28,621 results for Thesis

  • The influence of Confucian values: students’ understandings of classroom behaviours and learning practices in a university in Central China

    Song, Jinhua

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The research aims to investigate the influences of Confucian values on university students’ classroom behaviours and learning practices in Central China. Using a Foucauldian 'genealogical approach' the thesis investigated the extent to which contemporary students in a Western/central university still employ Confucius's ideas in their thinking about education, and in their own learning practices, in the classroom and outside it. The interviews showed how deeply embedded Confucian ideas were: to the extent that they were part of the students' conception of their own identities, despite the inroads of competing ideologies. The results highlighted individual students’ ability to reflect on Confucian values, and demonstrated the significant role played by students’ notice of their own identities in dealing with the influence of Confucian values. The study identified some similarities to and differences from existing literature. It made a new contribution to knowledge by exploring the overlooked element of Confucius' emphasis on joy in learning. It broke new grounds by exploring the tensions in student’s minds as they reconciled Confucian traditions, Maoist ideas and western ideas. The students’ views gave fresh insights into students’ agential powers and structural or cultural influences in the area of learning. This research provided an opportunity for students to reflect on their individual practices in their environment, to voice their concerns, and to uncover their own deep assumptions and tradition by unearthing the influence of Confucian values on their learning ideas, behaviours and practices. All teachers of Chinese students can benefit by being aware of these influences on their students. The research results could be used to develop university policies. Also learning skills support and teaching pace might be made culturally relevant, especially when students come from a Chinese cultural background.

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  • Identification of fall-risk factor degradations using quality of balance measurements

    Bassement, Jennifer

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Falls concern a third of the people aged over 65y and lead to the loss of functional ability. The detection of risks factors of falls is essential for early interven- tion. Six intrinsic risk factors of fall: vision, vestibular system, joint range of motion, leg muscle strength, joint proprioception and foot cutaneous propriocep- tion were assessed with clinical tests before and after temporarily degradation. Standing balance was recorded on a force plate. From the force plate, 198 parameters of the centre of pressure displacement were computed. The parame- ters were used as variables to build neural network and logistic regression model for discriminating conditions. Feature selection analysis was per- formed to reduce the number of variables. Several models were built including 3 to 10 condi- tions. Models with 5 or less conditions appeared acceptable but better performance was found with models including 3 conditions. The best accuracy was 92% for a model including ankle range of motion, fatigue and vision contrast conditions. Qualities of balance parameters were able to diag- nose impairments. However, the efficient models included only a few conditions. Models with more conditions could be built but would require a larger number of cases to reach high accuracy. The study showed that a neural network or a logistic model could be used for the diagnosis of balance impairments. Such a tool could seriously improve the prevention and rehabilitation practice.

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  • The Fair Trade and Fair Trade Organic chains for small honey producers in the Tucuman and Santiago del Estero provinces of Northwest Argentina

    Nervi, Agustin

    Thesis
    Lincoln University

    Argentina plays a major role in the global honey market as the world’s second largest exporter behind China. About 70% of Argentine beekeepers are small to medium-sized. Consumers from affluent markets are increasingly aware of the processes involved in the production of the food they purchase. These consumers are willing to pay premiums for goods that have socially and environmentally sustainable production methods. Certification protocols such as Fair Trade and Organic give consumers confidence that these requirements are met. However, smallholders find it difficult to access these premiums as they produce small volumes and consequently face high unit compliance, transaction and marketing costs. This qualitative study aims to understand how the Fair Trade and Fair Trade Organic honey supply chains operate in the Tucumán and Santiago del Estero provinces of Northwest Argentina. A case study method and semi-structured interviews is utilised to collect data from key respondents. The analysis follows a pattern matching logic in order to compare patterns identified in the data with those predicted by the literature. A within-case analysis is performed for each case, followed by cross-case comparisons in order to recognise the advantages, disadvantages and constraints for increased smallholder participation in the study chains. The analysis suggests that despite benefits brought by collective action and market access, the Fair Trade and Fair Trade Organic chains did not provide substantial premiums to cover small beekeepers’ compliance, transaction and marketing costs. Information and power asymmetry, biophysical risk, geographical dispersion and institutional problems raised transaction and agency costs within organisations and between producers and buyers preventing long-term, sustainable relationships. This research provides solutions to reduce these costs and improve small beekeepers’ welfare.

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  • Smart Tools for a Smart Recovery

    Hielkema, Arien

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    How can the use of smart wearable technology motivate a stronger adherence to strengthening exercises as part of an athlete?s injury recovery process? Injury recovery is often perceived by athletes as being totally separate from training. This mind-set can cause mental blocks, often resulting in a slow recovery, with the athlete choosing to go back to regular training instead of the strengthening and rehabilitation exercises prescribed by professionals. The aim of this project is to understand why adherence rates to prescribed exercises affect the recovery process, with a particular focus on motivational and psychological behaviours throughout injury recovery. The research explores the manipulation of such behaviours, through the investigation of a prototype feedback device in the form of a smart fabric knee brace. Focusing on one particular knee movement allows the research to concentrate on the connection between motivation and adherence to prescribed exercises. In suggesting that ?our behaviours are shaped by the environmental stimuli around us,? Chris Lewis implies that technology creates, and thus might be used to explore, ways to enhance the intrinsic motivation of recovering athletes (2014). By thinking about recovery as training, we can move past psychological barriers to adherence and improve recovery performance on all levels, helping injured athletes to recover faster and return to unimpeded training.

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  • Reliability and Discriminative Ability of Badminton Specific Change of Direction Testing

    Paterson, Samuel John

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    As one of the fastest sports in the world, the agility component of badminton is crucial in maximising performance. Agility involves two components, the perceptual and decision making component and the physical change of direction (COD) component. COD assessments most often include a single temporal measure, which provides a measure of the COD ability that in most cases inadequately informs programming for COD enhancement in badminton athletes. As an alternative, the multi-faceted badminton specific assessment (BSA) battery has been proposed, which includes the following nine measures: height, body mass, leg length, eight site sum of skinfold, frontal split hip flexibility, sagittal split hip flexibility, vertical counter-movement jump (V-CMJ), multi- directional lunge test (MDLT) and multi-directional cyclic COD test (MDCT). The overall purpose of this thesis was to develop a BSA and to establish which measures best predict overall badminton performance. In study one (Chapter 3), the reliability of two newly designed tests (MDLT and MDCT) was assessed. The MDLT (change in the mean = 0.33-6.78%; TE = 0.03-0.11 s; ICC = 0.55-0.96) and MDCT (change in the mean = 0.12-5.87%; TE = 0.05-0.20 s; ICC = 0.57-0.98) were confirmed to be reliable. In study two (Chapter 4), the purpose was to establish which components of the BSA best predict COD and overall performance in badminton. The best predictors of COD performance were the MDLT (female – r = 0.58; male – r = 0.57), frontal split hip flexibility (F – r = -0.72, M – r = -0.36), eight site sum of skinfold (F – r = 0.65) and V-CMJ (M – r = - 0.49). The BSA was most effective in predicting badminton ability in female athletes; specifically the MDLT (r = 0.59), height (r = 0.51) and V-CMJ (r = -0.48). These findings suggest that the following BSA measures may be utilised to effectively assess the following anthropometric characteristics and performance qualities in badminton athletes: height, leg length, eight site sum of skinfold, frontal split hip flexibility, V-CMJ, MDLT and MDCT. The MDLT may also be replaced by a single forward lunge to assess horizontal neuromuscular capability based on the very large to near perfect correlations (r > 0.75, p < 0.001) between all MDLT directions. To further enhance the diagnostic potential of the MDCT, four consecutive cycles in a single direction may be implemented to better utilise elastic energy of the stretch shorten cycle and mimic the repetitive COD nature of badminton.

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  • "Don't Go for Humiliation." Mainland Chinese Cyber Nationalism Versus Visitation to Hong Kong

    Liu, Yang

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Nationalism is always seen as a ?double-edged sword? for governing a nation. In the 1990s, Chinese cyber nationalism emerged and has developed at an increasing pace. The history of anti-America, anti-Japan and anti-France has witnessed its strong and dark power in the international economy, especially in the tourism industry. As more and more Mainland Chinese visit Hong Kong, the difference in politics, culture and economy, as well as Hong Kong?s special status as a Special Administrative Region of China, has cultivated and prospered Chinese cyber nationalism towards Hong Kong. Meanwhile, nationalistic arguments by ?angry youth? were frequently observed on the Internet. Recent years have seen the reduction of Mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong, making it no longer the Chinese most favoured destination. Since tourism is one of the pillar industries in Hong Kong, and Mainland China is the biggest tourist market, it is essential to investigate the connection between increasing Chinese cyber nationalism towards Hong Kong and its impact on Mainland tourists travelling to Hong Kong. This study was designed to examine the relationship between Chinese cyber nationalism and its impact on potential tourists? pre-visit behaviour. Based on Planned Behaviour theory, a quantitative content analysis was adopted to investigate the emotion and intentions involved in the text comments made by online users. A dual approach of both computer-assisted tools and human coding was employed to analyse the massive text data derived from Sina Weibo and ensure the accuracy and validity of the results. Altogether 545 Hong Kong-Mainland incident reports and 495,811 text comments were retrieved and analysed. Correlation tests were conducted to test the strength of the association between Chinese cyber nationalistic sentiment and contemporaneous mainland tourist arrivals in Hong Kong. It is clear that Chinese cyber nationalism has different levels of negative impact on potential tourists? attitudes and travel intentions towards Hong Kong, depending on the types of Hong Kong-Mainland incidents. Mainland tourist arrivals in Hong Kong moderately and negatively correlate with Chinese cyber nationalism, but are significantly and negatively correlated with long-term accumulated Chinese cyber nationalism.

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  • The Perceptions of Teachers Surrounding the Potential of iPads in Early Childhood Education (ECE)

    Almashaileh, Yasmeen

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Qualitative case study is chosen as a method for this research to examine the potential of iPad use in early childhood education from the teachers' perspectives. The researcher utilized a convenience sample of four registered early childhood teachers who agreed to participate in the study. They were using iPads in their classrooms at an early childhood center within a suburb in the Auckland region in New Zealand. The researcher collected the qualitative data via semi-structured interviews by interviewing the four teachers who participated in the study on an individual basis. The interviews included open-ended questions and lasted for less than 60 minutes, depending on the teachers? available time. Inductive analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data gathered in this research. The findings showed that the early childhood teachers? had clear perceptions about the potential of using the iPad in the early childhood setting. In addition, they had clear perceptions about the benefits of using iPads in an early childhood setting. Their perceptions identified that iPads could be used as an instructional tool, as well as a learning tool, to support both the teachers? practices as well as the children?s learning. The findings also indicated that, according to the teachers, the use of the iPad in the classroom was somewhat challenging. The teachers perceived there are certain issues involved in using the iPad in an early childhood setting. These challenges are mainly related to iPad use and management in the centre. Nevertheless, they agreed that using the iPad is helpful as it provides the opportunity for more independence and democracy in learning. Moreover, the findings indicate that early childhood teachers should re-examine the way children learn and the way in which the early childhood education (ECE) workforce organises their learning environments to include digital devices in a meaningful way.

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  • Human capital in the banking sector: an exploratory study of Sri Lanka and New Zealand

    Perera, R.A. Ahesha Sajeewani

    Thesis
    Lincoln University

    Businesses around the world proclaim their employees as being the corporation’s most valuable resource. The field of human capital (HC) is not a new one and, studies focussing specifically on HC and its importance to organisations have been published in the academic press for several decades (Amit & Zott, 2001; Barney & Wright, 1998; Wernerfelt, 1984). However, despite continuous research attention, HC remains underdeveloped and an under- researched concept (Gambardella, Panico, & Valentini, 2015; Lewis & Heckman, 2006; McDonnell, 2011). Thus, this research contributes and extends the existing knowledge on HC to provide a comprehensive understanding by exploring the following questions: “How does the banking sector define the phrase HC?” Why does the banking sector deem HC and measuring, managing, and reporting on HC to be important?” “What attributes of HC do banks measure, manage, and report?” and” How do HC and measuring, managing, and reporting on human capital information (HCI) in Sri Lanka differ from those practices in New Zealand?” A qualitative case study is employed as a research approach in this study and the banking sector is chosen as the case sector. Data is collected from 10 banks in two countries, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, via conducting interviews, and gathering information from available secondary sources. The coding process resulted in descriptive codes, categories and finally themes, which are used as a basis to build a comprehensive and interesting narrative about HC in the banking sector in a developing country, Sri Lanka and a developed country, New Zealand. This study shows that the term “human capital” is defined by the Sri Lankan banks as “a cluster of competences, diversity, engagement and values of employees” whereas, in the New Zealand context, the term “human capital” was operationalised as “a cluster of competences, values, diversity and knowledge of employees.” This study examined why banks recognised the importance of HC to the banking business, with the Sri Lankan banks in particular revealing that HC has the potential to enhance overall productivity and efficiency, assist adherence to compliance requirements, ensure banks’ survival, achieve sustainable success and enhance business performance. Except for ensuring banks’ survival, other reasons were endorsed by the banks in New Zealand. Banks’ evidence identifies categories of HC information that they measure, manage, and report. In particular for Sri Lanka, nine information categorises were identified: training and career development, resourcing, attrition and retention, compliances, employee relations, employee welfare, diversity and equity information, health and safety, efficiency, and informal information. Confirming the Sri Lankan banks’ measuring, managing, and reporting practice, the New Zealand banks also revealed that they measure, manage, and report all the above information categories except informal information, such as family background, schools attended and parents’ profession. The findings further suggest that the banks in Sri Lanka and New Zealand use these measured, managed, and reported employee information for two main purposes: internal management and external reporting. Overall, findings suggest that although some disparities existed, the importance of having HC and measuring, managing, and reporting on HCI practices in these two countries were homogeneous.

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  • Identifying the Characteristics of Usability That Encourage Prolonged Use of an Activity Monitor

    Dhawale, Poonam Pushkar

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Together with the use of rapid prototyping techniques and efforts to reduce the production cost, wearable and mobile electronic devices brought to the market faster than ever, with less time spent on actual usability testing of these devices for prolonged use. Due to this, the usability lifespan of such electronic devices has reduced significantly where consumers might be moving or upgrading on to using newer electronic devices more often than they really need to. Therefore, this paper focuses on identifying key characteristics of usability that may encourage prolonged use of an activity-monitoring device. Secondary goal was to observe and record any user acceptance and/or usability issues that may arise from using an activity monitor over a prolonged period. In this research, an intensive study was undertaken using ethnographic methods of enquiry to improve the rigor of the study. In general, ethnography rests upon participant observation, a methodology whereby the researcher spends considerable time observing and interacting with a social group. The researcher analyzed the face-to-face interviews? video recordings and collected field notes repeatedly according to the coding rules devised using open-coding methodology. Later on, the researcher formed a generic thematic analysis based schema to analyze the coded data. In this thesis, the researcher has successfully conducted the research and identified six usability characteristics that played crucial role in encouraging prolonged use of an activity-monitoring device among adult users in New Zealand. These six identified characteristics of usability were display screen, lightweight, long battery life, multipurpose, social engagement and easy to carry/wear. In addition, this thesis covers the observed user acceptance and usability issues that may have arisen from using an activity monitor over a prolonged period.

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  • Governance of small sports clubs in New Zealand: existing structures, processes and potential models

    Hill, Simon

    Thesis
    Lincoln University

    Sports clubs are one of the dominant sports delivery mechanisms in New Zealand, yet despite this, they have received remarkably little attention in the academic literature. This study aims to fill that gap through a case study investigation of the governance structures and processes used by four small sports clubs in New Zealand. Drawing on a case study approach utilising interviews and documentary evidence, the study found that small sports clubs in New Zealand are mostly governed, managed and operated by a group of dedicated volunteers elected or appointed to the committee by their fellow members. The governance structures that small clubs operate within has evolved from the historical ‘kitchen table’ method of operation to a hybrid model of multiple governance models and ideas. Unexpectedly, the study found that these ideas have in most cases come from the knowledge volunteers bring to the committee table, or borrowed from other clubs that are deemed successful, as opposed to utilising well documented models such as Carver's (2006) Policy Governance Model or Sport New Zealand’s The Nine Steps to Effective Governance (Sport New Zealand, 2014). Both of these resources advocate for a clear separation between governance duties, including the employment of the CEO, strategic planning and decisions over major capital expenses, and management, encompassing day-to-day operations, management of staff, business plans and purchases. However, the data collected suggests that small sports clubs are not resourced to initiate the separation of duties Carver (2006) and Sport New Zealand (2014) suggest, even though volunteer committee members in this research paper range from five to eighteen people. Instead, the clubs appear to have (unknowingly) adopted aspects of alternative models such as Mowbray's (2011) ‘third team’ approach, and Bradshaw's (2009) ‘contingency theory’. The study concludes that although there is increased pressure for clubs to professionalise their practise, there are no appropriate best practise models or methods of governance available to small sports clubs. Despite this, this study demonstrates that clubs have developed potentially successful governance systems.

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  • How Has ‘operational Resource Calculator’ Modelling Contributed to Biosecurity Operational Preparedness in New Zealand: A Case Study of the Use of a Foot-and-mouth Disease Operational Resource Calculator Between 2011 and 2014

    Nagle, Deirdre

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This dissertation is a case study reviewing how the use of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Operational Resource Calculator model has contributed to developing biosecurity preparedness in New Zealand. The case study of the Biosecurity Response Services contract from 2011-2014 explores the preparedness themes from this period which are compared against the key themes from three New Zealand Emergency Events that occurred in the past five years. These themes are analysed and the role the Operational Resource Calculator in building biosecurity preparedness is explored. The findings from this case study identified that the use of the FMD Operational Resource Calculator has supported and guided the growth of the National Biosecurity Capability Network, helping to identify specific gaps in capability and target recruitment. The calculator has also enabled the capability within the National Biosecurity Capability Network for response operations to be tested and to measure capability in peacetime. This has proved important for political support of the network, trailing a potentially risky new model for operational biosecurity preparedness. In addition, the Operational Resource Calculator, can be an iterative tool, therefore achieving longevity which can be utilised to measure capability against future FMD models developed for biosecurity response preparedness.

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  • Multi-level voltage and current reinjection ac-dc conversion.

    Liu, Yonghe (2003)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Canterbury Library

    This thesis describes a new concept of multi-level reinjection ac-dc conversion, its main purpose being a further reduction of the harmonic content, a solution of dynamic voltage balancing for direct series connected switching devices and an improvement of high power converter efficiency and reliability. It is a combination of the multi-level, soft switching and reinjection concepts. A variety of configurations are proposed, based on the new concept, to achieve efficient voltage and current conversion. For each configuration the firing sequences, waveform analysis, steady and dynamic performances and close-loop control strategies are presented, and particular applications suggested. The ideal reinjection waveforms are first derived for perfect harmonic cancellation and then fully symmetrical approximations are made for more practical implementations. This is followed by a description and comparison of the generation circuits required for the implementation of the multi-level symmetrical reinjection waveforms. A three-level voltage reinjection scheme, implemented by adding a reinjection bridge and a reinj ection transformer to the standard twelve-pulse converter, is discussed in great detail, both for the series and parallel connections. This is followed by an investigation into the possible application of these converters to Back to Back VSC HV de interconnection; the analysis is validated by EMTDC simulations. A multi-level voltage reinjection VSC is also proposed, which uses a controllable de voltage divider to distribute the de source voltage to the two main bridges and produces high quality output waveforms. The voltage and current waveforms, the firing sequences and the capacitor voltage balancing are analyzed and verified by EMTDC simulations. In particular, the proposed VSC is shown to be an ideal solution for the STATCOM application. The multi-level reinjection CSC alternative is also described and shown to exhibit an excellent performance in the STATCOM application.

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  • Consumer Engagement With the C2C Online Auction Experience: Conceptualisation and Measurement

    Abdul-Ghani, Eathar

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This research investigates the role that engagement plays as a comprehensive theoretical explanation for consumers? on-going use of consumer-to-consumer (C2C) online auctions. Online auctions have become a societal phenomenon in which millions of consumers worldwide participate to browse, compete, win, lose, buy, and sell goods. The online auction experience goes beyond interacting with the website to include consumer activities and events before and after going online. Research has yet to fully explain what makes consumers want to return and repeat the auction experience. Consumer behaviour has changed over the last two decades due, inter alia, to Web 2.0 interactive technology. Marketers have sought to understand today?s Web 2.0 consumer. Engagement has emerged as an important new concept in this regard, and has been identified as a Tier 1 research priority by the Marketing Science Institute (2014). Many marketing studies conceptualise engagement from a firm-centric view and examine customer engagement with the brand or the firm; however, as yet there is no conceptualisation of engagement that takes a completely consumer-centric view. Today?s consumers engage with any object: a brand, a firm, an experience, a community, or other consumers. This research looks at engagement with the C2C online auction experience. What drives consumer engagement with the auction experience, and what effect does engagement have on consumers? on-going use of online auctions? This research conceptualises consumer engagement with the online auction experience (CE-OAE) based on an Experiential View of the Consumer (Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982), provides in-depth insights into this engagement, develops a measure of the construct, and identifies the antecedents and consequences of CE-OAE. Consumer engagement with the online auction experience is defined as the enthusiasm, reflection of self-image, passion and interest a consumer has that drives their future participation in online auctions. Consumer engagement arises as a result of the value consumers derive from their memorable auction experiences. Five studies of online auction consumers in New Zealand were undertaken to measure and test CE-OAE. Study One was a qualitative, in-depth study that provided insights into consumers? engagement and produced items for the draft CE-OAE scale. In Studies Two to Five, the draft CE-OAE scale was subjected to exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Study hypotheses were tested with longitudinal data using structural equation modelling, Hayes (2013) process analysis, and multiple regression analyses. The findings show that consumers who have memorable auction experiences derive several types of value from these experiences, and that value drives consumer engagement. Engagement is shown to predict four behavioural outcomes: consumers who are highly engaged buy more, browse more, sell more, return to the auction site more often, and participate in the auction community more than those who are less engaged. Importantly, the findings also show that engagement remains stable for almost 50% of consumers over a period of six months. Changes to the levels of value that consumers derive from their online auction experiences impact levels of engagement over time. The thesis contributes to theoretical understanding of consumer behaviour and engagement in a C2C context, by developing a new conceptualisation of engagement taking the point of view of the consumer. A conceptual framework for CE-OAE is established, with consumer experiences and value derived from these experiences as the antecedents to CE-OAE, and on-going use as the consequence. Risk is shown not to have an impact on the formation of engagement. In addition, a typology and valid measure of value in online auctions are presented, and the critical role that value plays in the formation and duration of consumer engagement is recognised. Engagement is conceptualised as a motivational construct, and established as an important determinant of consumer behaviour in a C2C context; engagement endures for an extended period of time for many consumers. This research provides important insights for marketers and Web 2.0 companies. The CE-OAE measure can be used by businesses to predict customers? future buying and selling activities, suggest new strategies for engaging customers, and measure the success of a business?s engagement strategies. The CE-OAE scale has potential for use in research into other Web 2.0 C2C contexts, including engagement with social media, sharing, and collaborative consumption.

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  • Melanoma Detection Using Image Processing and Computer Vision Algorithms

    Sabouri, Peyman

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and is estimated to be the 19th most frequently occurring type of cancer worldwide, with approximately 232,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012. It is widely accepted that early diagnosis of melanoma significantly reduces morbidity, mortality and the cost of medication. Computer-aided systems can be applied for a quantitative and objective evaluation of pigmented skin lesions to assist the clinical assessment process. Increasing innovation in non-invasive methods can be of significant help in the early detection of malignant melanoma, thus minimising the need for biopsies. The initial step is to analyse and develop efficient algorithms for melanoma detection. This thesis is mainly focused on two main areas: a) developing an efficient lesion border detection algorithm, and b) developing an efficient classification system. For lesion border detection, several edge detection techniques are evaluated. We implemented a basic border detection algorithm on the ZYNQ-7000 System-on-Chips, which suggests a proper portable vision system could be designed for early detection of melanoma with high resolution and performance. A semi-automatic algorithm consisting of eight steps is proposed for detecting the borders of skin lesions in clinical images. Using this approach, the user selects a small patch of the lesion to specify the foreground lesion area. The results show that the proposed method achieved the accuracy of 89.32%. We present a multi-layer feed-forward deep neural networks (DNN) as a preferred lesion segmentation and recognition method. The algorithm can detect lesion borders without using any pre-processing algorithms; however, a pre-processing step hair removal and illumination correction has been essential in the previous systems. In order to develop a classification system, we investigated two different approaches: a) using hand-engineered feature data that are extracted from the segmented lesion and b) using a deep learning method which learns features automatically from the original images. The feature extraction algorithms that are used in this study are shape, colour and texture features. Correlation-based feature selection method is applied for feature selection. A performance evaluation of several supervised classifiers are discussed based on different feature sets. Two novel cascade classification architectures are proposed to improve accuracy. The second proposed cascade classifier achieved an overall accuracy of 83.3%, sensitivity of 85.1%, specificity of 80% and ROC area of 90% using ten-fold cross-validation. Finally, we present a multi-layer DNN to distinguish melanoma from benign nevi as our preferred method for classification. Our preliminary work shows that networks trained with no pre-processed and segmented images, using directly learned features instead of applying feature extraction; achieved an average accuracy of 72.53%. However, a larger dataset and more investigations are required to train a better classifier.

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  • What is cooking with kererū/kūkupa management in New Zealand? A historical review using tools from Actor Network Theory

    Adkins, Jordan

    Thesis
    Lincoln University

    This thesis reviews the history of the management of an endangered New Zealand native bird species. It builds on earlier narratives, especially the social construction-based thesis of Renganathan (2004), periodising the history of management into three key phases, or moments of “translation” in the terminology of Actor-Network Theory (ANT): Maori colonisation around 1300 AD; European colonisation circa 1800 AD, and the post-colonial present. In line with Renganathan’s earlier analysis it is argued that management of Kererū remains contested depending upon differing cultural views and differing locations, populations and habitat health. However, this thesis also deploys key concepts associated with Callon’s “A Sociology of Translation” (1986) to both show the mechanisms and processes that have led to the dominance of particular perspectives at given points in history and to set out three future management scenarios that reflect what could happen if particular actors or actants were to exert pressure or influence on the existing management network. Furthermore, and whereas previously ANT has tended to be applied to technological and engineering domains, the thesis adds to the growing body of natural resource management literature which uses the principles of the theory to shed new light on environmental problems.

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  • Exploring the Potential for Food Trucks As a Culinary Tourism Attraction in Auckland: Through the Eyes of Operators and Tourism Professionals

    Idicula Thomas, Bonnie

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The notion of street food and mobile food vendors is not a new one. However, in recent years there has been an increasing international trend for food trucks situated in, either static locations or moving from location to location. Another recent trend is that of tourists focusing their activities on what has become known as food tourism ? making culinary experiences a central part of their visit to a destination. With a history of good food and wine, which complements the landscape, New Zealand has a positive appeal for these food tourists. In Auckland, food trucks have evolved from the traditional pie cart. This raises the question as to whether they could become a tourist attraction, offering food that showcases the multi-cultural gastronomic identity of the city and the country as a whole. To investigate this potential, 19 interviews were undertaken with relevant stakeholders including the tourist organisation Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), food tour operators and food truck operators. The interviews with tourist authorities and tour operators suggested that the sector is not seen as an overall part of the food tourism industry. This is in contrast to the views of the food truck operators themselves who believe they are able to offer a strong tourist and cultural attraction. They are however hampered by tight regulations and inflexibility on the part of the Auckland Council. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of recommendations for future research and action.

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  • Floral resource subsidies for the enhancement of the biological control of aphids in oilseed rape crops

    Varennes, Yann-David

    Thesis
    Lincoln University

    Food production is achieved by the interaction of man-made infrastructures with natural ecosystems, the latter providing soil, light, and regulating services, including biological control. However, such natural capital has been put increasingly at risk by modern agricultural practices. For example, the use of insecticide compounds can be harmful to organisms in the soil, the water and the vegetation, including beneficial insects. This thesis investigated how the ecological management of a conventional oilseed rape (OSR) cropping system can enhance the biological control of insect pests by their natural enemies, which could alleviate the use of insecticides. OSR hosts three aphid species, namely, Brevicoryne brassicae (L.), Myzus persicae (Sulzer), and Lipaphis erysimi (Kaltenbach). In New Zealand, these three species are attacked by the parasitic wasp Diaeretiella rapae (McIntosh) [Hymenoptera: Braconidae], which completes its larval development inside an aphid body, and is a free-living organism when adult. In that stage, the wasp only feeds on carbohydrate-rich fluids, e.g. floral nectars and honeydew. Floral resource subsidies consist in the addition of nectar-providing vegetation in the habitat of parasitoids, to enhance their reproductive output, which in turn cascades into decreased pest density. This approach has known successes and failures, and its potential could be increased by a better understanding of its ecological functioning. In the introduction, this thesis lists current knowledge gaps in the ecology of floral subsidies targeted at enhancing the control of pests by parasitoids. In the second chapter, this thesis reports how nectar feeding affects the behaviour of D. rapae. It was observed that feeding on buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) enhanced ca. 40-fold the time spent searching for hosts and greatly reduced the time spent stationary. The consequences of this for the reproduction of the parasitoid, and biocontrol, are discussed. The third chapter addresses the potential competition between pollinators and parasitoids for nectar, when the latter is provided as a floral subsidies. This question is crucial because the potential effect of floral subsidies on biocontrol could be negated by if the provided nectar is consumed by pollinators. A manipulative field experiment indicated that this negative interaction is not existent or weak, although the power of the test was low. A laboratory trial presented in the fourth chapter showed that the longevity of D. rapae fed on OSR or buckwheat nectar was enhanced ca. 3-fold compared to unfed conspecifics. Feeding on M. persicae honeydew and nectar from two candidate floral subsidies enhanced longevity ca. 2-fold, indicating a lower nutritional quality. Two other plants did not cause any longevity enhancement. The value of these results with regard to the understanding of the nutritional ecology of D. rapae is discussed. The food-web of aphids, parasitoids and hyperparasitoids (fourth trophic level) living in OSR crops in New Zealand has not been documented. Understanding the composition and structure of the food-web is important to guide the implementation of floral subsidies. The fifth chapter presents a protocol for the reconstruction of food-webs, based on the molecular analysis of aphid mummies. The further use of this tool for the construction of aphid-based food-webs in general is discussed. The thesis findings are discussed in the context of OSR as an ephemeral, multi-species, spatially complex and dynamic habitat. The concept of “foodscape” is adapted to parasitoids and biological control. In its last section, the discussion integrates ecological and agricultural considerations to suggest the intercropping of a flowering plant in OSR crops.

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  • Predicting the Distribution of Acid Volatile Sulfide in Marine Sediment From Colour Analysis of Sediment Profile Images

    Wilson, Peter Stanley

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Measuring the sediment content of acid volatile sulfides (AVS), one indicator of coastal ecosystem functioning and the remineralisation of organic matter, is laborious and therefore rarely considered in routine coastal monitoring. In this thesis, I further develop an approach presented by Bull and Williamson (2001) to estimate the in situ distribution of AVS in subtidal soft sediment from sediment-profile images. I then determine whether this approach is valid at multiple locations in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand and investigate sediment chemical properties that may affect the approach. Finally, I apply this approach to assess soft coastal sediment that had been organically enriched by a long-line mussel farm. I first established a strong correlation (R² = 0.95) between sediment AVS concentration (extracted by cold 1 M HCl) and the colour intensity of sediment collected at 12 m water depth off the eastern coast of Waiheke Island, New Zealand. I then used this AVS/colour correlation to estimate the distribution of AVS in the upper 20 cm of this sediment from sediment profile images. These images were obtained in situ with a lightweight imaging device consisting of a modified flatbed scanner housed inside a watertight acrylic tube (SPI-Scan™, Benthic Science Ltd.). I made two types of estimates from the acquired images: First, I obtained a vertical AVS concentration profile by averaging the colour intensities of horizontally aligned pixels. Second, I created a two-dimensional distribution plot of AVS concentration by assigning individual pixel colour intensities. I determined whether this approach was valid at other locations by establishing an AVS/colour correlation at each of three locations in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. The slopes of the fits that best described the data at each location were similar, however, the positions of the fits along the grey scale axis were offset. That is, the AVS/colour correlation was site specific and, consequently, combining the data from three locations did not produce an AVS/colour correlation that could accurately predict the sediment AVS concentration at all three locations. I suggested that the observed grey value offsets were caused by differences in the background colour of the sediment, that is, caused by sediment components other than AVS. I investigated the sediment sulfur chemistry at these three locations to determine the cause of differences in the AVS/colour correlation between locations. Using a sequential extraction technique, I measured three pools of sedimentary sulfides: dissolved porewater sulfide, AVS, and sequentially extracted chromium reducible sulfide (CRSs). Dissolved porewater sulfides contribute to the total AVS concentration but not to the sediment colour. The constituents of CRSs, however, contribute to the sediment colour but not to the total AVS concentration. The analysis revealed that the concentration of dissolved porewater sulfides was negligible. It also revealed that the relative proportions of AVS and CRSs were functions of sediment age. Sediment at greater depth in the sediment column contained greater proportions of CRSs than surficial sediment because it was older. Black mineral pyrite was the main constituent of CRSs. The transformation of pyrite from its precursors can take up to several years. Contrastingly, the minerals that primarily comprise AVS (mackinawite and greigite) form from their precursors over hours or days. I suggested that the reason for the non-linear AVS/colour correlation was because of a change in the relative proportions of AVS and CRSs with sediment depth. The slope of the fit describing data from a site with a high AVS concentration and low CRSs concentration will be steep because the majority of the change in sediment colour arises from a change in the concentration of AVS minerals. Contrastingly, the slope of the fit describing data from a site with a low AVS concentration and high CRSs concentration will be less steep because a change in sediment colour intensity will be largely from a change in the concentration of CRSs minerals, rather than AVS minerals. Finally, I used this approach investigate temporal changes in the extent of the seafloor area underneath a New Zealand long-line mussel farm of elevated sediment AVS content. Such assessment requires accurate detection of the AVS footprint boundary. I demonstrated how to detect this boundary with sediment profile imagery. I analysed 182 sediment profile images taken along three transects leading from approximately 50 m inside to 200 m outside the long-line mussel farm and found that the mean sediment colour intensity inside the farm boundary was almost 1.5 times lower than that of the sediment away from the farm. Segmented regression analysis of the combined colour intensity data revealed a breakpoint in the trend of increasing grey values with increasing distance from the farm at 56±13 m (± 95% confidence interval of the breakpoint) outside the mussel farm. Mapping of grey value data with ArcMap (ESRI, ArcGIS) indicated that the extent of the AVS footprint is a function of water column depth; organic particles disperse further in a deeper seawater column. I conclude that for soft coastal sediment, the described sampling and data analysis techniques may provide a rapid and reliable supplement to existing benthic surveys that assess environmental effects of marine farms or other organic enrichment sources.

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  • Water extraction and use of seedling and established dryland lucerne crops

    Sim, Richard E.

    Thesis
    Lincoln University

    The main aim of this research was to refine best management practices for dryland lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) crops in relation to crop water extraction. To do this, dryland lucerne was established at Lincoln University, New Zealand in two soils which differed in the plant available water content (PAWC). The low PAWC site (Ashely Dene) had a very stony silt loam soil with ~130 mm of water to 2.3 m. The high PAWC site (Iversen 12) is a deep silt loam soil with ~360 mm of water to 2.3 m. The available water for crop extraction in the establishment year was manipulated by imposing the second treatment, sowing date. This resulted in mean annual dry matter (DM) yields which ranged from 0.4 to 21.5 t DM/ha. A detailed examination of lucerne physiology was undertaken to determine how lucerne extracts water from the soil to explain these yield differences.

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  • The Impact of Shared Pedagogical Leadership on Physical Activity in Early Childhood Education: An Interpretive Analysis

    Foley, Hannah Christine

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The original contribution of this thesis is to add to the minimal amount of literature regarding the impact of shared pedagogical leadership on physical activity in early childhood education. Developing a lifelong love of physical activity can start in the early years. These years are critical for developing behavioural habits and subconscious belief systems about what one can achieve. The aim of this study was to research the impact of leadership within the realm of physical activity in early childhood education. The aim arose with the hope of contributing to the wellbeing of children in their early years of development; and the need to improve my knowledge of shared leadership to enhance my own practice and thus impact positively on others in my field. Also, there is a desire to help others struggling with leadership conceptualisation in early childhood education. Oliver (2008) asserts that physical activity is beneficial to bone weight and weight status. Conversely, inactivity has been linked to obesity. In both childhood and adult years obesity has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Oliver, 2008). Besides disease prevention measures, physical activity is related to essential motor skills development and improved cognition (Brownlee, 2015; Oliver, 2008). Participation in physical activity coincides with increased skills and mental abilities and is yet another reason why leaders in early childhood education must confidently focus greater attention on physical activity implementation. Finally, with the nature of community of early childhood education in mind, this research seeks to identify which forms of leadership are the most suitable for physical activity enhancement. Interpretive data from this qualitative study was synthesised with the wider field of literature in shared leadership. This data demonstrated that shared leadership forms best enhance children’s participation in physical activity. When pedagogical leaders share their goals and invite family to participate in the decision making and role-modelling, the results are maximised.

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