute to this enquiry by exploring how advocates for the use of evidence can make a difference. Advocacy can connect science, society and politics and build ‘multiple footbridges’ between the worlds of decision makers and those who generate evidence. A theoretical model for advocacy for evidence use was developed following an extensive literature review. The model was evaluated against a rival explanation in a policy case study of food marketing to children. Data were collected by interviews with senior members of the New Zealand public health nutrition policy community, documentary analysis and field notes. Results indicate that current policymaking systems are ad hoc and non-deliberate, informal relationships are the primary channel by which evidence informs bureaucrats’ decision making and the powerful role of meta-level policy is largely unknown. Major determinants of advocacy activity are access to resources and the opportunities presented by political timing. Concurrently the trend for sovereign government to be replaced by governance mechanisms and a government agenda to give science a greater role in policymaking are shifting established policy processes. These factors, together with a growing realisation that public health nutrition policymaking needs a paradigm shift, are creating opportunities for advocacy for the use of evidence. The findings of this research lead to the conclusion that public health nutrition policy processes will deliver better outcomes when the ‘idea’ of using evidence is actively advocated. Politically aware advocacy should enhance evidence use when it brings about shifts in meta-level policy, policymaking processes and relationships across the policy community.

    View record details
  • Swaggers and society : a New Zealand experience

    Steven, Graeme D. (1979)

    Undergraduate thesis
    University of Otago

    The aims of this study are two-fold. First, to reach an understanding of the swagger, his lifestyle, and his outlook on life. And second, to investigate the relationships between the swagger and various groups in New Zealand society, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The North Otago region was chosen as a base for the study because it has traditionally been regarded as one of the main swagger areas in New Zealand. The main town of Oamaru had a population of 4000 to 6000 in the 1890's, and was neither wholly urban or rural. As the service centre for the North Otago hinterland and a road, rail and sea centre, Oamaru had large numbers of itinerants, passing through the town. In the rural hinterland mixed cropping predominated, and this required large numbers of seasonal workers, which were drawn from outside the region. In Chapter One it is argued that rural itinerant workers were integrated into a rural structure that was both labour intensive and seasonal. Chapter Two discusses the characteristics which separate the swagger from other rural itinerants, which I have called, the "swag-carriers". In Chapter Three the conflict between the swagger and a developing bureaucracy, and middle class ideology in the late nineteenth century, is analysed. In Chapters Four and Five, the attitudes of rural and towns people towards the swagger are investigated. A model based on the value system of "reputation" and "respectability is used in Chapter Six to explain the ambivalence of attitudes towards the swagger, and to investigate an important aspect of the swagger psychology - his self esteem and his individuality.

    View record details
  • Associations between dietary electrolytes and pulse wave velocity

    Lewis, Victoria (2017)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Pulse wave velocity (PWV) is a non-invasive measure of arterial stiffness, and a recognised predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Given this, it is likely that investigating the determinants of PWV will improve our understanding of cardiovascular health. At present, there is disagreement regarding the relationship between dietary sodium and potassium intakes, and PWV. Hence, further research is needed in order to confirm whether dietary sodium and potassium are determinants of PWV. Objective: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the associations between dietary sodium and potassium intake, and PWV in the general population. Methods: This cross-sectional study used baseline data from Health And Bread Intervention Trial (HABIT). Spot urine samples were used to estimate dietary sodium and potassium intake. Weighed three-day diet records were analysed for self-reported dietary sodium and potassium intake. Brachial blood pressure, and carotid-femoral PWV were measured with the SphygmoCor 2000. Results: Sixty-five HABIT participants were included in this study. Overall, 52.3% were males, with a mean±SD age of 34.5±18.3years, body mass index (BMI) of 24.9±4.5kg/m2; BP of 126.5/74.8±17.7/11.2mmHg, and PWV of 7.2±1.6m/s. Mean sodium intakes as assessed by spot urine samples and diet records were above New Zealand’s Upper Limit of 2300mg/day (urinary sodium: 3021±756mg/day; dietary sodium: 2784±1067mg/day). Mean potassium intakes, also assessed by spot urine samples and diet records, were below the Adequate Intake for New Zealand of 3800mg/day for males and 2800mg/day for females (male, urinary potassium: 2002±386.9mg/day; male, dietary potassium: 3500±1242.2mg/day; female, urinary potassium: 1902.6±428.5mg/day; female, dietary potassium: 2783.3±991.3mg/day). Dietary intakes of sodium, potassium, and sodium-to-potassium ratio as assessed by spot urine samples and diet records were not independently associated with PWV. In multi-variate analysis age was positively associated with PWV (a 1-year increase in age was associated with a 0.05 m/s increase in PWV). Conclusions: This small cross-sectional study found dietary intakes of sodium, potassium, and sodium-to-potassium were not independent predictors of PWV, suggesting the prediction of PWV is multi-factorial. Future adequately-powered studies should examine these relationships.

    View record details
  • Memory HQ: the possible central role of the epigenome in maintaining LTP.

    Kyrke-Smith, Madeleine (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    Plasticity mechanisms such as long-term potentiation (LTP) are believed to underlie the formation and maintenance of memories. LTP induction stimulates downstream signalling pathways that lead to changes in gene expression which are critical to the maintenance of LTP. However, how these changes allow LTP to persist is not currently understood. The epigenetic mechanism, histone acetylation, has been shown to be regulated over the first few hours after LTP induction in vitro. Indeed, inhibition of enzymes that negatively regulate histone acetylation, histone deacetylase 1 and 2 (HDAC1 and HDAC2), enhances LTP induced in vitro, suggesting that HDAC inhibition supports LTP persistence. However, HDAC1 and HDAC2 have themselves been shown to be upregulated 5 – 24 h post-LTP induction in vivo and the effect of inhibiting HDACs over these later time-points has not been investigated. We aimed to identify if changes in HDAC activity played a role in LTP persistence over weeks, a timeframe which can not be studied when LTP is induced in vitro. We found that the activity of both HDAC1 and HDAC2 was upregulated 20 min post-LTP induction, returning to near baseline by 5 h and that HDAC1 activity was subsequently upregulated 12 h post-LTP induction. Interestingly, inhibition of the initial increase in HDAC activity, using the HDAC inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA), had no effect on the induction of LTP, nor on the overall persistence of LTP. However, TSA did enhance the magnitude of LTP expressed between 12 h and 7 days post-induction. This time period has previously been associated with an intermediate form of LTP, LTP2. However, inhibition of the increased HDAC activity 12 h post-LTP by TSA had no effect on the persistence of LTP, nor did it make the LTP more susceptible to disruption by LTP induction at a competing input onto the same set of cells. An additional important finding from this work was that HDAC activity and protein expression was regulated in the contralateral non-tetanised hemisphere. This led to the hypothesis that increased HDAC activity may create an environment in which persistent LTP could not be induced. We found, however, that despite heightened HDAC activity, LTP was able to be induced and persisted as normal. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that LTP persistence is supported by HDAC1 and HDAC2 activity. However, we have identified an intermediate enhancement of plasticity over the first week after induction. This leads to the suggestion that HDAC1 and HDAC2 may regulate genes involved in the early stages of learning and memory formation but not the very long-term consolidation process. Further, interhemispheric communication may occur after LTP induction, though the mechanisms of action remain unclear. We can conclude that temporally and spatially widespread mechanisms underlie the induction and maintenance of LTP and though we are yet to elucidate the maintenance mechanisms for LTP, we are beginning to tease apart the intricate mechanisms involved over 24 h post-LTP induction.

    View record details