6,726 results for Thesis, Masters

  • Food waste New Zealand: a case study investigating the food waste phenomenon

    Parr, Harriet (2013-11-29)

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Food waste is an increasing concern for Governments in developed countries and in New Zealand it is estimated that the annual value of household food waste is 750 million dollars. The looming crisis in global food security including food waste has resulted in a detailed report from the United Kingdom’s Institute of Mechanical Engineers, IMechE’s (2013) which concluded that education is critical to help consumers lower their generation of food waste; and that policy changes led by Governments, must be introduced, to tackle this escalating problem. In New Zealand information on food waste is scarce however statistical evidence does show each household discards food valued at 450 dollars annually (Davison, 2011) yet ironically, 270 000 children in New Zealand live in poverty, where many do not have enough food to eat (Collins, 2012). This research aims to investigate the issues of household food waste, from the perspective of consumers, to discover if practical techniques can be applied to alleviate household food waste. Currently, advertising and marketing campaigns to enable consumers to think about their household’s food waste, instigated by Government or educational organisations are nonexistent. Also co-operation with supermarkets and food manufacturers to educate their consumers about the implications of creating food waste which would begin to address some consumer concerns raised in this research is unavailable. As with other issues of sustainability will it be consumer pressure or economic policy makers who will drive information transparency and best practice? Disposal methods, and landfill diversion of food waste was not the focus of the case study. Rather the practical implementation of food waste reduction methods from website information and suggestions was important. Adding to the case study family’s problem was that alternative food waste disposal methods, to divert food waste such as composting, or green waste collection services, were unavailable, in Auckland the service was not provided by Government. A case study methodology was used to underpin this research. The importance of using an in depth case study is highlighted by determining whether or not website information is informative enough to induce household behavioural change. The value of website information is a priority for this research as the thesis tested if informative suggestions from websites could encourage a change in waste behaviour. The relationship between the case study family, website information and amounts of food waste is analysed throughout the project and is vital to inform the research about successful methods of reduction. The outcomes of this study outlined information techniques which the family applied to the experiment. In theory these methods could be used in further research to test another family’s waste calculations. Overall findings from this research revealed that with the correct education, tools and techniques, a household can reduce food waste to a minimum. Connecting waste reduction methods via a virtual knowledge sharing system would provide consumers, producers and Government agencies with the option to create and exchange food waste reduction concerns and techniques.

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  • Crossing the borders of play and learning: ethnic Asian-Chinese perspectives on the value and purpose of a play-based early childhood curriculum

    Huang, Ming-Hua (Rita) (2013-11-29)

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    “Learning through play” is an important component of Western early childhood education, and plays a key role in the play-based curriculum in New Zealand (Ministry of Education, 1996; White, O’Malley, Toso, Rockel, Stover, & Ellis, 2007). However, this concept is challenged in New Zealand by Ethnic Asian-Chinese (EAC) immigrant families, who question the educational value of play for young children (Guo, 2006; Li, 2001a; Liao, 2007; Wu, 2003, 2009). For the early childhood education sector in New Zealand, this tension is compounded by the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996), because it affirms both the valuing of play and the valuing of diverse cultural perspectives. Further research and discussion of EAC immigrant parental perspectives on play in early childhood education will be essential to addressing this tension. The objective of this research is to investigate EAC parental perspectives on the value and purpose of a play-based early childhood curriculum and to explore the implications for early childhood teachers in order to support the building of effective partnership with immigrant families in New Zealand. This research involved eight EAC immigrant parents who had or currently have at least one child attending a play-based early childhood setting in New Zealand. A qualitative approach was employed to allow EAC parents’ experiences, values and beliefs of a play-based curriculum to be explored and examined in detail. Factors that EAC parents perceive as being most important for children to learn at a play-based early childhood curriculum were explored through interviews with the volunteer participants. Findings from the study revealed that although EAC parents may view learning as distinct from play, they agree that children should have an opportunity to play and expect their children to learn through play. The results of the study contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural background of EAC parents and how they perceive children’s learning and play. Practical suggestions for pedagogy and future research were also identified.

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  • Monitoring training-induced fatigue in snowboard and freeski halfpipe athletes

    Turnbull, Jonathon (2013-11-29)

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Snowboard and freeski halfpipe (HP) are relatively new skill-based high-risk alpine sports which have received very little attention in sport science research. It therefore appears prudent that initial studies first focus gaining a more detailed understanding of the sport. Information on the type and amount of load and consequent fatigue from normal halfpipe training is an important first step and will help coaches to better plan training sessions and adapt to athlete energy states. Such information is also essential for sport scientists to effectively prepare and recover athletes from training and competition. This thesis considers various forms of fatigue measurement and their sensitivity to training load. Ten male and 14 female elite snowboard and freeski HP athletes (21.8±3.3y, and 23.4±4.6y respectively) participated over the course of a 2-week on snow training camp. Immediately prior to on-snow training sessions, subjects’ countermovement jump (CMJ) and level of perceived fatigue (LPF) were recorded as were post-session CMJ and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). A GymAware linear position transducer was used to measure mean power (MP), peak velocity (PV) and jump height (JH). Reliability was established using coefficient of variation, and a repeated-measures generalised estimating equations (GEE) model used to examine relationships between variables within-day and between-day over the course of the camp. No significant relationships were found between subjective and objective variables when compared within-days indicating our variables may not be sensitive to changes in training load and fatigue from a day of HP training. Significant relationships were found between post-session RPE and load measures, and next day’s MP and PV. Specifically, as the subjective variables increased following training, the next day’s objective variables reduced by varying factors. When considering subjective and objective variables in isolation, subjective LPF was found to increase over the course of the 2 week training camp despite rest days, while neither of the pre-session objective CMJ variables exhibited significant trends. CMJ variables tended to increase after a day’s riding. It was concluded that traditional RPE scales used in conjunction with subjective fatigue ratings and/or MP and PV measurement using GymAware LPT can be useful tools to assist coaches and scientists in prescribing training and monitor fatigue over time. Some evidence of overreaching was found in this study and longer term monitoring of these objective and subjective variables may assist in alerting to signs of overtraining. Further research is required to determine methods of monitoring acute effects of fatigue from HP training.

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  • Maximising the Potential of Existing Urban Infrastructure: Can Infrastructure Reuse Provide Successful Public Spaces?

    Kean, Gemma (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    There is great potential for innovative and creative public spaces beyond the traditional park or plaza to exist, yet this is still what most local authorities provide for in their public space policies. As cities intensify there is a need to provide additional public space in what may not have been considered to conventionally be a part of the public realm. Infrastructure is one example which can be used to provide additional public space through the adaptive reuse of a site, instead of abandonment or demolition when infrastructure is no longer required due to technological advancement. This research investigates whether the adaptive reuse of infrastructure can help create successful public spaces, and whether reuse can contribute towards improving the connectivity of an area. This is done using two case studies: Paddington Reservoir Gardens and the Ultimo Pedestrian Network in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The project explores whether there is too much focus on reusing the space with minimal adaptation, and the extent to which the planning processes enable or inhibit development, and allow for or discourage stakeholder involvement. The findings indicate that the adaptive reuse of infrastructure can provide interesting public spaces, however, success is dependent on the surrounding context. The two case studies employed in the research are vastly different. Despite this, the results show that infrastructural public spaces need to be active, provide for a range of users, and incorporate themes such as stickability and fine grain design to contribute positive outcomes to an urban environment.Often with infrastructure there is a risk of focusing too much on the preservation of heritage sites or making do with what already exists, instead of taking a greenfield approach to development. This can lead to spaces which are not integrated with the surrounds and which are not frequented or used as well as they could be. Further research needs to be undertaken to better understand the extent to which these particular public spaces-adaptively reused infrastructure differ to other spaces in the public realm.

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  • The Experience of Depression in the Tokelauan Culture in Two North Island Communities

    Loan, Iain Stuart (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background and Aims: The Tokelauan language lacks a word that corresponds to the western term ‘depression’. Furthermore, there is no research on the experience of depression in Tokelauans, and yet doctors continue to apply a western biomedical model of depression to Tokelauan patients and those from other Pacific cultures. This research aims to describe the experience of depression in Tokelauans and provide insight into its management. Better awareness of the symptoms and signs of depression as experienced by Pacific Islanders will enhance diagnosis and treatment of the illness by general practitioners. Method: Following extensive consultation with the Tokelauan community in Taupo, and using purposive stratified sampling, ten respondents contributed to this study. Semi-structured in depth interviews were performed and recorded verbatim. The transcripts of the interviews were thematically analysed using an immersion crystallisation technique, with further analysis to detect sub themes. Results: There is no specific word for depression in the Tokelauan language but an illness involving extraordinary sadness does exist. Ordinary sadness is regarded as just ‘part of life’ but extraordinary sadness can be classified as “unwellness” or “a burden". Tokelauans use several indicators to recognise someone with extraordinary sadness. The main indicator is isolation and withdrawal from family and community activities as well as absence from work and church. Tokelauan men are more likely to hold their feelings in and may indicate their unwellness with increased alcohol use or violent tendencies. For Tokelauans, privacy and pride are important cultural characteristics and these may be barriers to recognising sadness. The shame and loss of status associated with displaying sadness may also cause a person to hide his or her feelings. Often the smiling Tokelauan face becomes the mask that hides sadness. The main causes of extraordinary sadness are the changes caused by western influences on the Tokelauan culture and the stress of poverty and unemployment. The family, community and church are all important avenues for caring and for counselling the Tokelauan with extraordinary sadness. Discussion: This research documents some of the features of depression experienced by Tokelauans that are different from those that doctors may be trained to detect and manage using a western biomedical model. This research demonstrates the complexity of relationships between the patient, their illness and their culture that impacts on how the illness manifests. Similarly, this research indicates that therapy must have a holistic approach that includes the family, the community and that accounts for the patient’s spiritual beliefs. Te Vaka Atafaga is a metaphor for Tokelauan wellbeing involving a canoe. Its structure is representative of different components of health, and it provides a holistic model for the general practitioner involved in assessing and treating Tokelau Islanders with a possible depressive illness. The model does not exclude the use of western medical approaches, but it emphasises the need for social disharmony to be corrected to allow healing. Conclusion: The presentation and management of depression in Tokelauans may differ from that of other patients in a general practice setting. The Te Vaka Atafaga model provides the general practitioner with a tool to assess the different components that comprise health in the Tokelauan. A holistic approach involving the family, spirituality and correction of social factors along with palagi medicine is then necessary for treatment.

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  • A Qualitative Exploration of the Barriers and Enablers to New Zealand City Councils Developing and Implementing Food and Nutrition Policy

    Gower, Jacinda Ruth (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: Diet- related non communicable diseases and obesity are the biggest cause of ill health and mortality in New Zealand. Current government public health approaches do not appear to be effective in preventing non- communicable diseases and obesity as rates continue to increase. To combat the obesity epidemic research suggests government regulative policy which positively shapes food environments is needed. New Zealand’s current government’s ideologies’ reject public health nutrition regulative policy so are unlikely to be an effective agency to reduce obesity and non- communicable disease rates. Local Authorities have been proposed as an alternative government organisation that has the ability to positively influence local food environments through developing and implementing food and nutrition policy. However, no New Zealand Local Authorities have food and nutrition policy and currently, there is no research regarding Local Authority food and nutrition policy in a New Zealand context. Objective: This research project aims to explore factors which enable, hinder and influence New Zealand City Councils’ ability to develop and implement food and nutrition policy. Methods: This public health nutrition study is set in a policy context so qualitative research was used to explore the social and organisational factors influencing City Councils’ development of food and nutrition policy that supports health food environments. Semi- structured in depth telephone and face-to-face interviews were carried out with 21 participants with representation from each of the 12 City Councils and Auckland Council. These interviews consisted of nine core questions which were informed by a review of the literature. All interviews were recorded and selectively transcribed. A general inductive approach was used to thematically analyse the data to categorise it into six major themes underpinned by minor themes. A single case study design was used to portray emerging themes and to understand the context of New Zealand City Councils’ capacity to develop food and nutrition policy. Results: The results of this study identified an array of factors which influenced City Councils’ decision making to develop and implement food and nutrition policy to improve local food environments. Six overarching categories emerged as being prominent to explaining City Councils’ capacity to influence food environments. These categories are council resources, community influence, political factors, long term plans, national-level governments and research, case studies and nutrition guidelines. All of these influencing factors had the potential to act as a barrier or an enabler dependant on the local political environment. The main finding is City Councils’ have the capacity to develop food and nutrition policy when there is a widespread awareness and prioritisation of food environment issues in the agenda of three key groups; the community, elected members of council and council staff. Conclusion: New Zealand City Councils capacity to develop and implement food and nutrition policy is determined by a host of external, internal, national and local influence factors. A multi pronged approach of strong local political support, partnerships, credible champions and local or case study research are needed for food environment issues to be addressed by City Councils through the LTP and subsequent food and nutrition policy. To achieve this New Zealand’s public health community need to be active advocates at a City Council level and be involved with activating communities and raising awareness around food and nutrition issues.

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  • Nutritional assessment of older New Zealand adults living in rest homes in the lower South Island

    Greenwood, Daniel (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Background: The increasing numbers of New Zealanders aged over 65 years will place a large burden on healthcare resources and rest home facilities around the country. Malnutrition is a major contributor to adverse health outcomes in the elderly, leading to higher mortality, morbidity and lower quality of life. There is very little information on the prevalence of malnutrition among New Zealand rest home residents, and there is not any information on the adequacy of nutrient intakes in this population. However, international data show very high rates of malnutrition and poor nutrient intakes amongst elderly residents in long-term low-level care. Objective: The specific aims of the study are in residents of two rest homes in the Lower South Island: i) To describe the prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes; ii) To describe the prevalence of malnutrition risk; and, iii) To describe the prevalence of anaemia. Design: This cross-sectional study included 35 participants (14 men and 21 women), aged 69-102 years who lived in 2 rest homes in the lower South Island. Information on demographics, medical history, medications and supplement use were collected from medical notes. Malnutrition screening was done using two different screening tools- Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form and Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool. Cognitive function and mood were examined using the Clock Drawing Test and the Geriatric Depression Scale. Anthropometry measurements collected were; height, ulna length, weight, using standard protocols and body mass index (kg/m2) was calculated using average ulna length measurements. Dietary intake data were collected with 3-day food records, over 2 non-consecutive week days and one weekend day. Food intakes were matched to nutrient lines in the New Zealand Food Composition Tables to determine nutrient intakes. Nutrient intakes were then compared with current recommendations to estimate the prevalence of inadequate intakes. Blood and urine samples were taken for later analysis of biochemical nutritional status. Ethical approval was granted by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Health) (H13/118). Results: The duration of stay in the rest homes ranged from 4 to 161 months (mean = 47months. Fifty percent of participants had a BMI over 25kg/m2, and 11% were underweight (BMI <20 kg/m2). Overall energy intakes were low, with 43% of men and 76% of women having suboptimal energy intakes (P=0.046 for differences between men and women). Sixty-three percent had inadequate protein intakes. Mean saturated fat intake was high, (16% of total energy intake), and average fibre intakes were low (19 g/day). All participants had suboptimal selenium and vitamin D intakes, although 83% of participants were on a monthly vitamin D supplement. Over 90% had inadequate intakes of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, and over 20% had inadequate intakes of thiamin and vitamin B12. When assessed with the MNA-SF tool, 53% were classified as being at risk of malnutrition. When using the MUST screening tool, 39%, were classified as being at risk of malnutrition. Anaemia rates were high in both men and women (57%). Conclusion: We have shown that malnutrition and inadequate micronutrient intakes are prevalent in rest home residents in the lower South Island. More research and strategies are needed to ensure that rest home residents are gaining the appropriate level of nutrition required to stay healthy and functional for as long as possible. 

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  • He kupu tuku iho mo tenei reanga : Te ahua o te tuku korero

    Higgins, Rawinia Ruth (1999)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    170 leaves ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies. "March 1999."

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  • Cross-grouping in mathematics

    Golds, Rosemary

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Improving mathematics teaching in primary schools is an ongoing research focus as achievement comparisons in international studies draws attention to shifting achievement levels and acknowledges that “improving educational outcomes is a vital economic necessity” (Wiliam, 2011, p. 26).‘Cross-grouping’ in primary school mathematics (whereby students are shifted across classes to provide ability grouping within a subject), has become a popular option in some New Zealand primary schools (Years 1-8) over the last few years. This is perhaps an unforeseen consequence of the Numeracy Professional Development Project (NDP) that was offered in more than 95% of New Zealand primary and intermediate schools between 2000 and 2009 (Holton, 2009). My present study has critically examined teacher perception of how (and if) cross-grouping in mathematics impacts upon teacher practice. Research from international studies supports the viewpoint that when ‘streaming’ (in the New Zealand primary school setting, known as ‘cross-grouping’) is adopted, teacher expectations of students are impacted upon and overall student achievement is not improved (Boaler, Wiliam, & Brown, 2000; MacIntyre & Ireson, 2002; Slavin, 1995). At present, there is very little research based in New Zealand schools on cross-grouping. This research may have implications for teaching as inquiry which is considered to be a characteristic of “effective pedagogy (which) requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students” (Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 35). A 2011 report from the Educational Review Office (ERO) (Education Review Office, 2011) suggested that many schools and teachers were still working towards gaining a clear understanding of the intent of teaching as inquiry. A qualitative approach applying an interpretivist paradigm underpinned this study, with a narrative inquiry process utilised which allowed the participants’ viewpoints to be heard. Interviews were conducted with eight teachers working in cross-grouped mathematics classes with students aged between eight and thirteen. Findings from the study revealed that all the teachers were in favour of cross-grouping, despite some teachers having some minor reservations. Some of the perceived benefits of cross-grouping were: it was more effective in meeting the needs of students and teachers, it allowed schools to ensure mathematics was actually taught each day, and it permitted teachers to become more confident in teaching a particular level of mathematics. It was also found that cross-grouping was likely to contribute to a more fixed notion of ability and was likely to have impacts upon teacher and student expectations. In most of the schools, there was little critical analysis undertaken into the reasons for or the validity of cross-grouping which suggests that this would be a useful future focus for school leaders and teachers. Results of the study suggest that questioning some long-held established practices (which are not necessarily evidence based) could be a useful starting point in developing a teaching as inquiry focus within a school. It is expected that this research will reveal ideas regarding the effects of streaming students in mathematics in primary schools and the impacts on flexible and responsive teacher practice. These findings may lead to a larger research project which considers aspects such as student attitude and self-belief or a comparison study which considers developing communities of mathematical inquiry (Ministry of Education, 2012) within some classes.

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  • Impacts of Early Childhood Education Social Obligations on Families and Whanau

    Randall, Judith (2014)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    This thesis explores the impacts of ECE social obligations on affected families and whānau. In 2013 ECE social obligations were introduced through the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill. These obligations require beneficiaries to ensure their children are “enrolled in and attending an approved early childhood education programme from the age of three, until they start school” (Work and Income New Zealand, 2013c). A qualitative approach was utilised to hear the voices of those affected. Data was gathered through interviews with eight beneficiary families and two ECE centre managers who had knowledge of the impacts of obligations. Perceived impacts were analysed using thematic analysis. An examination of the discourses underpinning these obligations as represented in policy documents was undertaken utilising Bacchi’s (2000; 1999) “what’s the problem?” framework. The introduction of the ECE social obligation policy was found to have placed responsibility on beneficiaries but to have failed to adequately address barriers to ECE participation that families face. The study identified many barriers which impede a family’s ability to participate in ECE. These include transportation, cost, and provision of high quality, suitable ECE for their children available in their local community. Mandatory ECE does not provide the infrastructure needed to enable families to access ECE programmes as it does not address the accessibility, structural, and personal barriers that families face. The thesis argues that the context of incorporating ECE policy in Ministry of Social Development (MSD) legislation and the use of sanctions to ensure compliance is likely to lead to negative outcomes for children’s well-being. Policy-as-discourse analysis identified that social obligations were conceived in the context of reducing long-term benefit dependency. The three interrelated dominant discourses underpinning this policy, economic rationalisation, the positioning of beneficiaries as job seekers, and the positioning of children as vulnerable, has left the child as citizen invisible. I advocate that redefining the problem through a child as citizen lens could provide a framework for government to support families through barriers and address provision of high quality ECE. Three key suggestions are made. Firstly, utilisation of a child’s rights framework could ensure children’s rights are at the forefront of ECE policy. This would enable the primary emphasis to be on the welfare and best interests of all children. Within this framework this study identified the need for ECE matters to be in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, rather than MSD, in order to ensure consistency and accessibility to quality ECE for all children. Secondly, ECE engagement needs to be promoted through a positive model rather than sanctions. Government financial investment in integrated ECE services within local communities could aid families to overcome participation barriers and provide an ideal model for enabling families to access social services. Thirdly, government policy and funding needs to support provision of high quality ECE services that are responsive to their local communities. Such services are essential to encouraging ECE participation.

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  • The development of Otago's main road network

    Baker, Neill Reginald (1969)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    x, 112 leaves :ill. (some col.), maps ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Geography.

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  • Telling our professional stories

    Alterio, Maxine (1998)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    [6], 138 leaves :ill. ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references.

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  • Larval drift and development of amphidromous fishes, particularly the bluegill bully (Gobiomorphus hubbsi)

    Jarvis, Matthew Graham (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Amphidromy is a distinct life history strategy found in many aquatic organisms, involving a return migration (‘drift’) to a pelagic feeding habitat (usually the sea), undertaken by newly hatched larvae. The freshwater fish faunas of many Indo-Pacific islands are dominated by amphidromous species, yet they remain understudied, especially their larval stages. Amphidromous larvae hatch out exceptionally small and undeveloped, and so face a range of specific challenges during migration such as irreversible starvation and failed development if migration is delayed, as well as management difficulties due to their small size. Basic ecological knowledge such as timing and extent of migration remains unknown, but is crucial to the management of amphidromous species. It was therefore the aim of this thesis to further our knowledge on the larval ecology and migration of a number of New Zealand’s amphidromous fish species. This thesis examines patterns of larval drift and development, focussing on the bluegill bully (Gobiomorphus hubbsi), an endemic eleotrid. A distinct diel and spatial drift pattern was documented, with the vast majority of fish larvae migrating to sea within a few hours of sunset. It is suggested that targeting conservation measures within this window of drift represents a potentially beneficial management strategy for amphidromous species. Development and starvation of larvae was also examined, both through field studies and lab experiments. No distinct pattern of starvation was observed in larvae during their seaward migration, however larvae retained in freshwater failed to develop to as complete a state as those transferred to seawater, implying delayed migration may adversely affect amphidromous fishes developmentally, ultimately reducing their success upon reaching the sea. These results indicate both threats to amphidromous fishes during their larval migration, and a potential approach which may prove beneficial in conserving these fascinating and vulnerable species.

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  • The X-ray Crystal Structure of Alanine Racemase from Acinetobacter baumannii

    Davis, Emily (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic Gram-negative bacterium, which is a common cause of hospital acquired infections. Numerous antibiotic resistant strains exist, emphasising the need for developing new antimicrobials. Alanine racemase is a pyridoxal 5’-phosphate dependent enzyme, responsible for racemisation between enantiomers of alanine. As D-alanine is an essential component of the bacterial cell wall, its inhibition is lethal to prokaryotes, making it an excellent antibiotic drug target. In this study, A. baumannii alanine racemase (AlrAba) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. A purification protocol was then developed involving ammonium sulphate fractionation and chromatography steps (Hydrophobic interaction, anion exchange and size exclusion). This purification protocol was able to produce 11.5 mg/L of AlrAba with a purity of greater than 95 %. The kinetic parameters of AlrAba were determined using spectrometric coupled enzyme activity assays. The Vmax and Km for the L-alanine to D-alanine reaction were found to be 220.5 U/mg and 1.56 mM, respectively. The Vmax and Km for the D-alanine to L-alanine reaction were found to be 11.3 U/mg and 0.56 mM, respectively. AlrAba was successfully crystallised and the structure was determined using X-ray crystallography. The structure was initially solved to 1.9 Å resolution via molecular replacement using the monomer of Pseudomonas aeruginosa alanine racemase as the search model. The final structure had an Rfactor of 19.7 % and an Rfree of 23.4 %. The resolution was then extended to 1.65 Å with an Rfactor of 20.6 % and Rfree of 23.6 %. The tertiary structure AlrAba was established to be a homodimer, in which the two monomers interact in a head to tail manner, resulting in two active sites per enzyme. Each active site is comprised of residues from the N-terminal domain of one monomer and the C-terminal domain of the second monomer. The N-terminal domain corresponds to residues 1 – 230, and consists of an eight-stranded α/β barrel. The C-terminal domain corresponds to residues 231 – 356, and mainly contains β-strands. Comparison of AlrAba with alanine racemases from closely related bacteria demonstrated a conserved overall fold, substrate entryway and active site. The structure of AlrAba will provide a template for future structure-based drug design studies.

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  • Living in Two Cities: Lessons for the church today from Augustine's City of God

    Broome, Deborah Louise (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Reading Augustine’s City of God through the lens of public theology, as well as in conversation with some of his leading commentators, provides an opportunity to discover how Augustine’s account of the two Cities (the civitas Dei and the civitas terrena) might inform the role of Christians in contemporary New Zealand, those who are living both as citizens in temporal society (the secular realm) and members of an alternative, Christian, society. There are parallels between Augustine’s society and our own which make a reading of City of God instructive for the Church today. The occasion of Augustine’s writing of City of God is briefly discussed, as is the theme of the two cities in the Bible and elsewhere in ancient literature. Attention is given to the nature of public theology and significant issues which public theologians must address, including the location of the debate (a secular public square), the language used, and the right to speak. A key notion is ‘seeking the welfare of the city’. Augustine is considered as public theologian and as apologist. The structure of City of God is analysed, key themes considered, and a précis offered which focuses on Augustine’s treatment of the two cities throughout the work. The nature of the City of God and the Earthly City are examined, in discussion with major commentators: the cities are societies defined by their members and by what their members love. The Church is not the City of God, but is rather a sign and an anticipation of it. Likewise, the Earthly City is not Rome, nor the State. The two cities are interwoven and intermixed, perplexae and permixtae with one another, and interact in this present age, in the saeculum. Central to Augustine’s thinking is that members of the City of God on pilgrimage in the world should not withdraw from that world but be involved in its society and institutions. Ways in which Christian communities might engage with the surrounding culture are examined, including the idea of work as loving service; and a number of lessons for the Church today are drawn. Dealing with ‘the other’ and encountering diversity are important issues. The relationship between the Church and the State is considered, as is the nature of the Church as public space in its own right. A deeper relationship between Christian faith and public engagement is encouraged. Central to the application of City of God to our current setting is the idea of the citizens of the civitas Dei on pilgrimage, and what it means to be part of a pilgrim city. Viewing City of God through an eschatological lens is crucial. A major conclusion is that ‘living in two cities’ is not merely a description of what it feels like for Christians today: it is an indication of how our life is actually meant to be.

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  • The Impact of Ocean Acidification on Parasite Transmission

    Harland, Hannah (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    This study examines how ocean acidification affects parasite transmission. Ocean acidification is a global process which has already started to have negative impacts on the marine environment, and these are predicted to escalate with future acidification. These include impacts on reproduction, development, calcification, osmotic regulation, and survival. Parasites are key components of all marine ecosystems, influencing the survival of their hosts, and also indirectly affecting other species within marine communities. Many parasite species possess vulnerable life history stages, which are sensitive to abiotic changes. Intertidal parasites have therefore been proposed as good bio-indicators for the impacts of ocean acidification. This research used Maritrema novaezealandense and its first and second intermediate hosts as a model system to look at the impact of ocean acidification on parasite transmission. It was hypothesised that acidified conditions would affect transmission from the Zeacumantus subcarinatus snail host to the Paracalliope novizealandiae amphipod host. Parasite transmission was tested under three pH levels (pH 7.4, pH 7.6 and pH 8.1) and infection success within amphipod hosts was determined. Parasite infections in amphipods were significantly higher at the pH 7.4 level. Infection by this parasite may therefore increase with future ocean acidification. Amphipods were more vulnerable to parasitism under seawater acidification and may be the weak link in this model system. To see whether parasite genotypes vary in their sensitivity to acidified conditions, the transmission success of eight different parasite genotypes was examined. Genotype was not found to significantly impact infection success, with pH level being the main determinant of infection success, regardless of genotype. The virulence of parasite genotypes did vary, however, with some genotypes inducing greater amphipod mortality following infection. Parasites which are less virulent may therefore have an increased chance of reaching the definitive host and this could be particularly important when this sensitive amphipod species is faced with both the stress of parasitism and ocean acidification.

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  • The role of leadership in the experiences of Asian international students’ hospitality studies

    Dalosa, Diosdado

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This research explores the experiences of Asian International Students (AIS) who were studying professional cookery at a private training institution after reports (Tan, 2011) indicated that AIS was being described in New Zealand as “a ghetto education destination” by students in order to express their disappointment during their study in New Zealand. The reports concerned the New Zealand export education industry. The Ministry of Education recognised that the sustainability of the New Zealand export education industry rested on educational and social factors including institutional capacity and client satisfaction. This study was undertaken, therefore, to enable deeper insights about issues which occur for AIS. A case study was designed to investigate one particular institution with a focus on the leadership behaviours, and interactions between host educators and students. Eight participants were interviewed. The participants were the institution leader, two tutors, and five AIS. The data obtained were analysed using QSR NVivo software. The study found that AIS’ attitudes about their study experiences are marked by a frustration that the skills they learnt from their host institution did not meet the demands of the hospitality industry. AIS believed that their host institution’s lack of adequate learning facilities prevented them from achieving their learning goal/s. The issues AIS raised in this study could, however, help educational leaders in designing adequate educational resources and facilities appropriate for AIS. In turn, this could influence overall perceptions about the study experiences of AIS in New Zealand.

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  • Reconsidering The Nonhuman Animal: A Multidisciplinary Approach

    Muirhead, Eliza Kate (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Nonhuman animals exist to humans in a myriad of different ways. As companions or entertainers, as tools for scientific endeavour, within the natural environment and lastly, for the majority of people they exist as a source of consumable food or materials. To study the human-animal relationship, as it is becoming increasingly popular to do, is to confront the complexity of these relations. The popularity of such an endeavour is exemplified by the rise of a relatively new discourse of academic enquiry called human animal studies (HAS). HAS places the nonhuman animal in the spotlight of a multidisciplinary discussion which explores the question of what the human relationship with nonhuman animals ought to be. However, before this question can be posed, we must first understand the rich and interconnecting history of epistemology that has formed our contemporary ‘way of knowing’ the nonhuman animal. As a result of examining how certain disciplines have sculpted our contemporary understanding of the nonhuman animal we can also demonstrate the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach. It suggests that without a dialogue between particular fields, such as philosophy and science, we are limited in our ability to construct a set of ethics that may articulate what our proper relationship with nonhuman animals ought to be. This thesis provides a brief overview of the epistemology that has formed our current understanding of this question and situates the discussion within the field of science communication. In much the same way that the field of deep ecology first suggested in the 1980’s, the field of science communication suggests that in order to bring in to question the contemporary ‘way of knowing’ the nonhuman animal and therefore our current use and treatment of them, we must create a dialogue between the theoretical, social, political and historical (Naess 1984). This dissertation will review areas where a disconnect between the fields of science and philosophy have resulted in producing ‘untruths’ in the way that we ‘know’, ‘value’, ‘think’ and therefore ‘act’ for and ‘represent’ the nonhuman animal. It will show that there is a disconnect between what we know about the nonhuman animal through science, on their intelligence, ability to experience the world, and the way that ethics have developed to guide in how we ought to treat the nonhuman animal. The artefact component of this dissertation, Human|Animal a 25min documentary, is a reply to this call. It acts as a piece of science communication and aims to create a personal response in the audience in order to elicit a re-evaluation of the current way in which the nonhuman animal is utilised in western society. By engaging in a multidisciplinary dialogue the film asks the audience to consider, and potentially form an opinion, on what our current treatment of the nonhuman animal ought to be.

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  • Targets of the QseM Antiactivator in Mesorhizobium loti

    Major, Anthony Scott (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Quorum Sensing (QS) is a system used by bacteria to coordinate gene expression in response to population density using secreted diffusible signalling molecules, known as autoinducers. Many QS systems are similar to the model LuxR/I system originally discovered in Vibrio fischeri, where constitutive expression of the autoinducer synthase luxI produces acyl homoserine lactone molecules (AHLs) known as autoinducers at low levels. Once the population density reaches a threshold level, the regulator LuxR recognises and responds to the AHLs, activating downstream gene expression. These systems may also involve an antiactivator, that acts on the LuxR protein to prevent premature activation of the system by low AHL levels. Mesorhizobium loti strain R7A contains a mobile 502-kb symbiosis island known as ICEMlSymR7A which can transfer to nonsymbiotic mesorhizobia in both the laboratory and the environment. The excision and transfer of ICEMlSymR7A is directly controlled through QS via the actions of the the regulator TraR that acts in conjunction with AHL made by the autoinducer synthase TraI1. TraR activity in turn is controlled by the antiactivator QseM, through direct interaction with the TraR+AHL signalling molecule complex to block promoter activation. In this work, RT-qPCR was used to demonstrate that QseM had an effect on downstream TraR-regulated gene expression. Strong expression of the ICEMlSymR7A excisionase gene rdfS or the TrbC protease gene traF is known to have an inhibitory effect on cell growth. These genes are regulated by QS through the intermediacy of the msi172-msi171 gene product which is a single protein, FseA, that is produced by frame-shifting. A conjugation-based growth-inhibition assay involving introduction of a potentially lethal plasmid overexpressing target proteins into cells either overexpressing or not expressing QseM was developed to detect targets of QseM. The assay confirmed that TraR was a target of QseM and further suggested that FseA was a further target. RdfS and TraF were eliminated as targets. Bacterial two-hybrid analyses confirmed FseA as a target and narrowed the interacting portion down to the Msi172 portion of the frame-shifted protein. Furthermore β-galactosidase assays showed that FseA was unable to activate the rdfS promoter in the presence of QseM. Overall, this work confirmed the role of QseM as an antiactivator within the ICEMlSymR7A transfer system regulatory network and revealed it has more than one target. A 6-His tag was attached to QseM and a high concentration of protein was purified. Attempts at determining QseM interacants through Mass Spectrometry from a R7AΔqseM lysate proved difficult despite distinct bands being seen. QseM was subjected to circular dichroism that inferred that QseM is composed solely of α-helices, as is TraM, an antiactivator that targets TraR from the Agrobacterium tumefaciens QS system.

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  • Supervision and the culture of general practice

    Wilson, Hamish John (1999)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Supervision is a well-known and well-theorised activity in some professions where experienced practitioners contract to facilitate, guide or educate the novice. Supervision is uncommon in medicine, which has traditionally employed more didactic teaching processes. In the general practice community in New Zealand, practitioners use a variety of methods of professional maintenance, with educative mentoring or supervision being a recent innovation. In this form of supervision, general practitioners (GPs) discuss their work with an experienced supervisor, with one focus being to learn counselling or psychotherapy skills. This study examined the experiences of GPs who use supervision, with particular reference to how supervision impacts on their practice of medicine. The context for this inquiry included the background philosophical assumptions of the biomedical paradigm, current problems in clinical practice and the culture of general practice in New Zealand. The research used a qualitative methodology, with seven GP respondents being interviewed at length about their use of supervision. A focus group with four of the participants followed initial analysis of the individual interviews. Interviews and group discussion were analysed within a social constructivist paradigm. The respondents' stories of learning about supervision led to the construction of a collective story. This could be outlined under the four broad themes of dissonance and exploration, self-awareness and professional development, the supervised practice, and defining supervision in general practice. However, before these GPs could make effective use of supervision, they needed to work through a number of personal and cultural barriers. The findings of the research suggest that supervision is a powerful method of learning, being an embodied experience through the supervisor-doctor relationship. Some of these GPs used their supervisor to learn how to do psychotherapy in general practice. The supervisor also acted as sounding board for all the respondents to discuss other work issues, such as practice management and peer relationships. One outcome of regular supervision was validation about their work, contributing to a heightened sense of self in the work environment. Supervision facilitated a model of reflective learning that is relatively uncommon in medicine. This was achieved through rigorous attention to self-awareness, resulting in facilitated career development. In a supervised practice, the GP incorporates an increasing acuity for patients' psychological problems. There is an emphasis on the doctor-patient relationship, with awareness of the roles and boundaries around the GP’s work. Supervision was seen to be different to work in peer-groups or in personal psychotherapy, but there were similarities. The role of the supervisor was defined to include sub-roles of teacher, facilitator, analyst and evaluator. In this study there was invariably no form of summative evaluation. The results led to a definition of supervision in general practice. Studying these successful supervisor-doctor relationships gave unique insights into the barriers that prevent further utilisation of supervision or other forms of mentoring in general practice. These barriers include broad issues of the traditional epistemological assumptions of modern medicine. Having supervision appeared to have a major impact on the style of medical practice that is exhibited by these GPs. There are implications of these findings for both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. This research was grounded in a social constructivist paradigm that linked theory, research and clinical practice. From the evidence presented here, these practitioners have incorporated biomedicine into a wider medical model that offers a resolution to the current paradigmatic crisis of modern medicine.

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