511 results for Scholarly text, 2017

  • Late Quaternary vegetation and climate history reconstructed from palynology of marine cores off southwestern New Zealand

    Ryan, Matthew Thomas (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Little is known about how mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere terrestrial vegetation responded during glacial terminations and the warmer phases of the Late Quaternary, especially beyond the last glacial cycle where records are commonly fragmentary and poorly-dated. The timing, magnitude and sequence of environmental changes are investigated here for terminations (T) I, II and V and their subsequent warm interglacials of MIS 1, 5e and 11 by direct correlation of terrestrial palynomorphs (pollen and spores) and marine climate indicators in marine piston cores MD06-2990/2991 recovered from the East Tasman Sea, west of South Island, New Zealand. The climate there is strongly influenced by the prevailing mid-latitude westerly wind belt that generates significant amounts of orographic rainfall and the proximity of the ocean which moderates temperature variability. Chronological constraint for the cores is provided by δ¹⁸O stratigraphy, radiocarbon chronology and the identification of two widespread silicic tephra horizons (25.6 ka Kawakawa/Oruanui Tephra (KOT); ~345 ka Rangitawa Tephra (RtT)) sourced from the central North Island. Similar vegetation changes over the last two glacial cycles at MD06-2991 and in the adjacent nearby on land record of vegetation-climate change from Okarito Bog permit transfer of the well resolved Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) chronology to Okarito for the pre radiocarbon dated interval (~139-28 ka). Placing both sequences on a common age scale nonetheless assumes there is minimal lag between pollen production and final deposition on the seafloor. However, the timing of Late Pleistocene palynomorph events and KOT between independently dated marine and terrestrial sedimentary sequences are found in this study to be indistinguishable, which supports the direct transfer of terrestrially derived ages to the marine realm and vice versa. Vegetation change in southwestern New Zealand is of similar structure during T-I and T-II, despite different amplitudes of forcing (i.e., insolation rise, CO₂ concentrations). In a climate amelioration scenario, shrubland-grassland gave rise to dominantly podocarp-broadleaf forest taxa, with accompanying rises in mean annual air temperature (MAAT) estimated from Okarito pollen typically synchronous with nearby ocean temperatures. The T-II amelioration commenced after ~139 ka in response to increasing boreal summer insolation intensity, with prominent ocean-atmosphere warming over the period from ~133-130 ka. In contrast, northern mid-high latitude paleoclimate records display cooling over Heinrich Stadial 11 (~135-130 ka), and are prominently warm from ~130-128 ka, while southwestern New Zealand and the adjacent ocean displays cooling. Such millennial-scale climate asynchrony between the hemispheres is most likely a result of a systematic, but non-linear re-organisation of the ocean-atmosphere circulation system in response to orbital forcing. The subsequent MIS 5e climatic optimum in Westland was between ~128-123 ka, with maximum temperatures reconstructed in the ocean and atmosphere of 2.5°C and 1.5°C higher than present. Similarities revealed between land and sea pollen records in southwestern New Zealand over the last ~160 ka offer confidence for assessing vegetation and climate for older intervals, including T-V/MIS 11, for which no adjacent terrestrial equivalents currently exist. Vegetation change over T-V is similar to T-II and T-I, with southern warming antiphased with northern mid-high latitude cooling. Tall trees and the thermophilous shrub Ascarina lucida define interglacial conditions in the study region between ~428-396 ka. East Tasman Sea surface temperatures rose in two phases; 435-426 ka (MIS 12a-MIS 11e) and 417-407 ka (MIS 11c climatic optimum), reaching at least ~1.5-2°C warmer than present over the latter. Similarly, Ascarina lucida dominance over MIS 11c is akin to that displayed during the early Holocene climatic optimum (11.5-9 ka) in west-central North Island, where MAAT average ~3°C higher today. This contrasts markedly with the dominance of the tall tree conifer Dacrydium cupressinum for the Holocene (MIS 1) and last interglacial (MIS 5e) in southwestern New Zealand. Biogeographic barriers are proposed to have inhibited the migration of species from more northerly latitudes better adapted to warmer climatic conditions over MIS 5e and MIS 11.

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  • How can the Oculus Rift enrich the interactive storytelling experience?

    Ali, Mohsin (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The technology of today, such as the Oculus Rift, can provide immersion in ways that were unachievable in the past. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that allows the user to see the three-dimensional world without the use of a traditional monitor. Unlike television, computer and mobile screens, a virtual reality headset digitally transports the user into the environment. Functionality such as depth tracking and rotational head tracking provides immersion unlike anything experienced to date. My interest is to investigate interactive storytelling in combination with the Oculus Rift, to determine if virtual reality headsets can enrich storytelling experiences. This will be achieved by developing an application where interactive storytelling is compatible with the Oculus Rift, and testing that application with participants. Finally, a conclusion will be drawn from the data collected by participants. Alongside the written thesis, a digital application will be produced in Unreal Engine 4 (Video game engine). The application will be an Oculus Rift driven experience, meaning that users can only experience it through an Oculus Rift. The application will have an interactive plot, which allows the user to influence the storyline. The design will be iterative and will be refined after each user testing session. The application hopes to strengthen the theories and concepts found in the written section of the thesis.

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  • Butoh: Granting Art Status to an Indefinable Form

    Caldwell, Shane (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Butoh is a kind of art, but exactly what kind of art is not so easy to see. While traditionally considered a type of dance, there are a number of butoh works that are not readily identifiable as dance works, if in fact they count as dance at all. Through the use of Noël Carroll’s narrative theory of art, I will show how butoh comes to be thought of as art even if it fails to match up exactly with any one pre-existing art form. I will show how the context in which butoh came into being is sufficient for granting butoh art status due to its relation to existing art forms. I compare butoh to its two most similar analogues, dance and performance art, and examine how it resembles and differs from each of them. I also show how the reason categorising butoh as only one kind of art form is problematic due to its being part of a non- Western aesthetic tradition that does not break the world up into such easily separable pieces.

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  • Orisa-Shakespeare: A study of Shakespeare Adaptations Inspired by the Yoruba Tradition

    Balogun, Olalekan Is’haq (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis combines creative practice with critical analysis to intervene in the field of post-colonial Shakespeare where, for over a generation, the process of adaptation has been presented as one of the main strategies by which Shakespeare’s ambiguous legacy in successor cultures can be both confronted and manipulated. Scholars often use the term “writing back” to designate a set of adaptations which challenge the cultural capital that Shakespeare privileges. By linking Yoruba spirituality in its political and cultural terms to the wider field of the relation between Africa, African writers and theatre makers and Shakespeare, the thesis proposes a new sub-field or genre of adaptations, “Orisa-Shakespeare,” rooted in Yoruba traditions. The thesis argues that, written in Nigeria and the Yoruba global diaspora, this set of adaptations are not necessarily challenging the Shakespeare canon but addressing their own societies, thus “writing forward.” The thesis examines the cultural and political significance of this bourgeoning body of adaptations of Shakespeare through the lens of Yoruba epistemology and its aesthetic principles. The thesis is broadly divided into two parts: an exegesis of selected adaptations of Shakespeare as case studies of post-colonial works that reflect and integrate Yoruba creative and performative idioms and translate them into dramaturgy; and an original play, Emi Caesar! in which core elements of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar are transplanted into the complex, violent world of Yoruba politics of the mid-19th century, as a parable for contemporary Nigeria politics where factionalism (specifically tribal/ethnic bigotry) works against the integrity and security of the society. In the context that the thesis proposes, the present has constant recourse to the past, especially the ancestors, and engages in rituals which create ongoing, living links between human beings and the realm of the Yoruba Gods (Orisa).The outcomes are the documentation of a uniquely Yoruba theory of literary creativity, a new play based on Julius Caesar, and an original contribution to the broad field of postcolonial (Shakespeare) adaptations scholarship.

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  • Early to middle Eocene calcareous nannofossils of the SW Pacific: Paleobiogeography and paleoclimate

    Shepherd, Claire Louise (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Earth’s climate underwent a long-term warming trend from the late Paleocene to early Eocene (~58–51 Ma), with global temperature reaching a sustained maximum during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO; 53–50 Ma). Geochemical proxies indicate tropical or warm subtropical sea-surface temperature (SST) conditions in middle and high latitudes in the early Eocene, implying a very low latitudinal temperature gradient. This study investigates whether calcareous nannofossil assemblages in the southwest (SW) Pacific provide evidence of these conditions at middle latitudes in the early to middle Eocene, particularly during the EECO. Specifically, this study documents the biogeographic changes of warm- and cold-water nannofossil species along a paleolatitudinal transect through the EECO to track changes in water masses/ocean circulation at that time. Early to middle Eocene calcareous nannofossil assemblages were examined from four sites along a latitudinal transect in the SW Pacific, extending from Lord Howe Rise in the north to Campbell Plateau in the south and spanning a paleolatitude of ~46–54°S. All of the sections studied in this project span nannofossil zones NP10–16 (Martini, 1971). The data indicate up to three regional unconformities through the sections: at mid-Waipara, Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 207 and 277, part or all of Zone NP10 (lower Waipawan) is missing; at Sites 207 and 277 a possible hiatus occurs within NP12 (upper Waipawan–lower Mangaorapan); and at all sites part or all of Zone NP15 (lower Bortonian) is missing. Results of this study indicate that nannofossil assemblages in the SW Pacific are more similar to floras at temperate to polar sites rather than those at tropical/subtropical sites. However, variations in the relative abundance of key species in the SW Pacific are broadly consistent with the trends seen in the geochemical proxy records: an increase in warm-water taxa coincided with the EECO, corroborating geochemical evidence for a temperature maximum in the SW Pacific during this interval. The increase in the abundance and diversity of warm-water taxa and decrease in the abundance of cool-water taxa through the EECO supports previous suggestions that a warm-water mass (northward of the proto-Tasman Front) extended to ~55°S paleolatitude during this interval in response to enhanced poleward heat transport and intensification of the proto-East Australian Current. At the southernmost site, DSDP Site 277, a relatively short-lived influx of warm-water taxa at ~51 Ma suggests that warm waters expanded south at this time. However, greater diversity and abundance of warm-water taxa throughout the EECO at DSDP Site 207, suggests that the proto-East Australian Current exerted greater influence at this latitude for a longer duration than at Site 277. An increase in the abundance of cool-water taxa and decrease in diversity and abundance of warm-water taxa at all sites is recorded following the termination of the EECO. This corresponds with the contraction of the proto-Tasman Front due to weakened proto-East Australian Current flow and associated amplification of the proto-Ross Gyre. Previous estimates of SSTs from geochemical proxies in the SW Pacific during the EECO indicate that there was virtually no latitudinal temperature gradient and temperatures were tropical to subtropical (>20°C). However, nannofossil data from this study indicate warm temperate conditions (~15–20°C) during the EECO, suggesting that a reduced latitudinal gradient was maintained through this interval, which is in agreement with climate models.

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  • Women Album Makers from the Canterbury Region of New Zealand, 1890-1910, and Their Photographic Practices

    Hearnshaw, Victoria Annabel (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis examines the photograph albums created by fifteen women born during the reign of Queen Victoria living in the Canterbury region of New Zealand between the years 1890-1910. It will investigate how it was that these women, often working in close association with other members of their family, became involved in photography as an amateur recreational pastime. It will pursue this investigation within the conceptual and structural framework in which these women’s photographs were produced, collected or processed, and organized into albums, arguing that the making of such albums was as much a cultural and social practice as a representational one. Photograph albums are often considered to be generic objects. However this study will treat albums as distinctive and unique documents, comparable to other more-widely consulted primary sources such as letters and diaries. In particular, it will explore the capacity of the album to be a pictorial artefact that provides its own conditions for viewing images over time and space and contribute to a growing body of literature that insists that the photograph album is an important object of study within social history, and indeed within the history of photography in general. In drawing attention to the album making as a gendered pastime I am acknowledging the significance of this activity for women from within the upper and middle classes as a significant aspect of feminine cultural production at this period in our colonial history. As cameras became easier to operate towards the end of the nineteenth century these improvements saw women begin to take their own photographs, and also to print and distribute them within their extended families and beyond. This reflects the extent to which the practices of photography and album-making had become integrated practices by this date. Thus, the role of the album compiler working in the domestic sphere was effectively transformed from a passive consumer (collecting photographs) into an active producer of photographs. However, the extent to which the practice of photography was undertaken by women within colonial New Zealand is only now beginning to be realized. To date, the published evidence for this has been slight. This thesis endeavours to shed light on the contribution of these women working within the domestic sphere, but also those of their number who subsequently ventured to use this knowledge outside this limited sphere, and on their visual legacy at this formative period in New Zealand’s history.

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  • Why you should use high frequency data to test the impact of exchange rate on trade

    Shaar, Karam; Khaled, Mohammed (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This study suggests that testing the impact of exchange rate on trade should be done using high frequency data. Using different data frequencies for identical periods and specifications between the US and Canada, we show that low frequency data might suppress and distort the evidence of the impact of exchange rate on trade in the short-run and the long-run.

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  • International trade data quality index

    Shaar, Karam (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    When two countries report different values about trading with each other, the globally endemic phenomenon of trade data discrepancy arises. Substantial discrepancy in claims raises serious concerns about the quality of international trade data, which has profound implications on policymakers and researchers alike. In this paper, we construct an index which measures the level of consistency between each country’s reports on bilateral trade data and the corresponding data reported by the rest of the world. The index takes into account the relative significance of each trade partner and the level of data availability. The paper investigates 1,517,085 bilateral trade flows from 1962 to 2013 and concludes that: (a) malpractice is the main reason why some countries have lower data quality than others, (b) for most countries, trade data quality is in fact improving over time, (c) countries are generally more aware of the origin of their imports than they are aware of the destination of their exports. Our original findings have impacts on any study which utilizes trade data.

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  • Thresholds, Text Coverage, Vocabulary Size, and Reading Comprehension in Applied Linguistics

    Larson, Myq (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The inextricable link between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension is incontrovertible. However, questions remain regarding the nature of the interaction. One question which remains unresolved is whether there is an optimum text coverage, or ratio of known to unknown words in a text, such that any deleterious effects of the unknown words on reading comprehension are minimised. A related question is what vocabulary size would a reader need to have in order to achieve the optimum text coverage for a given text or class of texts. This thesis addresses these questions in three ways. First, a replication and expansion of a key study (Hu & Nation, 2000)1 was performed. In that study, 98% text coverage was found to be optimal for adequate reading comprehension of short fiction texts when reading for pleasure. To replicate that study, equivalent measures of reading comprehension were collected from a more homogeneous group of participants at a university in northern Thailand (n = 138), under stricter conditions and random assignment to one of three text coverage conditions, to verify the generalisability of the results. The original study was also expanded by measuring reader characteristics thought to contribute to reading comprehension, such as vocabulary size, l1 and l2 literacy, and reading attitudes, in an effort to improve the explainable reading comprehension variance. In order to more accurately calculate the text coverage a reader experiences for a particular text, both the vocabulary profile of the text and the vocabulary size of the reader must be known as precisely as possible. Therefore, to contribute to the question of vocabulary size, changes such as measuring item completion time and varying the order of item presentation were made to the VST (P. Nation & Beglar, 2007) to improve its sensitivity and accuracy. This may ultimately lead to increased precision when using text coverage to predict reading comprehension. Finally, l2 English vocabulary size norms were established to supplement the diagnostic usefulness of the VST. Data were collected through an online version of the VST created for this thesis from primarily self-selected participants (n 1:31 105) located in countries (n 100) around the world representing several l1 and age groups. Analysis of the data collected for this thesis suggest that text coverage explains much less reading comprehension variance than previously reported while vocabulary size may be a more powerful predictor. An internal replication of Hu and Nation (2000) found errors in the calculation of optimum text coverage and in the reported size of the effect on reading comprehension. A critical review of the theoretical foundations of the text coverage model of reading comprehension found serious flaws in construct operationalisation and research design. Due to these flaws, most research which has purported to measure the effect of text coverage on reading comprehension actually measured the effect of an intervening variable: readers’ vocabulary size. Vocabulary size norms derived from data collected through an online version of the VST appear to be reliable and representative. Varying item presentation order appears to increase test sensitivity. Despite a moderate effect for l1 English users, item completion time does not seem to account for any variance in vocabulary size scores for l2 English learners. Based on the finding that vocabulary size may explain both reading comprehension and text coverage, the putative power of text coverage to predict reading comprehension is challenged. However, an alternative measure which may offer greater power to predict reading comprehension, the VST, has been modified and made available online. This version of the VST may provide greater sensitivity and ease of use than the offline, paper-based version.

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  • A Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise Lost? The Role of Preferences and Planning in Achieving Urban Sustainability in Wellington, New Zealand

    Dodge, Nadine (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis investigates the scope for compact development to accommodate population growth in Wellington, New Zealand. The topic is particularly significant for New Zealand as the great majority of the population lives in urban areas, historical development has been dominated by low density urban form, and transport and urban form are two of the main domains in which the country can reduce its carbon emissions. The influence of urban planning and residents’ preferences on achieving sustainable outcomes is investigated. Historical and current planning rules and transport policies in the City are analysed to determine their influence on the provision of compact development. Wellington’s transport policy shows a pattern of path dependency: historical decisions to favour car oriented investment have driven subsequent transport investments and influenced the ease of using different transport modes. Planning policies show a similar pattern of path dependency: planning rules enacted in the 1960s endure in present planning despite being packaged with different justifications and regulatory regime. Current planning rules severely restrict infill development in most existing neighbourhoods, which reduces the availability of housing in accessible medium density neighbourhoods and likely increases the cost of this type of housing. A stated choice survey was conducted of 454 residents of Wellington City to investigate the extent to which there is an unmet demand for compact development and alternatives to car travel. The survey held presentation mode constant across two completion modes (internet and door to door with tablet completion), allowing the impacts of recruitment and completion mode to be examined. Survey recruitment mode appeared to influence both response rates and the representativeness of the survey, while completion mode appeared to have little or no impact on survey responses. Using the stated choice survey results, a latent class model was developed to examine the preferences of residents and the trade-offs they are willing to make when choosing where to live. This type of model allows for the identification of preference groups as a means of understanding the diversity of preferences across the population. The study found that there is an unmet demand for medium density, accessible housing, but that affordability is a barrier for households to choose this type of housing. There was also an unmet demand for walking and cycling, with more residents currently driving than would prefer to use this mode, and more residents preferring to walk and cycle to work than currently use these modes. The ability to use a desired travel mode appears to be related to the neighbourhood in which a person lives, with residents of medium and high density neighbourhoods being more likely to use their preferred travel mode. This study also modelled future development trajectories for Wellington based on demand for housing, neighbourhood and transport attributes. This preference based growth model was contrasted with the City’s plan for development over the next 30 years. Comparing the two scenarios, the planning based trajectory performed better than the demand based scenario in terms of both carbon emissions and achieving compact development.

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  • The Environmental Regulation of Marine Carbon Capture and Storage in New Zealand: Principles, Barriers and Gaps

    Severinsen, Gregory (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis concerns the regulation of a technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS). The technology is one way to mitigate anthropogenic climate change, by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at point sources (such as power or industrial plants) and injecting them into deep underground geological formations. Specifically, the thesis looks at the framework of public environmental law that is needed for CCS in New Zealand where injection occurs offshore in its coastal marine area and exclusive economic zone. The thesis concludes that, when tested against existing principles in New Zealand's environmental law and the requirements of international law, current provisions in domestic law contain both significant barriers and gaps. These barriers must be removed and gaps must be filled. The thesis identifies three broad features of New Zealand's law that give rise to a range of barriers and that need to be addressed. First, there is substantial uncertainty as to how existing provisions would apply to CCS. Greater certainty is needed. Secondly, the classification of CCS as a form of marine dumping presents a significant barrier. The technology needs to be classified differently, and more positively. Thirdly, the law contains a general prohibition on considering the effects of activities on climate change. This may prevent CCS being deployed in practice, and needs to be reconsidered. New Zealand's existing law also contains three potential gaps, which must be filled. First, there is a dearth of CCS-specific regulatory and policy provisions within existing regimes such as the Resource Management Act 1991. This means operators and regulators would be operating in a regulatory and policy vacuum. Decisions may be inconsistent, fail to impose appropriate environmental standards, or fail to give appropriate weight to relevant considerations. Secondly, there are limitations in the ability of existing regimes to regulate the positive effects of activities – such as climate change mitigation - to ensure that they are actually achieved. Thirdly, existing law does not facilitate the kind of targeted and comparative decision-making process needed for CCS. This means that it does not provide an effective process for resolving tensions between competing resource interests in the sub-seabed.

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  • Negotiating multiple identities in educational contexts: Stories of Tamil Heritage Language Users as Multilingual Malaysians

    Sithraputhran, Thilegawathy (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Malaysia is a multilingual and multicultural society comprising of ethnic Malays (dominant group) followed by ethnic Chinese, Indians and other indigenous groups. The national language is Malay and English is the second language. Heritage languages such as Mandarin and Tamil are used as the language of instruction in some primary schools. This study explores how a group of Tamil Heritage Language Users from Tamil primary schools (THLU-Ts) at a private university recounted maneuvering through their multilingual world during their early lives at Tamil primary school, at state secondary school (Malay) and then at a private university (English). Nine first year undergraduate participants were selected from a private university in Malaysia where English is the medium of instruction. They were selected as THLU-Ts based on two criteria. Firstly, they were ethnic Tamils and secondly, they had completed six years of primary education at Tamil primary school. I used photovoice interviews to construct their narratives. The participants, prompted by photographs they brought as artefacts, described their language experiences in a multilingual setting. The participants’ voices were storied into narratives based on three narrative inquiry strategies of broadening, burrowing and restorying. Two in-depth interviews were conducted over a six month period and these were video-taped and transcribed. The interview transcript from each first interview contributed to a narrative summary or story. This was a general description of the participant and events (broadening stage). The second interview was held towards the end of the semester. During the second interview, participants were asked to reflect on their narrative summaries (which had been distributed earlier) and comment on them. I sought data to reexamine the existing data (burrowing stage) before rewriting a complete and coherent story (restorying) for each participant. This story was also individually reviewed by each participant. Data analysis was an iterative process that included storying and coding. I identified three broad themes and then examined them in the light of relevant literature. This analysis allowed me to understand how the THLU-Ts shaped their identities during social interactions with different linguistic communities in Malaysia, including THLU-Ms (ethnic Tamils from national primary schools) and non-Tamils (Malays and Chinese). Initially, THLU-Ts faced challenges as they transitioned to secondary school coming from a Tamil- medium primary school. At secondary school, they had to adjust to a Malay linguistic environment for the first time. As their proficiency in Malay grew, they felt they were accepted as authentic members of the academic community. When they entered the English-medium university, there was pressure to develop proficiency in English. They repositioned themselves once again and made deliberate language choices during social interaction with other linguistic communities. When the findings were viewed through Blommaert’s sociolinguistic scales, it was apparent that participants scaled languages depending on the value assigned to each one (Malay, English and Tamil). This reflected the way language was used in society. As powerful multilinguals who invested in a multilingual repertoire, participants displayed linguistic accommodation. These findings suggest a need for educators and policy makers to reassess the role and importance of HL education. Currently, the Malaysian education policy is silent on its commitment to HL education in Malaysia. Yet, this research supports the One Malaysia concept which stresses unity in diversity and encourages educational policies to take a pro-multilingual stance.

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  • You are not worth the risk: The ethics of statistical discrimination in organisational selection of applicants

    Scholes, Vanessa (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Your job application is rejected unseen because you ticked a box admitting you smoke. The employer screened out applicants who ticked the 'smoker' box, because she had read empirical studies that suggest smokers, as a group, are a higher productivity risk than non-smokers. What distinctive ethical concerns inhere in the organisational practice of discriminating against applicants on the basis of group risk statistics? I argue that risk-focussed statistical discrimination is morally undesirable due to the lack of respect for applicants as unique autonomous agents. However, I argue further that the decision-making context affects the morality of this discrimination. Other things being equal, the morality of statistical discrimination varies depending on the purpose of the organisation, the level of detail in the discrimination, and whether the discrimination is transparent to applicants and includes some benefit for applicants. Because organisations may have good reason to use risk-focussed statistical discrimination when assessing applicants, I present some recommendations for decision-makers to mitigate the lack of respect for applicants as individual agents. Organisational decision-makers can focus on the extent to which the statistical data they use comprise i) factors that feature efforts and achievements of the applicant; ii) dynamic rather than static factors; and iii) data drawn from the applicant’s own history and actions over time.

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  • Can a gut helminth parasite influence Th2 inflammatory responses in the skin?

    Meijlink, Kimberley Jayne (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Helminth parasites are one of the most common infectious agents of humans and cause significant health and economic burdens in the countries they are endemic in, making elimination an important goal. However, epidemiological studies have suggested an inverse correlation between the incidences of infections by helminth parasites in humans and autoimmune and allergic disease prevalence worldwide; it is thought the eradication of parasites in more affluent countries through improved hygiene is an important factor for the increasing incidence of autoimmune and allergic diseases encountered in the Western world. A Th2 immune response is central in providing immunity against helminth parasites, while suppressing T helper (Th) 1/Th17-mediated inflammation and inducing wound repair mechanisms. Helminths have developed strategies to directly regulate the immune response against them to ensure their own survival. Experimental evidence has demonstrated helminths are also able to dampen inflammatory bystander immune responses in their host, via induction of regulatory mechanisms such as regulatory T cells. These studies have focused primarily on the suppression of food and airway allergies in mouse models and there is limited data on the effect of helminth parasites on skin allergy e.g. atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic/chronically relapsing Th2 inflammatory skin condition, characterized by skin lesions, dry itchy skin and impaired skin barrier function. This is believed to allow the entrance of other allergens into the body more easily, leading to sensitization and initiation of other allergies later in life, a process termed the ‘Allergic March’. With the increased incidence of allergy in the Western world, it is desirable to find new therapies to suppress AD and the onset of the allergic march. During my Masters, I have investigated whether the gut-dwelling mouse parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus was able to suppress Th2 responses induced in skin tissue using two different allergy models: 1) intradermal injection (ID) of whole mashed-up house dust mite (HDM), which induces Th2 inflammatory responses, and 2) topical application of the chemical hapten dibutyl phthalate-fluorescein isothiocyanate (DBP-FITC), mimicking allergic responses seen in AD. The results show that H. polygyrus induces interleukin (IL)-4 production in tissues distal to the gut, including the ear skin tissue, mainly from cluster of differentiation (CD) 4⁺ T cells. Furthermore, helminth infection was able to suppress Th2-mediated inflammation in the skin in both house dust mite and DBP-FITC models, coinciding with an increase in the proportions of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in skin-associated lymph nodes (LNs). This research further demonstrates the potential use of helminth parasites, or their products, as a therapy for allergic diseases, including those of the skin.

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  • Design foundations: Towards a model of style grammar in creative drawing

    Sweo, Jennie (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    A style grammar is a principled rule set that governs the organization of very complex ideas. It allows for the examination of underlying structures which are often times obscured. Style grammars have been developed for many fields such as writing, fashion and architecture but to date there is no style grammar for creative drawing. The research identifies the necessary visual features and core traits associated with each feature towards developing such a model for creative drawings. Then operational measures are defined using the computer to extract and measure the core traits of those features towards developing a model of style grammar in drawing. These visual features include line, tone, and depth. Core traits include line length, line width, line expressiveness, local tone, global tone, texture, pattern, outline, shape, and position. A multidimensional scaling (MDS) using input from 27 subjects, 10 art experts and 17 novices, supported the overall list of visual features and added the dimension of smudge to the list. A second MDS sort discusses issues with images and large art categorical sorts from the standpoint of both human perception and machine measures that were obtained using feature extraction. It was concluded from the results of the second MDS that large art categories were too broad to be useful in evaluating measures to develop the model. Further analysis was run using only drawings from three artists, two impressionists to compare similarity and one expressionist for dissimilarity to determine if the machine measures of the core traits of the visual features were able to differentiate smaller groupings of consistent drawing styles. Using the computer allowed for systematic and objective procedures to be used to obtain measures. The multinomial logistic regression showed high significance for all the traits except marginal significance for line length and no significance for depth. Binomial logistic regressions run on each pair of artists showed high significance for all the traits except depth. The combined positive results of the first MDS card sort and the binomial and multinomial regression analysis provide proof of concept and offer strong support towards the development of a model of style grammar for creative drawings. Implications for teaching drawing using the identified visual features and core traits are offered. The outcomes and analysis provided in this research currently support a general practice rule in design reuse and intelligent borrowing that suggests first smudge, then depth, then tone, and then line quality are the most significant elements to use for style comparison. Discussions for future research including improved measures and other types of perception testing are provided towards further development of the model.

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  • Secondary Sexting: A Restorative Framework for Understanding and Addressing the Harms of Sexting Behaviour among Secondary School Students

    Wicks, Emma (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    In New Zealand there is a growing concern over the engagement of teenagers in sexting, especially so-called ‘secondary sexting’, the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. This thesis aims to analyse the behaviour of sexting through a restorative lens and to outline the role of restorative responses can make in a New Zealand context. It combines a review of international literature on the subject with a pilot study of senior students at a New Zealand secondary school, a school that has deemed itself to be a “restorative school”. The empirical study employs a mixed-methods approach. The quantitative phase involved students (n=125) in Year 11 -13 completing a survey to ascertain the prevalence of sexing and their attitudes towards criminalization of different types of sexting. The qualitative phase involved focus groups with students (n=13), one-on-one interviews with staff (n=7) and parents (n=17) discussing how they would respond to a hypothetical scenario of secondary sexting. The study finds that although only a small percentage of students engaged in secondary sexting, secondary sexting is the cause of significant harm and there is need for an effective response. This thesis argues that restorative response has the most promise at addressing these harms. It also shows that applying a restorative framework to the analysis of the practice enables us to identify and challenge victim blaming tendencies in both popular opinion and official responses. It proposes that for New Zealand to adequately respond to sexting there needs to be a shift away from viewing secondary sexting as a result of poor choices to one that focuses on respectful relationships and the obligations that go with them.

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  • Young People’s Experience of Post-Separation Fathering Where the Father has been Violent to the Mother

    Nelson, Pamela (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    My intention in undertaking this research was to examine young people’s experiences of living with their father following parental separation where their father has been violent to their mother. To date there is little knowledge of children’s post-separation experiences of fathering or of the parenting abilities of partner abusive men. This study takes a feminist approach and is informed by scholarship on family issues, childhood studies and the sociology of the child. The study was guided by hermeneutic phenomenology and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Twenty young people aged 18 to 26 took part in the study and face to face interviews were carried out over a one year period. The findings revealed that some fathers were overly punitive in their parenting style with a number of fathers continuing to be physically and/or emotionally abusive to their children. Authoritarian or permissive parenting practices were also identified and a number of fathers were shown to be neglectful, making little effort to bond with their children or provide quality care. In cases where fathers were unable to accept the break-up and move on this was also shown to have an adverse effect on their ability to parent effectively including an inability to co-operate with children’s mothers. In contrast, the majority of mothers were shown to be central to children’s lives undertaking most of the caring responsibilities. Mothers also recognised children’s changing needs as they grew older, encouraged autonomy, and contributed to children’s social development and maturity by trusting their judgement. However, this was not necessarily a protective factor against difficulties that participants have experienced as young adults. A time-share or full-time arrangement was revealed as being the most problematic for children although weekend contact could also pose a risk where pre-separation violence towards children had been severe. The study concluded that a safe outcome for children will require a shift away from a father’s right to contact, emphasising instead children’s right to a life free from abuse.

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  • Estimating bias of technical progress with a small dataset

    Khaled, Mohammed S (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Economic historians frequently face the challenge of estimation and inference when only a small sample of the relevant data is available. We illustrate solutions to the challenges through a case study analysis of the Uselding and Juba (1973) data. They have only seven observations available to estimate of the bias of technical progress in United States manufacturing in the nineteenth century. They are able to offer estimates of the bias only by assuming that production technology is not Cobb-Douglas, technical progress is non-neutral and that elasticity of substitution between labour and capital is less than 0.9. These assumptions could not be tested owing to the paucity of the required historical data. This case study illustrates the use of both additional theoretical information and appropriate statistical techniques to alleviate problems of estimation and inference with small samples.

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  • Climate change and national security: Analysis of the New Zealand Defence White Paper 2016 and the effect climate change will have on New Zealand's national security

    James, Joshua (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Climate change is going to be a driver of regional instability and conflict, and the New Zealand Government needs to take this into account when preparing its national security plan. The New Zealand Defence White Paper 2016 has omitted any mention of climate change and this thesis has addressed the ramifications of this, as well as providing policy recommendations where the Defence White Paper 2016 could be strengthened. There are five areas in which it can be strengthened: the strategic outlook, Antarctica, the South Pacific, Humanitarian Work, and a domestic focus. Through using the Copenhagen School of Security we can identify that by naming climate change as a threat to national security, it enables us to address these threats through a securitisation of climate change. This securitisation involves, but is not limited to, reducing carbon emissions, increasing humanitarian aid, and purchasing more off-shore patrol vessels.

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  • Spending Time: An investigation of the relationship between emotions, time and spending

    Liebenberg, Brett (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The significance of exchange within our daily lives encompasses not only the economic exchange of physical commodities but more abstract entities such as knowledge, skills and beliefs. This research investigation developed from a desire to understand my personal engagement with money and the design of money, through the exploration of shopping and spending habits. The activity of spending and everyday provisioning is one which has come to form a large component of our everyday lives and is partly informed by the non-economic aspects of exchange described above. This has led researchers, such as Daniel Miller (1998), to investigate the cultural phenomenon of consumerism. As our ability to consume has expanded to an almost unlimited wealth of products to choose from, a consumer has been able to form an imagined relationship with their purchases and may even regard it as a physical manifestation of various emotions. This level of constant spending and provisioning demands further examination, as the systems designed to enable us to consume are the same which have capitalised on our emotions. By making use of ethnographic methods of investigation (specifically interviews and qualitative survey tools), this research explores how an increased level of monetary literacy could be developed towards a consumers everyday spending. Through the design of a research tool, The Spending Map, a process of critical reflection is encouraged where it is possible to exhibit a dialogue that can capture, catalogue and critique the emotional engagement a consumer has towards their spending.

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