4,394 results for Modify

  • Predictors of Workplace Bullying and Cyber-Bullying in New Zealand

    Gardner, Dianne; O’Driscoll, Michael P.; Cooper-Thomas, Helena D.; Roche, Maree A.; Bentley, Tim; Catley, Bevan; Teo, Stephen T. T.; Trenberth, Linda (2016)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Background: The negative effects of in-person workplace bullying (WB) are well established. Less is known about cyber-bullying (CB), in which negative behaviours are mediated by technology. Drawing on the conservation of resources theory, the current research examined how individual and organisational factors were related to WB and CB at two time points three months apart. Methods: Data were collected by means of an online self-report survey. Eight hundred and twenty-six respondents (58% female, 42% male) provided data at both time points. Results: One hundred and twenty-three (15%) of participants had been bullied and 23 (2.8%) of participants had been cyber-bullied within the last six months. Women reported more WB, but not more CB, than men. Worse physical health, higher strain, more destructive leadership, more team conflict and less effective organisational strategies were associated with more WB. Managerial employees experienced more CB than non-managerial employees. Poor physical health, less organisational support and less effective organisational strategies were associated with more CB. Conclusion: Rates of CB were lower than those of WB, and very few participants reported experiencing CB without also experiencing WB. Both forms of bullying were associated with poorer work environments, indicating that, where bullying is occurring, the focus should be on organisational systems and processes.

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  • Lineage overwhelms environmental conditions in determining rhizosphere bacterial community structure in a cosmopolitan invasive plant

    Bowen, J. L.; Kearns, P. J.; Byrnes, J. E. K.; Wigginton, S.; Allen, Warwick; Greenwood, M.; Tran, K.; Yu, J.; Cronin, J. T.; Meyerson, L. A.

    Journal article
    Lincoln University

    Plant–microbe interactions play crucial roles in species invasions but are rarely investigated at the intraspecific level. Here, we study these interactions in three lineages of a globally distributed plant, Phragmites australis. We use field surveys and a common garden experiment to analyze bacterial communities in the rhizosphere of P. australis stands from native, introduced, and Gulf lineages to determine lineage-specific controls on rhizosphere bacteria. We show that within-lineage bacterial communities are similar, but are distinct among lineages, which is consistent with our results in a complementary common garden experiment. Introduced P. australis rhizosphere bacterial communities have lower abundances of pathways involved in antimicrobial biosynthesis and degradation, suggesting a lower exposure to enemy attack than native and Gulf lineages. However, lineage and not rhizosphere bacterial communities dictate individual plant growth in the common garden experiment. We conclude that lineage is crucial for determination of both rhizosphere bacterial communities and plant fitness.

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  • Acceptance of Using an Ecosystem of Mobile Apps for Use in Diabetes Clinic for Self-Management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

    Pais, S; Parry, D; Petrova, K; Rowan, J

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Mobile applications (apps) for self-management of diseases such as diabetes and for general well-being, including keeping track of food, diet, and exercise, are widely available. However, consumers face a flood of new mobile apps in the app stores and have no guidance from clinicians about choosing the appropriate app. As much as clinicians would like to support a patient-centered approach and promote health and wellness mobile apps, they may be unable to provide advice due to the lack of comprehensive and reliable app reviews. This research reviewed a selection of health and wellness mobile apps suitable for the self-management of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). A prototype of an ecosystem that integrated the data generated by the apps was built and its usefulness and ease of use were evaluated. The results show that the ecosystem can provide support for GDM self-management by sharing health and wellness data across the diabetes clinic.

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  • “It’s Not the Way We Use English”—Can We Resist the Native Speaker Stranglehold on Academic Publications?

    Strauss, P

    Journal article
    Auckland University of Technology

    English dominates the academic publishing world, and this dominance can, and often does, lead to the marginalisation of researchers who are not first-language speakers of English. There are different schools of thought regarding this linguistic domination; one approach is pragmatic. Proponents believe that the best way to empower these researchers in their bid to publish is to assist them to gain mastery of the variety of English most acceptable to prestigious journals. Another perspective, however, is that traditional academic English is not necessarily the best medium for the dissemination of research, and that linguistic compromises need to be made. They contend that the stranglehold that English holds in the publishing world should be resisted. This article explores these different perspectives, and suggests ways in which those of us who do not wield a great deal of influence may yet make a small contribution to the levelling of the linguistic playing field, and pave the way for an English lingua franca that better serves the needs of twenty-first century academics.

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  • Algorithmic Design in Hybrid Housing Systems

    Paulin, Robert (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis utilises digital tools to explore notions of flexibility and resilience in the New Zealand suburban house typology. Through aligning with culturally specific paradigms found in traditional Māori Papakāinga settlements, the research questions current western models of community and connectedness through digital simulations. The methodology brings together social, cultural and climactic forces as key influences to internal domestic programme and overall form. The design process is informed by occupancy requirements associated with family types and projected domestic behaviour. This is mapped to cumulative weather data in relation to location and context. Buildable form is therefore a reflection of site specific conditions and planning in relation to various social configurations influenced by culture and community. A key aspect of this research is the creation of a residential model for multi-generational living. Long term adaptability of this residential model is established through planning for future organic expansion & contraction within the development through the careful consideration of modular building platforms that can deal with varying degrees of social diversity. This design research is largely influenced by pre-Socratic theorists and architects working on translating social, geographical and cultural information into data that can inform computational design and simulations. This form of design interpretation through mathematics has arguably stemmed from the birth of calculus in the 17th century, whereby a formula is used to clarify equations with a multitude of variables often represented by Letters and symbols. Utilizing this knowledge in computer aided design (CAD) allows a designer to produce an equation that represents the process from data to design. Aligning design to the mathematical systems allows the work to represent a quantified, systematic depiction of information as opposed to the romanticized view of the ‘Genius Architect’. The workflow and theory behind this research solidifies the role of algorithmic design in architecture and testing the plausibility of these theories in a housing system. While being largely based on the theories of multi-agent systems and algorithmic design, this system also outlines a modular building technology that embellishes design diversity and flexibility. The architecture proposed utilizes parametric design tools and the concept of housing types in a state of flux, whereby the singular entity of the home is considered as part of a much wider collection of housing situations which is forever changing. By adopting the ecological approach seen in nature we allow the space for intergenerational, bicultural living arrangements that have the flexibility to respond to changes without diminishing the flow of social domains.

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  • Talk It Out: Promoting Verbal Communication Through Virtual Reality Games

    Bodnar, James (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Verbal communication skills have been shown to be important for both social and professional settings. However, a need for greater communication skills has been identified for graduated students entering the workplace, specifically task-based verbal communication (Daniels, 2001). In light of these findings new communication teaching techniques need to be explored to better prepare our students for effectively communicating information in their future work environment. This thesis researched the potential for virtual reality video games to promote verbal communication skills in students. The motivation behind using virtual reality video games to teach these skills is based on the theory (Richard Van Eck, 2006) that video games have the potential to enhance the learning outcome of students. Initial research also shows that virtual reality experiences further immerse the player in the educational setting improving their engagement with the game's content (Thornhill-Miller & Dupont, 2016). The thesis researched how virtual reality games can teach verbal communication skills firstly by analysing past works, completing an in- depth literature review and multiple case studies. Secondly, by using research through design methods in the creation of a prototype game that incorporates both communication and game teaching mechanics researched in the first stage. Finally, user tests were conducted on the prototype game to analyse how effective it was at promoting verbal communication skills in students. The paper’s outcome was that virtual reality games can be effective at promoting verbal communication skills and have tested specific teaching techniques and video game mechanics that can be used to effectively promote these skills.

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  • The application of high-resolution atmospheric modelling to weather and climate variability in vineyard regions

    Sturman, A.; Zawar-Reza, P.; Soltanzadeh, I.; Katurji, M.; Bonnardot, V.; Parker, Amber; Trought, Michael C.; Quénol, H.; Le Roux, R.; Gendig, E.; Schulmann, T.

    Journal article
    Lincoln University

    Grapevines are highly sensitive to environmental conditions, with variability in weather and climate (particularly temperature) having a significant influence on wine quality, quantity and style. Improved knowledge of spatial and temporal variations in climate and their impact on grapevine response allows better decision-making to help maintain a sustainable wine industry in the context of medium to long term climate change. This paper describes recent research into the application of mesoscale weather and climate models that aims to improve our understanding of climate variability at high spatial (1 km and less) and temporal (hourly) resolution within vineyard regions of varying terrain complexity. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model has been used to simulate the weather and climate in the complex terrain of the Marlborough region of New Zealand. The performance of the WRF model in reproducing the temperature variability across vineyard regions is assessed through comparison with automatic weather stations. Coupling the atmospheric model with bioclimatic indices and phenological models (e.g. Huglin, cool nights, Grapevine Flowering Véraison model) also provides useful insights into grapevine response to spatial variability of climate during the growing season, as well as assessment of spatial variability in the optimal climate conditions for specific grape varieties.

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  • The NZ Social Science Journal System: Characteristics and Visibility

    Crothers, C

    Journal article
    Auckland University of Technology

    Academic journals are central to the social science knowledge of any society. The set of social science journals sourced in New Zealand or focusing on New Zealand is described in terms of the characteristics of its constituent journals, pointing to ways the system has changed over time. An attempt is made to assess the adequacy of the system as a whole, as well as explaining trends in its development. Without expanding this study considerably it seems possible to draw conclusions that demand for NZ publishing is reasonably balanced with its supply, although there seem to be some areas of considerable supply and a few where there are apparent gaps in coverage. When it comes to the actual operation of journals there may be more strain, with reviewing often requiring many failed attempts before sufficient referees are located. There have been a considerable number of journal ‘failures’ but for the remaining journals their futures seem well-secured, although given the pace of technological developments the longer-term future for the whole of academic publishing seems clouded.

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  • Novel Nutrition Profiling of New Zealanders’ Varied Eating Patterns

    Journal article
    Auckland University of Technology

    There is increasing recognition that the relationship between nutrition and health is influenced by complex eating behaviors. The aims of this study were to develop novel nutrition profiles of New Zealanders and to describe the prevalence of these profiles. Observational, cross-sectional data from the Sovereign Wellbeing Index, 2014 was used to develop the profiles in an a-priori process. Descriptive prevalence for the total data (N = 10,012; 4797 males; 18+ years) and profiles were reported. Nutrition question responses were presented as: Includers (consumed few time a week or more), Avoiders (few time a month) and Limiters (not eaten). Fruit or non-starchy vegetables were Included (fruit: 83.4%, 95% confidence interval (CI: 82.7, 84.1); vegetables: 82.6% (81.8, 83.4)) by the majority of the sample. Also Included were confectionary (48.6% 95% CI (47.6, 49.6)) and full sugar drinks (34.3% (33.4, 35.2)). The derived nutrition profiles were: Junk Food (22.4% 95% CI (21.6, 23.3)), Moderator (43.0% (42.1, 44.0)), High-Carbohydrate (23.0% (22.2, 23.8)), Mediterranean (11.1% (10.5, 11.8)), Flexitarian (8.8% (8.2, 9.4)), and Low-Carbohydrate (5.4% (4.9, 5.8)). This study suggests that New Zealanders follow a number of different healthful eating patterns. Future work should consider how these alternate eating patterns impact on public health.

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  • THINK BIG, act small

    Roach, Elyjana (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Porirua City is twenty minutes north of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. The city is fifty years young and is home to the youngest demographic in the country. The city is culturally diverse but lacks a clear architectural representation of this cultural diversity. The city has developed around a beautiful harbour but the waterfront is underutilised in the city’s urban design. THINK BIG, act small proposes a design strategy that re-invents Porirua City’s urban future by bringing people back to its neglected water-edge. The proposition explores how design as process and outcome can empower a community for the future of a city through spatial agency and social engagement. The thesis explores the designer’s role in this process as landscape architect, architect, and social activist. A series of large, medium and small scale interventions are proposed. The Strategy is presented in three parts: 1. The Toolkit: a kit of architectural ideas designed to re-think the city’s urban environment around its relationship to water. These ideas can be deployed over time. 2. Two Temporary Projects: two small interventions from The Toolkit are tested in Porirua. An art installation and a community pop-up space are used to initiate conversations around the future of the city with people of the city. 3. The Big Move: a series of design moves, both big and small, are proposed as a composite vision for the future of Porirua. The proposition includes outcomes from the community pop-up space. The Big Move proposes a constructed wetland park, a series of blue-green streets, public pools, and housing. The aim is to establish new ecosystems that ease flooding, improve water quality, provide catalyst areas for economic growth, and create new social spaces for the city. The design aims to draw the harbour into the city. Polynesian and Maori attitudes towards land and water are integrated in the design: land is boundless and water is a bridge. A park, Te Awaura Park, is proposed as a ‘soft’ edge to the city’s existing boundary. The narrative of the park expresses the neighbourhood characterstics unique to each suburb in Porirua. The park aims to create a true local space, a space celebrating the city’s people.

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  • Optimising Batting Partnership Strategy in the First Innings of a Limited Overs Cricket Match

    Brown, Patrick (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In cricket, the better an individual batsman or batting partnership performs, the more likely the team is to win. Quantifying batting performance is therefore fundamental to help with in-game decisions, to optimise team performance and maximise chances of winning. Several within-game metrics exist to summarise individual batting performances in cricket. However, these metrics summarise individual performance and do not account for partnership performance. An expectation of how likely a batting partnership is to survive each ball within an innings can enable more effective partnership strategies to optimise a team’s final total. The primary objective of this research was to optimise batting partnership strategy by formulating several predictive models to calculate the probability of a batting partnership being dismissed in the first innings of a limited overs cricket match. The narrowed focus also reduced confounding factors, such as match state. More importantly, the results are of practical significance and provide new insight into how an innings evolves. The model structures were expected to reveal strategies for optimally setting a total score for the opposition to chase. In the first innings of a limited overs cricket match, there is little information available at the commencement and during the innings to guide the team in accumulating a winning total score. The secondary objective of this research was to validate the final models to ensure they were appropriately estimating the ball-by-ball survival probabilities of each batsman, in order to determine the most effective partnership combinations. The research hypothesised that the more effective a batting partnership is at occupying the crease, the more runs they will score at an appropriate rate and the more likely the team is to win the match, by setting a defendable total. Data were split into subsets based on the batting position or wicket. Cox proportional hazard models and ridge regression techniques were implemented to consider the potential effect of eight batting partnership performance predictor variables on the ball-by-ball probability of a batting partnership facing the next ball without being dismissed. The Area Under the Curve (AUC) was implemented as a performance measure used to rank the batting partnerships. Based on One-Day International (ODI) games played between 26th December 2013 and 14th February 2016, the model for opening batting partnerships ranked Pakistani’s A Ali and S Aslam as the optimal opening batting partnership. This method of calculating batting partnership rankings is also positively correlated with typical measures of success: average runs scored, proportion of team runs scored and winning. These findings support the research hypothesis. South African’s, HM Amla and AB de Villiers are ranked as the optimal partnership at wicket two. As at 28th February 2016, these batsmen were rated 6th equal and 2nd in the world respectively. More importantly, these results show that this pair enable South Africa to maximise South Africa’s chances of winning, by setting a total in an optimal manner. New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson, is suggested as the optimal batsman to bat in position three regardless of which opener is dismissed. Reviewing New Zealand’s loss against Australia on 4th December 2016, indicates a suboptimal order was used with JDS Neesham and BJ Watling batting at four and five respectively. Given the circumstances, C Munro and C de Grandhomme were quantified as a more optimal order. The results indicate that for opening batsmen, better team results are obtained when consecutive dot balls are minimised. For top order and middle order batsmen, this criteria is relaxed with the emphasis on their contribution to the team. Additionally, for middle order batsmen, minimising the occasions where 2 runs or less are scored within 4 deliveries is important. In order to validate the final models, each one was applied to the corresponding Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 data. These models were used to generate survival probabilities for IPL batting partnerships. The probabilities were then plotted against survival probabilities for ODI batting partnerships at the same wicket. The AUC was calculated as a metric to determine which models generated survival probabilities characterising the largest difference between IPL partnerships and ODI partnerships. All models were validated by successfully demonstrating the ability of these models to distinguish between higher survival probabilities for ODI partnerships compared with IPL partnerships at the same wicket. This research has successfully determined ball-by-ball survival probabilities for individual batsmen and batting partnerships in limited overs cricket games. Additionally, the work has provided a rigorous quantitative framework for optimising team performance.

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  • Issues and Challenges around the fostering of a productive respectful community ethos within an integrated/inclusive class context

    Cheesman, Sue (2017)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    In teaching and facilitating dance in integrated community contexts, building a community among participants seems critically important. In this context, how are the differing needs of a class managed in order to foster a respectful productive learning environment? How is a sense of agency cultivated? What pedagogical issues arise in such a context? In this article, I attempt to interrogate these questions, recognising strategies, identifying and unpacking some of the negotiations, issues and challenges. My approach draws on the work of Chappell (2011), Kuppers (2007, 2014), Shapiro (1998) and Zitomer (2013). Theorising my personal practice from a dance teacher’s ‘self-narrative’ point of view, interwoven with other viewpoints from dance and educational research, it can be argued that much is to be gained from reflection that empowers teachers and learners in integrated community contexts.

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  • A future-focus for teaching and learning: Technology education in two New Zealand secondary schools

    Reinsfield, Elizabeth (2016)

    Journal article
    University of Waikato

    Technology education has been a part of the New Zealand curriculum in many forms since its inception as a craft subject. With a global push towards technological innovation and an increased awareness of the impact of technology on society, it is reasonable to assume that technology education has an established role in student learning around the local and international social issues that intersect with technology. This article is based on the initial findings of doctoral research, which aims to illustrate how teacher’s perceptions and previous experiences influence their understandings around the nature of technology education in their school.

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  • Loss of functional diversity and network modularity in introduced plant–fungal symbioses

    Dickie, Ian; Cooper, J. A.; Bufford, Jennifer; Hulme, Philip E.; Bates, S. T.

    Journal article
    Lincoln University

    The introduction of alien plants into a new range can result in the loss of co-evolved symbiotic organisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi, that are essential for normal plant physiological functions. Prior studies of mycorrhizal associations in alien plants have tended to focus on individual plant species on a case-by-case basis. This approach limits broad scale understanding of functional shifts and changes in interaction network structure that may occur following introduction. Here we use two extensive datasets of plant–fungal interactions derived from fungal sporocarp observations and recorded plant hosts in two island archipelago nations: New Zealand (NZ) and the United Kingdom (UK). We found that the NZ dataset shows a lower functional diversity of fungal hyphal foraging strategies in mycorrhiza of alien when compared with native trees. Across species this resulted in fungal foraging strategies associated with alien trees being much more variable in functional composition compared with native trees, which had a strikingly similar functional composition. The UK data showed no functional difference in fungal associates of alien and native plant genera. Notwithstanding this, both the NZ and UK data showed a substantial difference in interaction network structure of alien trees compared with native trees. In both cases, fungal associates of native trees showed strong modularity, while fungal associates of alien trees generally integrated into a single large module. The results suggest a lower functional diversity (in one dataset) and a simplification of network structure (in both) as a result of introduction, potentially driven by either limited symbiont co-introductions or disruption of habitat as a driver of specificity due to nursery conditions, planting, or plant edaphic-niche expansion. Recognizing these shifts in function and network structure has important implications for plant invasions and facilitation of secondary invasions via shared mutualist populations

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  • Ammonium sorption and ammonia inhibition of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria explain contrasting soil N₂O production

    Venterea, R. T.; Clough, Timothy J.; Coulter, J. A.; Breuillin-Sessoms, F.; Wang, P.; Sadowsky, M. J.

    Journal article
    Lincoln University

    Better understanding of process controls over nitrous oxide (N₂O) production in urine-impacted 'hot spots' and fertilizer bands is needed to improve mitigation strategies and emission models. Following amendment with bovine (Bos taurus) urine (Bu) or urea (Ur), we measured inorganic N, pH, N₂O, and genes associated with nitrification in two soils ('L' and 'W') having similar texture, pH, C, and C/N ratio. Solution-phase ammonia (slNH₃) was also calculated accounting for non-linear ammonium (NH₄⁺) sorption capacities (ASC). Soil W displayed greater nitrification rates and nitrate (NO₃⁻) levels than soil L, but was more resistant to nitrite (NO₂⁻) accumulation and produced two to ten times less N₂O than soil L. Genes associated with NO₂⁻oxidation (nxrA) increased substantially in soil W but remained static in soil L. Soil NO₂⁻was strongly correlated with N₂O production, and cumulative (c-) slNH₃ explained 87% of the variance in c-NO₂⁻. Differences between soils were explained by greater slNH₃ in soil L which inhibited NO₂⁻oxidization leading to greater NO₂⁻ levels and N₂O production. This is the first study to correlate the dynamics of soil slNH₃, NO₂⁻, N₂O and nitrifier genes, and the first to show how ASC can regulate NO₂⁻ levels and N₂O production. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

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  • What happens at work goes home: Investigating secondary traumatic stress and social support among the partners of New Zealand's Police, Fire, Ambulance and Defence Personnel

    Alrutz, Anna Stowe (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Police, fire, ambulance and defence force personnel (responders) risk experiencing dangerous activities, traumatic events and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. In turn, spouses/partners (partners) of these responders risk developing secondary traumatic stress (STS) as they are exposed vicariously to the trauma through communication with their responders. The research aimed to address the question: How do the partners of NZ defence and emergency responders respond to work stress experienced by their responder? The study used six research questions and six hypotheses to identify resources and barriers towards effective management of STS. A mixed methods approach assessed the experience of STS among the partners of New Zealand???s (NZ) responders. Using this approach the researchers interviewed participants prior to survey data collection and again after the survey to facilitate interpretation and incorporate feedback. After pilot-testing, the anonymous online survey was made available nationwide. The survey measured STS in partners, perceived stigma towards help-seeking, partner resilience and relationship satisfaction. The survey asked if the defence and emergency responder???s organisation invited partners to events, offered inductions, or offered informational resources to manage stress. Partners were asked who they turned to when dealing with stressful situations experienced by their responder. The survey concluded with open-ended questions about organisational engagement with the partners and responders. Themes were identified from analysis of the qualitative responses given by the 835 partners of NZ responders. A hypothesised model was produced and tested using multiple regression (n=664) which led to the creation of a structural equation model (SEM) (n=547) to describe interactions between resources and barriers. The study found that 20???35% of partners experience significant symptoms of STS and almost half feel unsupported when managing stressful issues experienced by their responders. Positive organisational communication benefits partners and reduces psychosocial risks. The thematic analyses endorsed increasing partner self-efficacy and encourages organisations to identify partner accessible resources. Triangulating the results obtained from these mixed methods highlights challenges faced by partners of defence and emergency responders and suggest how direct organisational engagement with the partners of their employees could reduce risks associated with secondary exposure to trauma.

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  • Toward an Electronic Ephemera: Exploring Architectural Atmosphere in Real-time Virtual Engines

    Blenkarne, Eliot (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Architectural visualisation is often viewed with a degree of hesitancy by the architectural profession, for a perceived lack of criticality in the methods and outputs – particularly with the rise of hyper-real still imagery production. However, photography too suffers from a certain disconnect from an authentic experience of space, which we experience through our moving within it, our sensory gamut stimulated by the atmosphere memorable architecture possesses. This atmosphere is a holistic assemblage of design decisions made by the building designer, connected to mass, light, materiality, sound, among others. The field of gaming has been able to deploy many of these characteristics in virtual space for decades in some manner, and the tools used have been refined to the point where they are technically, and fiscally accessible to architecture. This thesis proposes that real-time virtual engines, as used by game designers, can extend the field of architectural representation and design, by better conveying a sense of architectural atmosphere and providing increased immersion in virtual space compared to traditional techniques. It first seeks to define what architectural atmosphere may be recognised as, and how it may be caused to manifest, and then applies these findings to virtual space as a means to test the relationship between the real and unreal. Further to this, it applies this methodology to an iterative design process of both an architectural and virtual nature, with a final output that demonstrates the result of both concurrently.

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  • Assessing the Potential for Agonistic Engagement Among Accountants: A quasi-experimental repeated Q study of social and environmental reporting

    Sorola, Matthew (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    A number of writers have recently criticised a perceived narrowness in accountants’ understanding of their profession. In particular, they claim that the predominant focus on shareholders and capital markets may be at the expense of wider public interests that accounting should serve. As accountants engage increasingly with a variety of complex and politically contentious issues, there is cause for concern regarding their capacity to represent and engage with non-financial interests. Some of these concerns are reflected in ongoing debates regarding social and environmental reporting (SER). Accountants are important players in the SER field. They have high-profile roles as self-proclaimed ‘thought leaders’ in areas such as sustainability and integrated reporting, and are increasingly involved in developing SER concepts and practices, discussion papers and best practice guidance. These technologies increasingly rely on, and are legitimised by, their incorporation of a plurality of perspectives. However, both academics and civil society groups have raised concerns that professional accounting bodies are too closely aligned with business interests, and prioritise ‘business case’ (BC) understandings of concepts such as SER, which favour shareholder-oriented perspectives. As in other areas of policy controversy, the capacity to engage with a plurality of perspectives is important because of its impact on, inter alia, the issues that are recognised, how problems are conceived and responded to, and which or whose perspectives are prioritised. While prior research has explored management and stakeholder perspectives, there has been very little research to date on accountants’ perspectives on SER. Relatedly, relatively little is known about accountants’ abilities to incorporate a multiplicity of views when attempting to engage with complex issues. This study seeks to fill this gap. My research was designed as a quasi-experimental investigation that uses Constructive Conflict Methodology (CCM) and Q methodology (QM) to examine divergent perspectives of SER among three groups of accountants: academics, practitioners, and students. In particular, my research explores the use of CCM as a framework, which when implemented via QM, can help operationalise the theoretical developments of an agonistic approach to critical dialogic accounting (CDA). Drawing on applications of CCM and QM in political theory and policy analysis, my research design is divided into two distinct phases. Phase One focuses on identifying and understanding the range of perspectives among participants regarding SER. Informed by this understanding, Phase Two develops a workshop, the SER Dialogue, to bring together participants who are representative of the diverse perspectives identified. In Phase One, 34 participants’ perspectives of SER were explored through a mix of semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and QM. The participants evidenced a range of diverse understandings of SER, with three general approaches identified from participants’ Q data: the Critical (F1(CR)), Business Case (F2(BC)) and Incremental Change (F3(INC)) approaches. These general categorisations helped identify differences, inconsistencies and contradictions in the participants’ ideological orientations and illustrated the contested discursive landscape within which SER is conceptualised. Participants’ alignment with each general category also identified possible constraints in their capacity to recognise and understand divergent perspectives. Informed by these insights, Phase Two focused on developing a discursive space for agonistic pluralist engagement (the SER Dialogue) with a group of participants, representing the three diverse perspectives. Ultimately, these participants had both a larger number and magnitude of shifts in their perspective of SER compared to a control group. There was also a general increase in alignment with F1(CR), with many participants demonstrating the development of critically pluralist and reflexive understandings. These findings illustrate the potential for agonistic pluralist engagement to develop accountants’ capacity for pluralist engagement with perspectives surrounding complex and politically contentious issues, while also enabling resistance to the hegemony of BC perspectives within the field of accounting.

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  • The Stranger

    Young, Christopher (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    How can humanity possibly become sustainable in the future if we cannot think or plan sustainably in the present? This project aims to challenge people’s current thinking, raising awareness that the issue of sustainability will not be resolved without a significant cultural shift in our relationship with our world’s environmental systems. The thesis addresses this through an architectural narrative conceived to enhance the viewer’s awareness of how our interdependent relationship with machines and industry has led to this dire situation. Prior to the Industrial Revolution the environment could regenerate and recover faster than humanity could destroy it. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution this changed and environmental degradation has rapidly increased out of control. The result is that today we need to evolve and change our thinking rather than be limited by our tools if we are to be sustainable. It is this at present unsustainable relationship between mechanical industry and human behaviour that this thesis exposes through speculative architecture. The investigation explores how architectural allegory can be an effective way of conveying a message with multiple layers of interpretation and meaning - a message capable of addressing important environmental, political, economic and social issues. The title of the thesis is taken from Albert Camus’s novel l’Étranger (The Stranger) as well as Georg Simmel’s essay “The Stranger”, which was written as an excursus to a chapter dealing with sociology of space in his book Soziologie. In this thesis, as an architectural allegory, the Stranger’s architectural habitat is composed of a myriad of integrated machines that symbolise our time and place identity: a Theodolite that surveys the land; a Clock that keeps the time; a Loom that reflects the folklore of fate; a Compass that represents direction, and a Camera Obscura through which the Stranger views his/her surroundings. The Stranger lives in the Camera Obscura, a compartment with a periscopic lens focused across the Cook Strait to South Island. When (s)he activates the Loom, it pulls the living compartment along tracks toward the core, where (s)he descends into the central volume of the Theodolite. A Compass on the top of the structure points towards landmarks across the Cook Strait while the mechanical workings are inspired by the internals of a mechanical Clock. The overall programme for the thesis investigation is an Aquaponics Lab, a self-contained environment that grows marine life in an aquaculture system, using their waste to fertilise plant life in a hydroponic system, and using their nutrients in turn to feed the marine life. The flora and fauna continually sustain one another in an eternal cycle - the machines replicating a perfect natural system. The thesis takes the form of a day in the life of the Stranger. The reader witnesses the sequential daily rituals of the Stranger as (s)he moves through the machines from sunrise to sunset.

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  • A city is not a tree

    Richards, Michael (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This research investigates the generation of urban environments through the use of visual programming tools. These tools enable the procedural creation of architectural geometries for installation in design environments, with a focus on producing outputs for virtual implementation, including small scale built environments, individual buildings, city blocks, and neighbourhoods. The creation of large-scale urban environments is a complex and time-consuming task. Subsequently, this field of research has a high level of relevance in the areas of architecture, design, urban planning, film, entertainment, and so forth. In most situations, the groups responsible for the creation of these environments do not contain members with architectural backgrounds. Instead, they consist of designers, computer scientists, technicians, and other specialists. These groups are reliant on their collective experience, skill, and reference materials to create their works. This thesis proposes that architects possess knowledge, skills, and training suitable for utilisation by this industry. As such, this research explores applying an architectural education with a greater multidisciplinary focus. This investigation concludes that while visual programming tools are incredibly powerful, they have their limitations. This research further concludes that because there are so many facets to the creation of these environments this area of investigation is best suited to a team of researchers. While individuals can achieve a significant amount, the contribution of outside parties would have had benefits at every stage of the work. The sharing of knowledge, skills, and understandings would allow for the creation of systems that function to generate the best outcomes possible.

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