27,634 results for ResearchSpace@Auckland

  • Cleft Constructions in Chinese: An Information Structure Analysis

    Zheng, Danyang (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This thesis is the first systematic and comprehensive study of cleft constructions in Chinese. By the cleft construction in Chinese is meant the syntactic structure mainly holding the form of ???shi???(de)???, and realizing the function of contrastive focus by putting the focus in a syntacticallymore prominent position (i.e. the following position of the focus marker ???shi???), and by ???cleaving??? the canonical proposition into two segments (i.e. presupposition and focus) from the perspective of information structure. In this thesis, the criteria of cleft constructions are provided from the prospectives of semantics and information structure aiming to distinguish Chinese cleft constructions from the non-qualifying sentences with similar surface structures. And then the typological classification of Chinese ???shi???de??? sentences is presented. Considering the information structure of cleft constructions in Chinese, their properties are explored by providing answers to the following questions: firstly, how are the components (i.e. focus and topic) of the information structure delivered through their mental representations as well as linguistic forms; secondly, what are the types of cleft constructions in Chinese in accordance with the properties of their information structure; and thirdly how do the components of the information structure (i.e. focus, topic, presupposition) distribute with each other? In order to get some more authentic and objective results, the data of the present study is selected fromthe online corpus designed by the Center for Chinese Linguistics of Peking University (abbreviated as CCL hereafter). The theoretical foundation of the present study is Lambrecht???s (1994) theories of information structure (i.e. the types of the focus structure, the Topic Acceptability Scale, the model of identifiability etc.). In addition, other important concepts are also borrowed in the present study, for example, ???exhaustivity??? (or ???exhaustive???in the terminology of Kiss (1998)) proposed by Buring & Kriz (2013) is considered to be a very important semantic criterion of cleft constructions in Chinese. Chen???s (2004) study of the relationship between identifiability and definiteness of Chinese is also an important theoretical background of the present study.

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  • Native English Speakers??? Acquisition of Mandarin Vowels: From Perception and Production Perspectives

    Zhu, Wenhui (2018)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This thesis investigates the perception and production of Mandarin high and mid vowels: [i], [u], [y], [??], [????] and [??] in dental, retroflex and palatal fricative and affricate contexts by adult NZE native-speakers. It is found that factors, such as L1 transfer, L2 experience and markedness all influence the perception and production of target Mandarin vowels by learners. The perceptual categorization of target vowels is assessed with a cross-language perceptual mapping task by 11 na??ve speakers of NZE; the perceptual identification and discrimination of target vowels are examined with an identification task completed by 19 learners with medium or low Mandarin experience. The results of the two tasks indicate that the way two Mandarin vowels are categorized into NZE vowels determines the perceptual discrimination between the two Mandarin vowels by learners exactly as the Perceptual Assimilation Model (PAM) (Best, 1995; Best & Tyler, 2007) predicts. Mandarin [i] is assimilated as a good instance to the NZE category /i/, while Mandarin [y] and [u] are both assimilated as only fair instances to the NZE category /u/. This leads to a high level of inaccuracy in discrimination by learners for the Mandarin contrast [u]-[y], but not for [i]-[u] or [i]-[y]. The three mid vowels [??], [????] and [??] are not categorized into any NZE vowel category, the discriminations between two uncategorized vowels [??] and [????], [??] and [??] are difficult, but learners can easily discriminate [????] from [??]. This is probably because [????] and [??] are in complementary distribution and their preceding consonants may provide additional clues for learners to tell them apart. L2 experience plays a significant role in the perceptual identification accuracy for vowels [y], [u], [??] but not for [i] as the Speech Learning Model (SLM) (Flege, 1995) predicts. SLM proposes that L2 experience has a more obvious effect on L2 sounds which are perceptually less similar to L1 sounds than L2 sounds which are perceptually more similar to L1 sounds. Vowels [y], [u], [??] with at best a fair fit are less similar vowels in SLM, [i] with a good fit is a more similar vowel in SLM. However, language experience does not play a significant role in the perception of the less similar vowels [????] and [??]. This can be explained by the high markedness of these two phones which delay the influence of L2 experience. The production of Mandarin vowels is assessed with interpretations by NS judges and an acoustic analysis. The interpretation indicates there is no significant difference in the production of target vowels by learners with more or less experience, however the acoustic analysis shows there are statistically significant acoustic differences in the production of all target vowels by learners with more or less experience of Mandarin; with the production by more advanced learners being closer to Native speaker targets. Although there is a significant correlation between the overall perception and production for all target vowels and all learners, there is no consistent and statistically significant relationship between the perception and production of each target vowel and each learner.

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  • Generation of Sub-Poissonian Light of High Photon Number

    Sanchez Cordero Canela, Victor (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    In this thesis, we study a system consisting of qubits???two-level quantum systems??? interacting in the strong-coupling regime for a finite amount of time with a mode of the electromagnetic field inside a resonator. In particular, we are interested in the dynamics of the photon number and the possibility of controlling its statistics to produce sub-Poissonian light. To describe the system we use quantum trajectory theory where the time evolution of the state vector consists of both a continuous part and jumps, which account for the resonator losses. We also incorporate a variable number of qubits (changing in time) interacting with the mode. A computer simulation was developed and optimised to calculate the quantum trajectories. When one sets the qubits initially to the excited state and fixes the interaction time accordingly, so-called ???trapping states??? (photon numbers which block the addition of a photon by a single qubit) appear. These states are instrumental in the generation of sub-Poisson fields, for some cases even when the number of interacting qubits follow a Poisson process. We take advantage of the existence of trapping states to implement control protocols based on the measurement of the output field of the resonator, with the objective of lowering the uncertainty in the number of photons. Furthermore, we explore the possibility of creating a source of sub-Poissonian pulses by first using a random interaction time (which bypasses the trapping states) and then utilising the control protocols developed. We are able to achieve fields with a Mandel Q parameter of QM = ???0.98 and a photon number of n 68.

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  • Metabolomics and proteomics investigations of Alzheimer???s disease and related conditions

    Xu, Jingshu (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Alzheimer???s disease (AD) causes the commonest form of dementia, and remains the largest unmet medical need in neurology. The cause of AD is largely unknown and to date, there are no treatments with proven disease-modifying actions. Substantial evidence has accumulated to support an important association between type-2-diabetes (T2D) and AD. Specifically, the vasculopathy aspects of T2D and AD have gained significant scientific attention, with a potential link being atherosclerosis. This study aimed to improve understanding of the molecular basis of AD pathogenesis, with focus on vascular mechanisms. Case-control studies were performed in ex-vivo rabbit aortic tissue, and postmortem brain tissue from patients. Specifically, we aimed to generate a detailed molecular profile representative of pathogenetic processes in aortic tissue from a rabbit model of atherosclerosis, and brain from AD patients. Furthermore, we aimed to measure and compare molecular changes in seven structurally and functionally distinct brain regions, to improve understanding of disease distribution in the human brain. I performed parallel proteomic analyses and metabolic profiling studies: target tissues were analysed by iTRAQ-proteomics and tissue metabolites profiled by gas-chromatography-mass-spectrometry and liquid-chromatography-mass-spectrometry. We derived a detailed description of molecular changes in human AD brain at both protein and metabolite levels, and generated quantitative protein and metabolite profiles from seven distinct brain regions. AD brain exhibited clear evidence of global perturbations in phospholipid content and defects in energy-producing mechanisms, the latter characterised by impaired glycolytic pathway and TCA cycle enzymes and metabolites, with concomitant activation of the pentose-phosphate and polyol pathways. Compared to severely affected brain regions (hippocampus and entorhinal cortex), the least affected brain region (cerebellum) exhibited molecular signatures indicative of earlier disease processes and activation of molecular defence mechanisms: these included better-preserved systems for protein folding, protein degradation, and A??-clearance, and lesser activation of the immune response and oxidative phosphorylation. I concluded that: accumulation of free glucose, sorbitol and fructose in AD brain is a probable cause of decreased cerebral glucose uptake as observed in patients; glycosylated proteins/lipids, interacting with relevant receptors may promote vasculopathy in atherosclerosis, T2D and AD; and, in the latter, different brain regions undergo molecular damage at different rates.

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  • Differentiating Small Urban Space as a Type and an Idea

    Thornton, William (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    As population trends continue toward increased urbanisation, a number of cities are addressing rapid urban growth with popular management strategies, which call for compacting outward expansion and intensifying urban densities. However, though widely recognised as essential, urban spaces under such policies become vulnerable and may even be lost, particularly where strategies fail to address and integrate adequate open spaces. Furthermore, as density increases so does demand, placing strain on existing spaces. Providing relief for denser urban environments and their inhabitants may come from a previously proposed solution. This research focuses on the phrase ???small urban space??? as a term, as guided by the underlying question, ???What is a small urban space???? In addition, this research questions the term???s intermittent use and association with public parks and urban plazas in the literature, and further aims to extend understanding and clarify meaning, including appropriate applications of the term. To accomplish these aims, separate but parallel studies were used to investigate the term following different approaches. The first study investigates small urban space as a type and primarily seeks to determine whether the term has the capacity to identify and differentiate such physical spaces as a type. Auckland, New Zealand and Boise, Idaho provided contrasting case studies. Candidate spaces selected from the urban centres of these two cities were surveyed observationally, and data recorded for a broad range of characteristics. A multivariate analysis identified five typeclassifications. While no particular classification offers a definitive description of small urban space, one, in particular, shows greater alignment with the preferred characteristics identified by Whyte (1980). The second study investigates the term as an idea and seeks to extract a descriptive set of categories from interviews conducted with practitioners in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. An analysis of interview content identified several categories, which collectively describe considerations essential for quality spaces, but not necessarily differentiating small urban spaces. Practitioners largely understood the term with reference to good urban, public spaces, especially those that adequately, if not exceptionally, accommodate human needs and preferences. While not discriminating small urban spaces uniquely, these outcomes provide the beginnings of an evidence supported understanding of the term and may help to support comprehensive and integrated urban space strategies.

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  • EU-Russian Competition in their Shared Neighbourhood: A Contest for Ukraine?

    Smith, Nicholas (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Over the last decade, the shifting geopolitical setting of Eastern Europe, where a shared neighbourhood between the EU and Russia has emerged, has created an environment which is potentially more conducive to competition and conflict. Exacerbating this shift has been the evolving foreign policies of both the EU and Russia towards the neighbourhood they share (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine) that has amplified the potential for competition for influence in these states. In order to address the overarching research puzzle of whether this geopolitical shift in Europe and foreign policy changes of the EU and Russia have made the relationship in their shared neighbourhood competitive or not, this thesis endeavours to assess the competitiveness of the EU???s and Russia???s foreign policies towards Ukraine, from 2010 up until the onset of the Ukraine crisis in November 2013. Theoretically, this thesis employs a novel neoclassical realist analytical framework which is built on the core assumption that the relative power position of a state in the international system is the main driver of foreign policy. Three intervening variables are singled out as playing an important, mediating role: a state???s role identity, decision-makers??? perceptions and the domestic foreign policy-making process. The interplay of the three intervening variables in the domestic setting of a state works to translate systemic pressures into foreign policies; a transmission belt from the international system to the final policy outcome. Consequently, understanding the nuanced decision-making processes of the EU and Russia represents a necessary step in attempting to understand the competitiveness of the relationship. Three specific policy areas are chosen to assess the competitiveness of the relationship: trade, energy and regime promotion. While trade and energy are sectors where high levels of interdependence exist and are, therefore, likely to be cooperative on some level, regime promotion represents a policy area where far fewer constraints on competition exist. It is argued that because all three are important components of a state???s foreign policy, they provide an interesting and important snapshot of the broader EU-Russia relationship in the scope of the shared neighbourhood, specifically Ukraine. The theoretically-informed analysis illustrates that from 2010 up until the start of the Ukraine crisis in November 2013, competition between the EU and Russia occurred in all three of the examined policy areas, albeit to different degrees. In the sector of energy, due to the high levels of gas interdependence in the EU-Russia-Ukraine triangle, short-term cooperation was a necessity of the relationship. Regarding trade (also an area of interdependence in the triangle), competition was clearly visible, but there was still potential for cooperation given the important trade links between all three. Last, the area of regime promotion was clearly the most competitive sector, essentially descending into a zero-sum game where the EU and Russia competed to secure a loyal regime in Ukraine. Consequently, the relationship between the EU and Russia was more competitive than cooperative and, as the Ukraine crisis subsequently illustrated, the pressure to engage in zero-sum games superseded the potential for positive-sum outcomes.

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  • Quake destruction / arts creation: arts therapy & the Canterbury earthquakes

    Green, Deborah (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This arts-based inquiry explores my experiences as beginning arts therapist during the Canterbury, New Zealand, earthquakes from 2010 to 2014. At the heart of these experiences lies my challenging dual-role as both quake-survivor and therapist ??? I was betwixt-and-between quake-destruction and arts-creation. I aimed to make sens/e of this in ways that may be useful to applied-arts practitioners working in similar contexts. My sens/e-making quest blended autoethnography, a/r/tography and arts therapy-as-research. This braided-methodology created a multi-faceted process: I adopted Victor Turner???s concept of liminality as my central metaphor to give theoretical and aesthetic containment. Liminality resonated with my earthquake experiences, my practice-as-therapist and this arts-based research. I teased-open the term sens/e. I used my physical-senses to generate embodiment. I befriended my implicit felt-sense and evoked my soul-sense. Drawing on the French sens for direction, I embraced therapy and research as creating life-forward direction. And I used these sens/ual processes to make meaning and render new knowledge. I created mixed-modal artworks to explore my memories, writings, artworks and photographs as quake-survivor/therapist. I opened reflexive conversations between my creations and texts addressing arts-based research, trauma, liminality, and therapy. I enacted this study via three roles inspired by Rita Irwin???s a/r/tography: As artist, I created art using my quake-arts therapy-process of ???dropping-in??? which splices Laury Rappaport???s Focusing-Orientated Art Therapy with Shaun McNiff???s images-as-angels process. These creations expressed who I perceived I was, who I currently am, and who I am becoming as artist/researcher/therapist. As researcher, I followed McNiff???s suggestion to craft correspondence between my research process and practice of therapy. My dropping-in process, when combined with autoethnographic a/r/tography, provided a practical way to generate, gather and analyse research material. As therapist, I discovered ??? via personal experience of wounding/healing, and hands-on implementation of therapy for others suffering ??? my quake-work had stumbled upon several notions congruent with current intersubjective and embodied arts- and trauma-therapy, exemplified in Stephen Levine???s poietic approach. The outcome is an arts-rich multi-vocal layered-account containing emergent findings regarding: post-postmodern both-and-and???soul-based arts therapy and research approaches applicable to contexts of enduring liminality, in which imagical play invites new order to emerge from chaos, healing is reclaimed within the wounded/healer archetype, and internal communitas becomes a figural intention of trauma-transformation.

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  • ???Framed in Righteousness???: Poetry, imagination and edification in early modern England 1530-1630

    Fox, John (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    My thesis attempts to trace the theological language of building (???edification???) from its use by Thomas Cranmer and other English reformers through the maelstrom of the English reformation from 1530-1630. I argue that the language of edification, with its emphasis on communitarian re-formation and the transformative effects of an encounter with truth, offers a new way of seeing the vocation of the Protestant poet within the imaginative and spiritual conflicts that shaped the English reformation. I trace the language from its origins in Pauline thought to the English reformers, and from them to the poets and writers who internalised their vision of Pauline Commonwealth: Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, George Herbert and John Donne. Arguing that edification enables both deconstructive and reconstitutive kinds of reform, I examine the imagined role of poetry in that process of ???rebuilding??? the person, and the differing responses to, and re-imaginations of the notion of rebuilding.

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  • Polymer Brush Modified Poly(dimethylsiloxane) Surfaces as Biomimetic Adhesives

    Chaudhary, Omer (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    During the last few decades, the adhesion of geckos??? feet has attracted significant attention due to its strength and versatility. Fibrillar features, present on geckos??? feet, are responsible for these unique adhesive properties. To date, a large number of synthetic fibrillar adhesives have been reported. Each of these was aimed at exploring parameters that are important for achieving stronger, repeatable, and on-demand adhesion. Due to limitations of the fabrication approaches used, industrial production of such materials has not yet been possible. The aim of the research described within this thesis was to contribute to the knowledge in the field of dry adhesion of bioinspired adhesives. In this research, bioinspired dry adhesives were prepared by means of surface modification of flat surfaces and fibrillar structures, by grafting of polymer brushes to improve adhesive properties. Poly(ethyl acrylate) (PEA), poly(n-butyl acrylate) (PBA), poly(n-hexyl acrylate) (PHA) and poly(2-ethylhexyl acrylate) (P2EHA) brushes were grafted from poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) surfaces. The grafted polymer brushes were characterised using a range of techniques such as Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, ellipsometry, Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC), Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and Rutherford backscattering (RBS). The effect of the grafted polymers on mechanical properties of PDMS surfaces was investigated at both the macro- and microscale, with particular reference to dry adhesion. Adhesive properties of the polymer brush-modified surfaces were studied by varying adhesion test conditions, such as preload and retraction speed of the test apparatus??? probe, and brush properties such as the molecular weight of the grafted polymers. Polymer brushes were also grafted from microfabricated PDMS micropillars. Grafting conditions were found for which the growth of the polymer brushes was controlled and the polymers were of narrow polydispersity. A significant increase in adhesion (~3-fold) was observed for brush grafted-PDMS flat surfaces, and an even greater improvement (up to 6-fold) was observed for PDMS micropillars. The grafting procedure could potentially be extended to industrial scale production of highly adhesive bioinspired surfaces. Commercial availability of such bioinspired adhesive surfaces and structures would be useful for a range of applications, such as household adhesive surfaces, wall climbing robots, gripping gloves, biomedical adhesives, adhesives for Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and handling of delicate components in industrial processes.

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  • Left and Right Ventricular Function in Congenital Heart Disease

    Gilbert, Kathleen (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect, with an incidence of approximately 75 in every 1000 births. Due to better treatments, people with congenital heart disease are living longer, with the number of adults with the disease now outnumbering the children. Unfortunately for those with congenital heart disease, heart failure is common in later life, and these patients must be monitored in order to time interventions and treatments well. The gold standard for cardiac imaging is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), owing to its safety and ability to image all parts of the heart. Analysis of MRI is time consuming, and often a manual process. In this thesis, a research prototype is developed into a clinical tool which allows for rapid and accurate analysis of these images. The research prototype was first improved to make it truly interactive, before a left ventricular prolate model was included to predict motion of the heart throughout the cardiac cycle. A new regularisation scheme was added which reduced strain across the entire model. Finally, a pipeline was developed to create priors for the tool. The pipeline was used to create three priors which were specifically chosen as shapes commonly seen in congenital heart disease. The resulting tool can quickly and accurately provide clinical information from MRI images, with relatively little user input.

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  • Rocking Structures with Passive Energy Dissipaters : An Approach in Timber

    Loo, Wei (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Passive energy dissipaters, in the form of slip-friction connectors, are implemented in an experimental timber wall as hold-downs. Under an increasing and laterally applied force, rocking of the wall ensues when the slip-force in one or both of the connectors is obtained. The initial stages of this research focussed on developing a symmetric slipfriction connector that is both simple to fabricate and cost-effective. Previously, symmetric slip-friction connectors have relied on brass shims to enable stable sliding. However, experiments on symmetric connectors with abrasion resistant steel placed in direct contact with mild steel, reveals stable sliding with highly elastoplastic characteristics. This is provided the faying surfaces are in the clean mill scale condition (removal of mill scale and polishing of the faying surfaces is found to result in extremely erratic force-displacement behaviour). The need for brass shims, or indeed shims of any kind, is thus obviated. The new concept slip-friction connectors are implemented as hold-downs in an experimental wall of engineered lumber. The elastoplastic characteristics of the slipfriction connectors readily transfer to the wall, and a novel shear key arrangement facilitates re-centring during quasi-static reversed cyclic loading. The wall strength is readily adjusted through varying the preload in the bolts used to mobilise friction, and this preload is achieved and maintained through the use of stacked Belleville washers. The interaction of the slip-friction connectors with the shear key produces a rocking motion that is quite distinct from that of a free rocking block. An analytical procedure is developed in order to explore and describe this motion, and the influence of shear key placement on re-centring capability is clearly demonstrated. A tentative displacementbased design procedure is then proposed for multi-storey walls with slip-friction connectors, and an example structure numerically modelled. Under earthquake simulations, the example wall is found to emulate the response of an equivalent but idealised structure with a plastically deformable hinge at its base. Drifts typically remain within the intended limits, and residual displacements are small when gravity effects are considered. When compared with the response of comparable, but fully elastically responding structures, base shears and response accelerations are significantly reduced.

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  • Neuroprotective potential of AAV-mediated NURR1 expression in a rat model of Parkinson???s disease

    Mudannayake, Janitha (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Parkinson???s disease (PD) is characterised by the progressive neurodegeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons that results in motor deficits including bradykinesia, rigidity and tremor. Currently available pharmacological therapies for PD provide only symptomatic relief, and hence lead to therapeutic failure in the advanced stages of the disease. Gene therapy that targets the underlying disease mechanisms is an appealing alternative strategy to ameliorate disease progression. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors are currently the preferred gene delivery vehicles in clinical gene therapy applications. To date, clinically-approved AAV vectors for CNS gene therapy almost exclusively target neurons, and astrocytes that regulate CNS physiology and contribute to disease pathogenesis represent a largely unexplored therapeutic target. Therefore the aims of this thesis were to develop an AAV vector that selectively and efficiently target nigral astrocytes by coupling astrocyte-tropic AAV serotypes and DNA promoter elements, and subsequently utilise this vector to overexpress the therapeutic transcription factor NURR1in a rat model of PD. Recent evidence suggests that astrocytic molecular diversity may heterogeneously regulate transcriptional activity of the commonly used astrocyte-specific glial-fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) promoter, prompting us to isolate putative promoter sequences from the recently characterised pan-astrocytic marker aldehyde dehydrogenase family 1, member L1 (ALDH1L1), to determine the ability of these promoters to efficiently regulate transgene expression in astrocytes. Four promoter sequences were generated and tested in the context of the astrocyte tropic AAV serotypes 5, 8 and 9 in the rat substantia nigra pars compacts (SNpc). Unexpectedly, these promoters mediated exclusive and efficient neuronal transgene expression, indicating the potential applicability of these promoters in neuronal-targeted gene therapy. In a subsequent comparative analysis of AAV5 and AAV9, AAV5 that predominantly targeted astrocytes in the nigra with minimal dissemination of transgene expression to neighbouring midbrain regions was selected for further studies. Moreover, comparative analysis of the promoters, constitutively active cytomegalovirus (CMV), GFAP and shorter GFAP variant gfaABC1D in the context of AAV5 indicated that the GFAP promoter mediated the most efficient transgene expression predominantly in nigral astrocytes. Therefore, the GFAP promoter in the context of AAV5 was selected to mediate efficient transgene expression in astrocytes. Using this vector construct, the multifaceted transcription factor NURR1 that regulates midbrain DA neuronal phenotype, and downregulates glia-driven inflammation was selectively expressed in astrocytes to determine the neuroprotective potential of astrocyte-targeted gene therapy. NURR1 overexpression promoted nigral DA neuronal survival, ameliorated astrocyte reactivity, and improved contralateral forepaw deficit, indicating therapeutic potential of astrocyte-targeted gene transfer. These results support the development of a dual cell targeting AAV vector in future studies for the expression of NURR1 in both neurons and astrocytes to target DA phenotypic dysfunction, chronic inflammation and neurodegeneration in PD.

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  • Statutory Construction Adjudication: Analysis of the New Zealand and Malaysian Legislations

    Ameer Ali, Noushad (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    The construction industry contributes significantly to any country???s economy. However, there remain two chronic problems. They are: (i) delayed or non-payment, and (ii) costly and protracted dispute resolution. The severity of these problems have led to several jurisdictions including the UK, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia to legislate on payment provisions and introduce adjudication as a rapid dispute resolution method. This research was done to analyse the effectiveness of adjudication provisions in legislation governing payment and adjudication focused on the New Zealand and Malaysian Acts. To achieve this aim, research objectives were formulated under 6 areas: (i) analysis of construction dispute resolution methods, (ii) key coverage and scope of the adjudication provisions in the Acts, (iii) clarity of legislative drafting and style, (iv) time taken to resolve disputes in adjudications, costs of adjudications, and quality of adjudicators??? decisions, and (v) quality of adjudicators and their training, and (vi) an initiation of the development of a decision-making model for adjudication legislation. These objectives were achieved using a mixed method to analyse the key features and effectiveness of the adjudication provisions in these Acts. The mixed method comprised legal documentary analysis by examining primary and secondary legal sources (including legislation and case law), a quantitative approach (through questionnaires distributed to adjudicators in New Zealand), and a case study relating to the Malaysian Act. The findings show that although all these Acts use the same term - adjudication, a deeper analysis shows some of the concepts and details are significantly different among jurisdictions. There appear to be two major models ??? the narrower New South Wales model that focuses on payment adopted by several other states in Australia and Singapore and the wider UK model adopted with modifications by New Zealand where all disputes may be resolved through adjudication. The Acts in New Zealand and Malaysia have very similar objectives on dispute resolution, but a detailed analysis shows the details are different. The findings show there is incongruence between the objectives and the detailed provisions of the Malaysian Act. The Malaysian Act provides the longest adjudication durations and the most elaborate adjudication processes including provisions for hearings, ordering discovery of documents, and even ordering evidence to be given on oath. However, despite the long durations, the Act takes the narrow path of only allowing adjudication for payment claims for work done or services rendered. Empirical evidence was also obtained from a questionnaire survey of adjudicators in New Zealand, which had a response rate of 73% of the total number of adjudicators listed on the then three adjudicator authorised nominating authorities in New Zealand. The main findings from the documentary analysis and the survey indicate that (i) the legislative drafting style of the New Zealand Act and some of the Australian Acts were written in modern plain language while others such as Singapore adopted the traditional style, (ii) the majority of adjudicators in New Zealand found the Act easy to understand, the actual time taken in adjudications were generally within the overall timeframes provided under the Act, and costs were well contained. Case analysis shows a significant number of adjudicators??? decisions that were referred to court were related to procedural matters. Although the proportion of adjudication decisions that were referred to court are relatively small at under 5%, if the quality of adjudicators were improved through enhanced training, there may be a possibility the number of cases being challenged in court could be lowered. A new task-based approach to developing adjudicator standards and testing and accrediting adjudicators was developed as a proof-of-concept. This approach was demonstrated using the Malaysian Act as a base and modified and adapted to apply to the New Zealand Act. The findings also led to a development of a preliminary decision-making model on adjudication legislation. To demonstrate its potential application the model was applied to the Malaysian Act and the first court case on adjudication in Malaysia. Among the conclusions is that the decision-making model could be used by countries considering adjudication and those considering amending their existing payment and adjudication Acts. The model can help in making informed choices and direction on concepts for the Act being considered. Among the conclusions formed as a result of these findings was the recommendations to the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel to produce a uniform drafting style guide for all Commonwealth countries. Consistency in drafting style can help avoid discrepancies in interpretation.

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  • Manufacturing and Evaluation of Kenaf/Polypropylene Honeycomb Cores

    Sallih, Nabihah (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Light weight and sustainable sandwich panels are increasingly sought for an extensive range of applications, from structures in airliners to wall linings in buildings. A detailed study on the development and mechanical performance of honeycomb cores manufactured from very thin extruded kenaf/polypropylene sheets is presented here. The manufacturing process involves production of flat composite sheets using an extruder, thermoforming the flat sheets into half-hexagonal corrugations and joining of the corrugations using an ultrasonic welder to form honeycomb cores. The effects of kenaf and maleated polypropylene proportions, fibre length, polypropylene melt flow indices and die temperature on tensile and flexural properties, as well as in-plane and out-of-plane shear properties of the flat sheets have been analysed by conducting experiments through ???design of experiment??? methodology. Since melt flow indices and die temperature appear to be critical factors influencing the average and variation in the properties of the sheets, a sweep to characterize varying die temperatures (185 C and 195 C) for several melt flow indices (1.3???11 g/10 min) has been performed. The thermoformability of the sheets has been examined in the context of single curvature V-bending using an Instron machine. The effects of pre-heat temperature, forming rate, punch tip radius and bending direction on both shape conformity and tensile/compressive instabilities have been examined, both instantaneously and over a short period of time. A method to produce good quality corrugations using a hydraulic press has been developed. The best combination of ultrasonic weld time, amplitude and trigger force in terms of the joint strength of flat sheets has been determined using a lap shear test. This combination has been applied in joining multiple corrugated sheets to form core materials. The influences of directionalities, cell wall thickness and core depth on the stiffness and strength of the structures under flatwise bare compressive and shear loadings have been examined to produce desirable core properties for manufacturing sandwich panels.

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  • Reactions and phase transformations in Monocalcium Phosphate Monohydrate (MCPM) systems

    Huang, Chen (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    This research project mainly focuses on the characteristic reaction processes and phase transformation (transition) in the system of monocalcium phosphate monohydrate (MCPM, Ca(H2PO4)2???H2O) ??? base and covers two types of reactions: aqueous reactions and solid-state reactions. Firstly, a preliminary research, which deals with the influences of the reaction conditions, such as pH, pH buffer reagent, ageing and stirring, in the MCPM ??? base system has been carried out. It is found that pH is a key factor determining the phase formation. As the pH level increases, the sequence of the phase formation from precipitation reaction is from dicalcium phosphate dihydrate (DCPD, CaHPO4???2H2O) to calcium-deficient (hydroxy) apatite (Ca10-x(HPO4)x(PO4)6-x(OH)2-x, 0 < x ??? 1) and finally to stoichiometric apatite. The pH buffer reagent, such as NaOH or NH3???H2O, is also an important factor with respect to the determination of the precipitated phase. A strong base, for example NaOH, promotes the formation of apatite with higher stoichiometry, in comparison with a weak base, such as NH3???H2O. The micro-morphology of apatite precipitated from NaOH is more homogeneous than that of apatite formed from NH3???H2O. The MCPM ??? NaOH is therefore set as the research system onwards. In addition, ageing is essential to the phase maturation of apatite, which is then extensively explored in the MCPM ??? NaOH system. Also stirring is deemed to accelerate the reaction process. Based on the preliminary results, the MCPM ??? NaOH system, both aqueous reactions and the subsequent solid-state reactions have been separately investigated. In the study of aqueous reactions, a continual change of Ca:P ratio in monocalcium phosphate monohydrate (MCPM) by increasing the amount of NaOH added in to the MCPM is reported. The Ca:P ratio is observed to gradually change from 1.0, which corresponds to dicalcium phosphate dehydrate (DCPD), to stoichiometric 1.67 of apatite. It is proposed that the high solubility of MCPM results in fast dissolution and reprecipitation. A multi-step chemical reaction is proposed to elucidate the reaction sequence in the aqueous MCPM-NaOH system. The Johnson-Mehl-Avrami-Kolmogorov (JMAK) equation is applied to the kinetic study. The phase transformation of MCPM to apatite has been accelerated by increasing the NaOH molarity. The high solubility gives MCPM the ability of fast dissolution and reprecipitation. Chemical reactivity and sensibility of MCPM towards base (NaOH) has been verified. Based on the dissolution-reprecipitation mechanism, a model to elucidate the microstructural evolution is proposed. Depending on the attained Ca:P ratio in the powder synthesized in the aqueous solutions, subsequent calcination of these chemically formed powders leads to the formation of various single phasic calcium phosphates or biphasic compounds. It is observed that ??-calcium pyrophosphate (??-CPP, ??-Ca2P2O7) is produced from calcination of DCPD, while ??-tricalcium phosphate (??-TCP, ??-Ca3(PO4)2) results from thermal reactions between DCPD and apatite. The biphasic mixtures of ??-TCP and hydroxyapatite (HA, Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) can be achieved from thermal decomposition of calcium-deficient apatite. The phase composition of ??-TCP/HA biphasic calcium phosphate is determined by the calcium-deficiency of apatite. The more calcium-deficient the apatite is, the more ??-TCP exists in the biphasic compound. The kinetics of the thermal decomposition process of calcium-deficient apatite is characterised using the JMAK equations. The thermal behaviours of calcium-deficient apatite with different calcium-deficiencies have been compared. It is discovered that the more calcium-deficient the apatite is, the faster the decomposition. This is explained by the vacancy mechanism of diffusion in solids. The sinter-ability of ??-TCP/HA biphasic ceramics with two different phase compositions has been examined. It was revealed that the formation of more ??-TCP is detrimental to the densification of the biphasic ceramics during sintering. Several characterization techniques have been used throughout the project. They include powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), selected area electron diffraction (SAED), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), high angle annular dark field (HAADF) imaging under scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (Cryo-TEM).

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  • Dynamic testing and model updating of an eleven-span concrete motorway bridge

    Chen, Gewei (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    In recent decades, the evaluation of the actual behaviour of in-service bridge structures and their safety throughout their life cycle, by measuring structural responses, has been attracting increasing research efforts worldwide as an alternative to visual inspections or localised nondestructive tests. The vibration-based structural health monitoring methodology is a representative approach, based on the direct relationship of stiffness, mass and damping to the modal properties of a structure. Dynamic properties can thus be used to determine deterioration, damage, or change in structural state. For instance, the reduction in natural frequencies is the most easily observable change in the modal data and investigators have linked it to various structural deterioration mechanisms. However, real-world bridges are exposed to time-varying environmental and operational conditions such as changes in temperature as well as vibration level, which can influence the variability of modal parameters. These effects must be understood and quantified so that changes in vibration response resulting from damage can be discriminated from changes resulting from other factors. There is an abundant literature concerned with the effects of temperature on modal parameters, the quantitative relationships between temperature and modal properties, and data normalisation to account for environmental variability. However, comprehensive explorations of the influence of vibrational magnitude on the variability in dynamic characteristics of bridge structures are limited, because this operational variable is difficult to control in situ. In this research, in order to experimentally identify the amplitude-dependent properties of a bridge, a series of steady-state harmonic forced-vibration tests with different forcing levels were undertaken on the Nelson Street off-ramp bridge, an eleven-span, post-tensioned concrete motorway bridge located in Auckland, New Zealand. Both the natural frequencies and the damping ratios were identified from a series of frequency response functions constructed at different levels of excitation, and were subsequently quantitatively correlated with the displacement amplitude. The influence of vibration response amplitude on bridge structure damage detection was studied by comparing the calculated frequency shifts caused by the damage simulated on a beam element girder numerical model of the bridge with the experimental amplitude-dependent frequency data. Accurate identification of the dynamic characteristics of the monitored bridge structure from the collected response data by using modal parameter identification techniques is essential for obtaining reliable evaluation results by using dynamic-based condition assessment methods. Unfortunately, unlike the ideal test environment in a laboratory, external disturbances and elevated sensor measurement noise is unavoidable at an outdoor testing site, which poses great challenges to extracting weakly excited modes from noisy data in ambient vibration testing. The important issue of the feasibility and reliability of the dynamic tests under the circumstances of relatively weak excitation has rarely been investigated in detail. In this thesis a set of dynamic tests with different excitation sources, which included environmental sources, people jumping, broad-band linear chirp excitation induced by electro-dynamic shakers, and sinusoidal sweeping excitation by eccentric mass shakers, were conducted on the motorway bridge. The mode identifiability, and the accuracy of modal properties identified from relatively weak excitation cases were studied through comparison with a large-capacity shaker excitation case at strong forcing level. In order to investigate the ability of different identification algorithms to capture signal characteristics from the noise contaminated response data, various operational modal parameter identification algorithms in the frequency domain (the peak picking and the frequency domain decomposition methods) and the time domain (data-driven stochastic subspace identification method and Eigensystem realisation algorithm) were employed to extract natural frequencies, damping ratios and mode shapes for each excitation case. Cross-validation between different identification techniques was carried out to determine their efficiency, robustness and accuracy. Finite element (FE) updating, in which the physical parameters of a FE model are calibrated to match the measured modal properties of the structure, also plays a significant role in vibration-based condition assessment, because the updated model parameters can be used to trace the evolution of stiffness deterioration. However, due to the unique characteristics of bridge structures, such as their large size, soil-structure interaction, complex structural member connections as well as uncertain material properties and boundary conditions, hindrances can be encountered to solving the updating problem in highly nonlinear solution spaces, as is the case for real-world bridges. For the present analysis, relatively large differences were observed in the natural frequencies and mode shapes between the results calculated from even a very detailed initial shell-element numerical model of the bridge and the field vibration testing results, due to the complex and uncertain boundary conditions. Manual model refinements through tuning the connection stiffness between the main girder and piers/abutments were proposed for reducing the modelling errors of the initial FE model. Then, two different types of non-linear optimisation algorithms, the subproblem approximation method (SAM) and the first order method (FOM), were utilised to further update the manually tuned FE model. The initial attempt of the FOM captured a local minimum. After the initially assumed values of the updating parameters were perturbed, the FOM was rerun. The consistency of the final FE model updating results between the two methods enabled confirmation of the updating results.

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  • The Water Permeability of Lens Fibre Cells: The Relative Role of AQP0 and AQP5

    Yugova, Rosica (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Transportation of water is essential for the maintenance of lens homeostasis, and members of the aquaporin (AQP) family have been found to mediate the water permeability of lens cells. In my thesis, I performed immunolabelling analysis of whole lens sections from three different species of mammalian lens to map the cellular and subcellular distribution of AQP5, a third water channel recently discovered in the lens. I found a common, yet species-dependent, subcellular redistribution of AQP5 from a cytoplasmic pool to the membranes of differentiating fibre cells that occurred in the outer cortex of mouse and bovine lenses, and in the transition zone between differentiating and mature fibre cells in the inner cortex of rat lenses. In addition to the programmed translocation of AQP5 that took place during fibre cell differentiation, I found that AQP5 translocation to the membrane of peripheral differentiating fibre cells can be induced by organ culturing of mouse lenses in solutions of varying extracellular osmolarity. In addition, I compared the subcellular distribution of AQP5 with the well-characterised distribution of AQP0 throughout adult, embryonic and postnatal lenses and found that each AQP contributes differently to membrane water permeability in different lens regions. I found that, during embryonic development, AQP5 is predominantly in the cytoplasm while AQP0 remained membranous, and that these spatial differences in the subcellular distribution of AQP0 and AQP5 were maintained into the early postnatal period. The most profound changes in the distribution of AQP5 and AQP0 took place during the first and second week of postnatal development. AQP0 underwent an abrupt differentiation-dependent truncation of its C-terminus that began in the core of the lens which was complemented by the translocation of AQP5 from the cytoplasm to the membranes of first the lens core, and then subsequently differentiating fibre cells in the outer cortex without undergoing C-terminal truncation. These changes in protein distribution were established at a postnatal stage when the hyaloid vascular system feeding the lens regresses, transforming the lens into an avascular tissue solely dependent on the lens microcirculation system to maintain its transparency and homeostasis. The existence of differences in the subcellular localisation of AQP5 in the outer cortex of mouse and rat lenses allowed me to propose the hypothesis that the relative functional contributions of AQP5 and AQP0 to cell water permeability in this peripheral region of the lens are different. To test this hypothesis, I developed and optimised a novel fluorescence-based functional assay using mouse and rat lens fibre cell membrane vesicles derived from the outer cortex. To further delineate between the relative functional contributions that AQP5 and AQP0 make to water permeability, I used mercury as a specific pharmacological blocker of AQP5 since AQP0 is insensitive to mercury. I found that mouse vesicles displayed higher water permeability than rat vesicles and, in addition, showed sensitivity to mercury. Taken together my data suggest that AQP5 is a regulated water channel that can be inserted into lens fibre cell membranes under osmotic stress conditions to restore lens water homeostasis. Furthermore, since AQP5 is not truncated in the lens core, it is likely to remain functional in this lens region to facilitate the circulating water fluxes that are proposed to maintain adequate water and refractive index gradients in the lens.

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  • Fostering peer interactions in online learning environments: the potential of videoconferencing for interactional abilities of foreign language learners in New Zealand secondary schools

    Kopf, Martina (2016)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    The ability to communicate effectively in a foreign language has been crucial to the aims of language programmes worldwide for many years. However, foreign language learners often lack experience in spontaneous oral interactions. One way to provide more opportunities for communication practice is through synchronous computer-mediated-communication. Research on second language acquisition postulates that these real-time online exchanges are conducive to negotiation of meaning and communication strategies, where learners manage their discourse and solve communication problems in a social environment. Moreover, previous studies claim that computer-mediated-communication may be an ideal modality to reduce foreign language anxiety. The aim of the current research was to examine interactions between two classes of near-beginner students of German as a foreign language via videoconferencing. Data were collected during four one-to-one Skype sessions to identify interactional features such as negotiation of meaning and other communication strategies that the 21 participants employed. This examination draws on interactionist and sociocultural theory regarding effective second language acquisition together with the Varonis and Gass model (1985) and D??rnyei and Scott???s taxonomy (1997) to explore students' focus on meaning. Moreover, the study sought to examine how participants oriented themselves towards each other socially by using the model proposed by Rourke, Anderson, Garrison, and Archer (2001) to categorise and code social presence. Tying in with the ability to communicate effectively, this study investigated the influence of computer-mediated-communication on foreign language anxiety, focusing on anxiety related to verbal communication in a foreign language. Learners??? anxiety levels were measured prior to and after the intervention using the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale. Following each task, participants completed a short reflection regarding feelings of confidence and anxiety, as well as strategies that might help alleviate feelings of anxiety. Twelve participants were interviewed to explore in greater depth the reasons behind their levels of anxiety and perceived ability to interact. Findings indicate that learners used a variety of interactional strategies to facilitate comprehension of input and output and were able to resolve communication breakdowns in the foreign language without having to resort to English. Moreover, the chat transcripts show that these learners??? interactions contain interactional elements beyond the immediate context, such as acknowledgements and dis/affiliative comments. Even though foreign language anxiety scores did not decrease significantly during the course of the study, self-rating scales and interviews revealed a reduction in students??? anxiety levels and an increase in confidence. Findings indicate that the most important factor for students??? confidence in speaking is being able to practise oral language use in engaging, authentic environments with other learners and thereby coming to realise that interactions can be achieved by moving beyond their comfort zone, by taking risks in speaking, by using positive self-talk and by accepting that mistakes are an inevitable part of real-life interactions in a foreign language.

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  • Governing Childhoods Through Stories: A Havelian Analysis of Childhood Subjectivities

    Tesar, Marek (2012)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    The story of childhood is a continuously contested notion. The production of childhoods through children???s literature and the formation of subjectivities through texts, stories and fairy tales are positioned in the centre of this thesis. The preschool magazine Little Bee, and the post-totalitarian, communist Czechoslovakia of the 1970s and 1980s in which it was published, serve as a site of exploration through which the production of childhoods and childhood subjectivities is analysed. The tensions between public, ideal, expected childhoods and private, resistant childhoods filled with desires for alternative experiences are explored through the philosophies of Havel and Foucault. Havel???s work gives this research an analytical framework: I argue that children are the victim, supporter and rebel subjects produced through children???s literature. This subjectification occurs both in the official discourse of education as well as in the secret private places of childhood undergrounds. My analysis complicates the nature of everyday life in post-totalitarian Czechoslovakian kindergartens in the 1970s and 1980s, contests the security and truth of archival data, and leads to the problematisation of how children???s literature and stories produce childhoods and childhood subjectivities. This thesis culminates with connections drawn between the complex power relations of post-totalitarian ideology and the current New Zealand neoliberal discourse of government-funded children???s literature. I argue that the striking resemblance and familiarity of the post-totalitarian and neoliberal contexts analysed exemplify the ways that childhoods are governed through stories in any ideological context.

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  • Same People, Different People Recognition, Knowledge and the (Re)construction of Relationships in Bilua, Vella Lavella

    Krose, Sarah (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    When talking about the past, people of the Bilua region of Vella Lavella frequently lament the pre-Christian era, which is imagined as period of interdependence, partnership and solidarity between diverse groups. During this period, those placed in the relational categories of ???same people??? and ???different people??? were united through intermarriage and the sharing of land. Many juxtapose this era against the present context of more self-serving, globally-inspired agendas associated with ???progress??? and ???development,??? which are seen as influencing recent changes in social structure and land ownership, and as promoting an increasing emphasis on money and consumer goods. In this context, people struggle to reconcile individual opportunity and the distribution of limited monetary wealth and resources with what are presented as the customary values that ideally ensure the continued well-being of communities. Contemporary chiefs who encourage or capitalize on commercial ventures that are associated with logging and development are often privately criticized for prioritizing exclusive monetary interests and neglecting the social and moral well-being of their lineages and communities. Bilua people address the perceived conflict between monetary and social values in terms of a moral framework that simultaneously denigrates individualism and advocates adherence to group affiliation and the ideal of sociality. Through the discursive practices associated with this critique, historical events, myths and gossip are deployed as moral stories which demonstrate the ideals of social solidarity and ???belonging??? ??? the reciprocal relationship between person and group, such that each person is constituted as a person by virtue of their group relationships. This moral framework can be best understood by investigating social practices of recognition, the acknowledgement of common connections and the respectful ways of relating to people based on these shared bonds. Bilua people demonstrate recognition by showing their awareness of nianio, which translates as knowledge, and specifically knowledge of genealogy and the social entanglements of people, land and ancestors. Nianio implies social responsibility: ???to know??? or to understand social connections of kin and social entanglement is to recognize the obligations of connectedness and engage them accordingly. On the interpersonal level, Bilua recognition applies specifically to the acknowledgement and prioritization of relationships through adherence to cultural norms in exchange for support and nurturance. On the wider social level, recognition provides a connecting thread between the triadic, mutually constituting relationships between people, land and ancestors that are foundational to Bilua kastom ??? the values and practices that represent what are considered to be the best parts of the ancestors. Drawing on emerging anthropological approaches to this topic (e.g. Keane 1997; Fabian 1999, 2001; Povinelli 2002; Robbins 2003, 2009), I investigate recognition as a vital and dynamic process through which relationships and cultural knowledge are exercised and renewed. By focusing on the cultural values exhibited through Bilua concerns with recognition and its practice, I interpret the ways in which people engage with ideological constructions of the past and participate in everyday constructions of self and others. My analysis emphasizes the reciprocal social responsibilities that exist between individuals and between groups.

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