25,521 results for Thesis

  • Black and white art' : the depiction of Maori in cartoons, 1900-1920.

    Custer, Erika K. (1994)

    Other thesis
    University of Otago

    Typescript (photocopied)

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  • Silent Sentinels : The War Trophies of the First New Zealand Expeditionary Force in War and Peace

    Fox, Aaron Patrick (1987)

    Honours Dissertation thesis
    University of Otago

    The author has made available an updated and illustrated version of this dissertation at: http://www.kiamatetoa.com/drathesis.php

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  • Towards Fused Terthiophene Monomers for Optoelectronic Applications

    Santoso, Bagus (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    In recent years, polythiophene derivatives have been on the front line of the conducting polymer industry. The most efficient polymer solar cell and the fastest polymer transistors are both polythiophene derivatives. The presence of the electron rich element sulfur has been suggested as an important pathway towards high performance organic semiconductor. Fused aromatic monomers are of particular interest as the extension of the π system allows for better π-π stacking. This results in a more crystalline structure and improves the charge transport of the resulting polymer. In this work, attempts were made towards an alkyl substituted fused terthiophene monomer. The backbone of the monomer was previously reported by Roncali et al. in 1994 and it has shown promising results. However, Roncali was unable to polymerise the monomer effectively and it continues to be undeveloped. Roncali did not report the details of his synthesis of the fused terthiophene and attempts made in this work to replicate the synthesis based on his brief description were unsuccessful. Alternative routes were explored towards the synthesis of Roncali’s fused terthiophene. The successful route found involved the Baylis-Hillman reaction of 2 thiophenecarboxyaldehye with methyl acrylate, followed by the oxidation of the Baylis-Hillman adduct and immediate Nazarov cyclisation of the resulting divinyl ketone. Ester hydrolysis of the resulting ketoester was able to synthesise thiaindanone in a large scale. The thiaindanone was then brominated and the resulting α-bromoketone was efficiently coupled with the ketoester precursor to synthesise an ester dimer. The ester dimer was hydrolysed to obtained a 1,4 diketone, which was cyclised using Lawesson’s reagent to form Roncali’s fused terthiophene. However, problems with solubility and stability found for this compound will need to be addressed prior to polymerisation. 

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  • The wretched refuse of your teeming (virtual) shore: Second Life as homeland to the socially isolated

    Sherman, Kevin

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This mixed methods research explores the attachment that individuals harbour for the virtual world of Second Life by comparing participants with strong feelings of attachment to Second Life with those with weak feelings of attachment. In order to identify these two groups of participants, this research employed an online questionnaire that included actual world national attachment scales and their virtual world counterparts. Based on the results of this questionnaire, these two groups of participants were identified and located and their further participation requested. Once individuals agreed to further participate in this research, the two groups of participants – the primary group comprised of those with strong, multi-dimensional attachment for Second life and the comparison group comprised of those with weak attachment for Second Life – were then interviewed using qualitative, semi-structured interviews. Based upon thematic analysis of the results of the qualitative interviews, it was found that participants who possess strong, multi-dimensional attachment for Second Life tended to be those who can be classified as Socially Isolated or, in other words, unable, for the most part, to experience social interaction in the actual world. Participants who possess weak attachment for Second Life tended to be those who can be classified as Socially Supported or, in other words, possessing, for the most part, the capacity for actual world social interaction. The results of the thematic analysis indicates that across six of seven identified themes, the Socially Isolated participants possessed a much more positive perception of Second Life while the Socially Supported possessed a much more dismissive perception of Second Life, one characterized by ambivalence, derision and/or embarrassment. The research concludes by suggesting that Socially Supported participants are put ill at ease by a virtual world that attempts to replicate the actual world in which they already live while the Socially Isolated are not only untroubled by such a world but they exhibit deep appreciation and attachment for Second Life. In fact, Second Life seems to play a critical role in determining the very quality of their lives; it provides them with many things that the Socially Supported take for granted, including opportunities for socializing and friendship, workplace interaction, recreational activities, and even things as banal as walking down the street, sitting at a bar and dancing with a stranger.

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  • Content based authentication of Visual Cryptography

    Wang, Guangyu

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Visual Cryptography (VC) is perceived and studied as a perfect combination of secret sharing and digital image processing. The basic idea of VC is to split original secret image into several partitions which are also called shares. VC schemes include basic VC, grayscale VC, colour VC and multi-secret VC etc. Despite the security nature of VC in secret sharing, one of the common problems of current application of VC shares is that it lacks authentication. Previous related researches have proven the possibility of VC cheating through different methods. Attackers are able to complete both cheating and modification on VC process without being noticed by VC participants. Currently available authentication schemes for VC are derived from the view of utilizing additional shares and blind authentication. This research analyses effective authentication methods using 2D barcodes and embedding binary codes into VC shares for authentication purpose. A scheme of embedding 2D barcodes into VC shares to prevent cheating will be presented to enhance the use of VC in implementation. The embedding process includes four steps: resolution adaption, image matching and replacement, barcode selection and secret recovery. The aim of this research is to propose a method of embedding 2D barcode into VC shares, thereby strengthening the cheat prevention ability of VC shares by applying the security feature of 2D barcode into VC. As an international standard of reading guidance for the blind people, Braille has been widely used as an effective communication channel. In this thesis, we will also explain Braille encoding and explain how it is applied to handle the authentication problem in VC. Similar to the use of 2D barcode in VC, the utilization of Braille in VC is also attributed to the similarity of structure and construction between Braille cells and VC shares. Even though the research of visual cryptography is based on the combination of image processing and cryptography, knowledge of VC authentication related to digital image processing and cryptography has not been fully utilized in the past years. In this thesis, the analysis of both visual features and cryptographic features of VC will be presented and utilized to assist VC authentication. The visual features of VC in this thesis include moments, histogram, centroid, entropy and Tamura Texture. Compared to those existing methods, the contribution of this research is to propose an authentication scheme of integrate those features with Hash code and digital signature so as to be embedded into VC shares.

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  • Heterosexual couples, gender discourse, and the production of relational subjectivity

    Morris, Brian (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    This study is situated in feminist and poststructural theory. The focus of the study is heterosexual relationships. In particular, the study investigates the shaping effects of patriarchal discourses on the relational subjectivity of a woman partner; how a woman partner responds to and refuses this shaping; and why and how a man might change his positioning in relation to his partner. The data were generated through focus group discussions with women, and individual interviews with men. An initial women’s focus group generated core data for analysis, which was followed by interviews with men, and then a final focus group of women. Documentary practices, derived from narrative therapy, were used to capture and bridge discussions between these three stages of data generation. A poststructural analysis investigated the production of relational subjectivity in the context of heterosexual relationships. Analysis of data included a focus on relational subjectivity as reported by one of the initial focus group women. A deconstructive analysis of material from the initial focus group showed the shaping of women’s relational subjectivities at the intersection of dominant patriarchal and resistant practices. This deconstructive analysis is supported by analyses of material from the men’s interviews, and from the final focus group of women. Further, based in knowledge generated from the initial women’s focus group, an idea for heterosexual relationship as egalitarian is developed in the analysis. The thesis argues that heterosexual relationship is often dominated by patriarchal ideas and practices that privilege the male partner. The thesis offers a philosophical location with the potential to reposition heterosexual relationship to a safe and egalitarian place. An exploration is offered about how men might take up ethical practices so that the repositioning of heterosexual relationship can be maintained, and patriarchally sustained male privilege held accountable. The thesis suggests that the ethical ideas and practices offered for egalitarian heterosexual relationship might be extrapolated to gender relations in general. My accountability as a male researcher is embedded in the process of the study, with feminist supervisors, in the research methodology with the final focus group of women, and in critical reflexivity in the data analysis. In particular, an example is provided which shows the researcher reflexively analysing one moment in the data generation where a research participant was offered a possible non-preferred position. The contribution of this study is to bring Derridean ideas on ethical action to relational subjectivity in heterosexual relationship. Its timeliness is evidenced by the demand from the women participants, and others, for men to engage in respectful and ethical relationship practices. At the same time the study argues that its timeliness is still in the making, produced in the democracy to come that is being brought into existence when the potential for respectful and ethical relationship is enacted in practice. The responsibility for inventing such practices rests with men.

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  • Planning for Underwater Anthropogenic Noise in New Zealand's Coastal Marine Area

    Daly, Dwayne (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Human activities in the marine environment, such as shipping, mineral and petroleum exploration, dredging and construction are known to produce underwater noise. Underwater anthropogenic noise can cause behavioural changes, injury and mortality in marine mammals, fish and marine invertebrates and is likely to have long-term impacts on marine animal populations. To reduce environmental effects, spatial planning for underwater noise has been proposed but has only rarely occurred. In New Zealand, regional councils are responsible for planning for underwater noise in the Coastal Marine Area. However, regional coastal plans have been criticised for not considering underwater noise. Therefore, this research aimed to: (1) discern the current approaches of regional councils to underwater anthropogenic noise and to ascertain the reasons for those approaches, and (2) identify areas of both high marine biodiversity and high underwater noise to inform spatial planning for underwater noise. Results revealed that 14 of 17 regional coastal plans do not refer to underwater noise and that general noise provisions in these plans were intended to manage above-water noise, not underwater noise. Only Auckland Council has underwater noise provisions with rules and a permitted underwater noise limit. The main factors for the absence of provisions appear to be the age of regional coastal plans and a lack of awareness of underwater noise as an issue. Results also indicated that without underwater noise provisions councils can still manage the effects of underwater noise through unrelated, high-level provisions or through the Resource Management Act, however only a small number (38%) are doing so. Some councils expressed an interest in developing underwater noise provisions including permitted noise limits but a lack of expertise and resources in councils were considered obstacles to provision development. It is concluded that central government guidance and assistance from external agencies is needed to overcome these obstacles. However, a permitted noise limit of 180 dB re 1 μPa is proposed for inclusion in provisions. To inform spatial planning for underwater noise, regions with high regional biodiversity and with localised biodiversity 'hotspots' for seven marine taxa were identified. Eleven regions were also identified as either high or low underwater noise environments. Areas with both high underwater noise and high biodiversity for the taxa were then identified. Provisions, including rules, for these areas are suggested. It is argued that provisions and spatial zones based on these results could be included in regional coastal plans to manage underwater anthropogenic noise.

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  • Robustness of Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation Effects on Corticomotor Excitability

    Morris-Cole, Katie-Rose (2015)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    The use of indirect cortical stimulation techniques to affect human corticomotor plasticity is a burgeoning field, not least because of the non-invasive nature of such protocols. Relatively new as a form of transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) is transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS). While initial studies involving its use have shown promise, there is some concern that the effects of tRNS may share the between- and within-participants variability seen with indirect stimulation procedures (Such as Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS) protocols of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)), and its sibling techniques (Most notably tDCS). A review study consisting of the use of both tRNS and a sham procedure over 46 healthy participants was conducted, in order to test this variability of outcome. A literature review was conducted to examine the history of tES protocols and the ideal parameters for assessing tRNS effect variation. TMS was used to assess changes in motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitude both before and after the application of a standard facilitatory tRNS protocol. Baseline latency measurements with antero-posterior (AP) and latero-medial (LM) coil orientations and MEPs were recorded from the target muscle - the abductor pollis brevis - prior to the application of 10 min of 2 mA tRNS. Twenty MEPs were measured every 5 min for approximately 30 mins after the intervention to assess after-effects on corticospinal excitability. The experiment showed that tRNS at 2 mA was linked to a significant net facilitation of MEPs in the post-stimulation period, compared to sham stimulation. Furthermore, a two-step cluster analysis suggested alongside the presence of an intervention effect (ie. An effect caused by the experimental proceedings, instead of any effect from the tRNS protocol) as a result of both the tRNS and sham protocols, that tRNS had a facilitatory effect which mitigated inhibition or enhanced facilitation occuring as a result of that intervention effect. There was no significant correlation between the AP-LM latency difference of MEPs and the response to tRNS, or with any subject-specific variable beyond time of day. This study indicates that tRNS has a facilitatory effect in general upon corticomotor excitability, albeit rather too variable between subjects to allow tRNS to be considered a robust effector. Ideally, future studies should attempt to define what external or internal factors determine 'ideal' (i.e. significantly facilitatory participant responsiveness to tRNS.)

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  • Luxury for oneself or luxury for others? Exploring the underlying emotions behind inconspicuous luxury consumption

    Makkar, Marian

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The field of luxury has been widely examined due to the financial advancement the industry has experienced over the last 10 years. Scholars have studied its antecedents by utilising attitude-behavioural models to discover consumers’ motivations to purchase luxury goods. However, research is scarce in understanding the different kinds of luxury brand signals and consumption involved, specifically the inconspicuous and conspicuous kind. This research focuses on inconspicuous luxury consumption with the aim of deepening insights around what related emotions are involved in this consumption preference, why do they experience them and how do they deal with them. Additionally, this study explores non-financial assets such as cultural capital and social capital and how these may emotionally drive inconspicuous consumers to purchase certain levels of luxury brand signals. Utilising an exploratory and qualitative approach, in-depth interviews with 10 luxury consumers in Dubai with inconspicuous preferences were undergone and thematic analysis was used for analysis and interpretation. Themes uncovered revealed that consumers go through a process of planning their luxury journey by pre-evaluating their choices of luxury conspicuousness. They exercise their active roles in the process and experience the choices they make and finally post-evaluate these choices. Emotions were revealed to have an important role in every part of this process, which dictates their behaviours, moving them on to the next stage of their journey. They experience these emotions because of the non-financial resources (social and/or cultural capital) they deem important to them. As they exercise their consumer choice, they experience positive, negative or mixed experiential emotions depending on whether it met their expectations. If it has, they are then able to enjoy their luxuries because it offers them symbolic schemas that complete their internal and external needs and extensions of themselves. After evaluating their experienced emotions throughout the journey, they begin the cycle once again by choosing inconspicuous luxury brands that positively elevates their emotions. It is interesting to note that inconspicuous luxury consumers demonstrate several characteristics based on their social and cultural capital, which have not been identified before in past literature. This research uncovers six groupings yielding a typology of inconspicuous luxury consumers: fashion influencers, trendsetters, fashion followers, fashion indifferent, cultural conservatives and habitual buyers. They not only desire inconspicuous luxury brands for its aesthetic beauty, functionality and quality but because it asserts their different roles in society. The usefulness of the typology is demonstrated through links to emotions and levels of social and/or cultural capital and its applications to consumption levels of inconspicuous luxury goods (i.e. highly inconspicuous versus lower inconspicuous levels). Findings offer theoretical implications in terms of luxury consumption and brand signalling and a deeper understanding into what can only be described as exploratory insights into the lives of inconspicuous luxury consumers. Further research in this line of work is needed to better uncover how emotions have a powerful role in luxury consumers’ decision-making process. Managerial implications for luxury retail management and communications of the brand are also explained to assist in the conception and development process of future luxury brands and designs to better segment and target different desired markets.

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  • Te Rongoā Kākāriki: Kanohi-ki-te-kanohi, e pai ana?

    Williams, Margaret H.

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    In Aotearoa New Zealand the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is three times higher for Māori than New Zealand European and is increasing. Participation of Māori newly diagnosed with T2DM with the Te Rongoā Kākāriki (Green Prescription, GRx) health service is lower than for New Zealand European. This thesis has four linked aims: i) to examine differences in the engagement and active participation (adherence) (Chapter 4), ii) to compare changes in physical and metabolic measures (Chapter 5) using a kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) mode of delivery or waea (telephone) for Māori and New Zealand European, iii) to better understand the perceptions, knowledge and activities of the participants that enabled them to participate (Chapter 6) and iv) to understand better how participants make and maintain lifestyle changes through the GRx health service. This GRx research study was a randomised trial (ACTRN012605000622606) using a kaupapa Māori framework and research principles, with a mixed methods approach, in which Māori and New Zealand European women and men newly diagnosed with T2DM were randomised to either kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) mode of delivery or waea (telephone) for six months. Physical and metabolic measurements were made, questionnaires completed and interviews undertaken at baseline, six and 12 months. After 12 months medical records were accessed for glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and lipid measures associated with metabolic risk. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine for differences among the categorical variables of ethnicity, mode of delivery and gender. A total of 152 (96 women, 56 men) participants aged 30-86 years consented to participate and completed baseline measurements. Recruitment was less than the target (240), but equal numbers of Māori and New Zealand European were recruited, from GRx referrals that were predominantly non-Māori. The participants included 68 Māori, 70 New Zealand European and 14 ‘Other’ (neither Māori nor New Zealand European). The main findings excluded the ‘Other’ group. More New Zealand European than Māori remained in the randomised trial at six (74% vs. 51%) and 12-months (56% vs. 30%), respectively. There was a trend for more participants to remain in the kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) (68%) compared with the waea (telephone) (58%) mode of delivery at six months. The physical and metabolic data revealed that at the end of the 6-month GRx intervention, for 88 participants, body weight was reduced by 1.6 kg (95% CI, 0.3 to 2.8) and waist circumference by 3.6 cm (95% CI, 2.4 to 4.9). At six months, of the 63 who had HbA1c measured there was a reduction of 1.3% (95% CI, 0.3 to 2.4). No differences by GRx mode of delivery, ethnicity or gender were observed in these analyses. At the 12-month follow-up, for the 59 participants measured (20 Māori and 39 New Zealand European), the body weight and waist circumference measures were reduced from baseline by 2.3 kg (95% CI, 0.5 to 4.0) and 5.5 cm (95% CI, 3.4 to 7.6), respectively. In 36 participants (12 Māori and 24 New Zealand European) the HbA1c was reduced by 0.6% (95% CI, 0.0 to 1.3). No differences for GRx mode of delivery, ethnicity or gender were observed. In general, improvements in physical characteristics were associated with improvements in HbA1c concentrations. The greatest improvement was in those who had higher HbA1c (worse glycaemic control) at baseline. Data from the questionnaires showed that most participants were inactive at baseline (≤ 30 min/day) and 25% reportedly increased their participation in walking activities at six and 12 months with no differences noted between mode of delivery, ethnic groups or gender. Overall, no changes in intensity and time spent in physical activity were found between six and 12 months. Optimism and positive self-belief in ability to manage their diabetes did not change. However, a small association was found between the changes in the perceived need for special training and changes in body weight, waist circumference and the diabetes empowerment score. Five key themes from the interviews, in relation to improved self-management of T2DM, were found. The themes involved: whānaungātanga: strengthening relationships; pātaka mātauranga: sharing knowledge; whakamana: empowerment; manaakitanga: giving and receiving support and assistance from others and pikitia ngā maunga: overcoming barriers. A shared responsibility of the participants, the researcher and Māori GRx kaiwhakahaere, including the general practitioner and/or practice nurse to communicate better and overcome barriers, was identified. Kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) was the preferred approach to GRx even though there were no differences in metabolic/physical outcomes with mode of delivery. Overall, participants endorsed that the initial kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) contact was instrumental to their understanding and participation. To conclude, the GRx health service delivered by Sport Waikato Regional Sports Trust was associated with comparable improvements in HbA1c and weight among Māori and New Zealand European with no difference between the two modes of delivery. Kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face-to-face) contact was the preferred approach to GRx. Participation by Māori once referred was relatively high and probably higher than New Zealand European, but with high drop-out. Understanding of GRx was poor prior to entering the service. The major hurdle to GRx uptake among Māori appears to be in primary care. Primary care needs to improve their explanation of GRx and their linkage with the GRx programme. New strategies are required to maintain participation.

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  • He Marae Ora, He Marae Manawaroa: exploring the resilience in a Marae which has survived without gaming machine proceeds funding

    Thompson-Evans, Te Pora

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Quality funding that is clear of repercussion and ethical questioning is fundamental to marae development and whaanau wellbeing. With more and more communities becoming reliant on Gaming machine funding with little regard to the communities from which the funds were first generated. Gaming machines situated outside of casino are predominately located within low socio-economic, deprived and vulnerable neighbourhoods. Although the people within these neighbourhoods are least economically resourced, they are more than likely to be the greatest financial contributors to the gaming machine pool of funds. Problem gambling is a growing concern for such neighbourhoods and communities. Furthermore and quite often it is Maaori who make up a large portion of these communities and are again likely to suffer great harm from problem gambling, alongside their whaanau. To date studies have not yet considered in great depth the implications of receiving gambling funds from gaming machines. This eclectic kaupapa Maaori research study explored the resilience in marae who survived without the need for gambling funds from gaming machines. In-depth semi-structured interviewed were conducted with eight marae committee members of Te Iti o Hauaa marae in the Waikato region. The findings indicated that traditions of tikanga, tapu and mauri were the greatest factors that enabled and maintained a decision-making process by which gambling and the taking of gambling funds especially those from pokie machines has been disallowed on the marae for over one hundred years. The marae funding model in the form of four pou draws on whanaungatanga and relationship linkages the marae has established within the marae itself, the wider iwi and its kinship ties and also the relationship linkages to the community and government. Ethical issues relating to harms to whaanau also arose as a significant theme to not accepting gaming machine funding. Participants discussed their use of succession planning through building the capacity of their generations towards self-determinations has enabled the marae to sustain their operations and development with no funding sought outside their model. This study concludes that utilising such a model of funding based on tikanga values and ensuring succession planning to build social capital, community cohesion and participation may very well enable more marae to reduce and eliminate their reliance on gaming machine funding

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  • Effects of FUX on gemcitabine sensitivity in lung cancer cells

    Lu, Wei

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Lung cancer has accounted for the most deaths from cancer (19.2% of all cancer deaths) in registered cancer cases in New Zealand. At present lung cancer treatment is inadequate, as patients treated with the front-line drugs, such as gemcitabine, rapidly develop drug resistance by decreasing cellular accumulation and/or avoiding apoptosis. Fucoxanthin (FUX), extracted from edible seaweed such as Undaria pinnatifida, has recently been reported to inhibit membrane drug efflux transporters (ABC transporters) and induce apoptosis in various cancer cell lines. Previous studies in AUT have defined FUX extracted from New Zealand Undaria pinnitifida with anti-cancer properties by using in vitro cell models. FUX has been reported to have few adverse effects in some animal models. We hypothesize that FUX may be a safe sensitizer to reverse gemcitabine resistance in lung cancer cells by increasing cellular accumulation of gemcitabine. The primary objective of this study was to assess the potential effects of FUX to reverse gemcitabine resistance in human lung cancer cell lines. The secondary objective of current study is to investigate the mechanisms of FUX actions if FUX may potentiate gemcitabine sensitivity. The third objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of FUX on modifying gemcitabine toxicity in two typical normal human cell lines. Several types of human cell lines were used in this study including a lung carcinoma cell line A549, and two typical normal human cell lines embryonic kidney cell HEK293 and adult dermal fibroblasts (HDFa). Anti-proliferative effects were determined by 48-hr and 72-hr MTT (3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assays. As a single agent, either gemcitabine or FUX showed concentration-dependant inhibition of lung cancer proliferation in 72-hr MTT assays, with IC50 values of 9nM and 13μM, respectively. FUX increases gemcitabine sensitivity in an NSCLC cell line, A549 cell in a time and concentration dependant manner. Indeed, the 72-hr IC50 value for gemcitabine was only 3.9nM in the presence of 8μM FUX, which was decreased by 59% when comparing with control (P< 0.05). More importantly, FUX has no apparent effects on gemcitabine toxicity in two typical cell lines representing normal human tissues. It would be expected that FUX may represent a unique sensitizer, which may turn a less effective anti-cancer drug into an exceptional one. To elucidate the mechanisms of action of FUX, it is necessary to carry out a mechanistic study to investigate if FUX changes the intracellular gemcitabine accumulation in A549 cells. To determine gemcitabine in A549 cellular homogenates, an HPLC method has been developed and validated. In this study, while gemcitabine cannot be separated sufficiently from the cellular interferences using a conventional C18 column, aphenyl-hexyl column was found to be efficient to achieve better separation for quantitation of gemcitabine. This is because that separation using the phenyl column is conducted via the π electron, which in this case utilizes the π-π interaction between the phenyl group π electron and the analyte's π electron. Validation data indicates that the method is sensitive and reliable, with acceptable accuracy (85-115% of true values) and precision (CV < 15%). The assay specificity was indicated by the absence of interfering chromatographic peaks in cellular homogenates, and the LOQ of the assay was 0.5 μM. Calibration curves for gemcitabine were linear with the mean correlation coefficients > 0.987. This method has the advantage of being relatively rapid and efficient, with the retention time of gemcitabine separated from the substances in cellular homogenates. Therefore, this HPLC method is suitable for gemcitabine measurement in A549 cellular homogenates studies. Cellular accumulation studies suggest uptake of gemcitabine may reach equilibrium after 4-hr in the presence or absence of FUX. FUX (10 μM) shows the potentials to increase the steady-state accumulation of gemcitabine in A549 cells. However, it does not affect the initial cellular uptake of gemcitabine in A549 cells. While this mechanistic research provides some clues to elucidate the effects of FUX on gemcitabine accumulation, more details about the exact mechanisms of its action, are warranted for further studies in the future. However, a major limitation of this HPLC method is a lack of detection of gemcitabine metabolites. The cytotoxic action of gemcitabine has been attributed to inhibition of DNA synthesis by dFdCDP and dFdCTP. The HPLC method described in this study may not be suitable to simultaneously measure these active metabolites. Thus it is worthwhile to determine the cellular pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine and its metabolites in A549 cells and other NSCLC cells simultaneously by using an LC-MS/MS system. In conclusion, fucoxanthin increases gemcitabine sensitivity to A549 cancer cell lines, and more importantly, it has no apparent effects on gemcitabine toxicity in two typical cell lines representing normal human tissues. It would be expected that FUX may represent a unique sensitizer, which may turn a less effective anti-cancer drug into an exceptional one.

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  • Teenage girls' daily engagement with mass media: implications for identity construction and well-being

    Gooch, Andrea

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    A process of identity formation often defines teenage years where young people transition into adulthood. Multiple factors such as family environment and sociocultural context contribute to shaping teen girls’ identities, what they believe in and how they see themselves as fitting into the world around them. Mass media plays a big part in constructing social realities, often depicting narrow and limited depictions of masculinity, femininity and ideal girlhood. Young people, who may have less experience and critical awareness when it comes to media messages, may take on stereotypical or problematic images as representing reality. This research project explores from a social constructionist perspective, teenage girls daily engagement with the mass media and the implications of this for their identity construction, health, and well-being. Six face-to-face interviews were conducted with teen girls aged between 14 and 17 years old. These girls were asked to collect media images over one week and their responses to these images were discussed. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted and four dominant themes were identified within the talk: ‘It’s all about appearance’; ‘Attracting the boys’; “Inspirational content”; and ‘The pressure to be “trendy”. These themes are discussed demonstrating the difficult terrain teen girls face in navigating the vast and pervasive nature of mass media in constructing their personal identity. Further research is necessary into the nature of teen girls’ engagement with mass media with comparative data required from a teen boy population to expand and support initial insights gained from this project.

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  • Capturing recurring concepts in high speed data streams

    Sakthithasan, Sripirakas

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    This research addresses two key issues in high speed data stream mining that are related to each other. One fundamental issue is the detection of concept change that is an inherent feature of data streams in general in order to make timely and accurate structural changes to classification or prediction models. The shortcomings in the past research were addressed in two versions of a change detector that were produced during this research. The second major issue is the detection of recurring patterns in a supervised learning context to gain significant efficiency and accuracy advantages over systems that have severe time constraints on response time to change due to safety and time critical requirements. Capturing recurrent patterns requires the detection of concept change with minimal false positives. This research addresses this latter problem as a pre-requisite to formulating a novel mechanism for recognizing recurrences in a dynamic data stream environment. The first approach to change detection, termed SeqDrift1 that relies on a detection threshold derived using the Bernstein bound and sequential hypothesis strategy ensured much lower false positive rates and processing time than the most widely used change detector, ADWIN. The second version of the change detector, SeqDrift2, achieved significant improvement on detection sensitivity over SeqDrift1. This was achieved through two separate strategies. The first was the use of reservoir sampling to retain a larger proportion of older instances thus providing for better contrast with newer arriving instances belonging to a changed concept. The second strategy was to trade off false positive rate for detection delay in an optimization procedure. The net result was that SeqDrift2 achieved much lower detection delay than SeqDrift1 but sacrificed some of its false positive rate when compared to SeqDrift1, while still retaining its superiority with respect to this measure vis-à-vis ADWIN and other change detectors. Having proposed a robust and efficient mechanism for change detection two different meta-learning schemes for recurrent concept capture were proposed. A novel framework using the two schemes consists of concept change detectors to locate concept boundaries, a Hoeffding tree compressor to exploit the application of Discrete Fourier Transform on Decision Trees to produce compact Fourier Spectra, a forest of Hoeffding Trees to actively learn and a pool of Fourier spectra to be reused on similar recurring concepts. In the first scheme, termed Fourier Concept Trees (FCT), each Fourier spectrum is separately stored and reused on similar concepts. Accuracy and memory advantages have been empirically shown over an existing method called, MetaCT. In the second scheme, instead of storing each spectrum on its own, an ensemble approach, Ensemble Pool (EP), was adopted whereby several spectra were aggregated into single composite spectrum. The major advantage of this strategy over the first was the reduction in storage overhead as redundancies in separate spectra are eliminated by merging into one single entity. In addition, Fourier spectrum generation is optimized with theoretical guarantees to suit high speed environments. Extensive experimentation that demonstrated the benefits including accuracy stabilization, memory gain, reusability of existing models etc., has been done with a number of synthetic and real world datasets. This includes a case study on a Flight simulator system which is one of the target applications of this research.

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  • Economic Valuation of Water Quality Improvements in New Zealand

    Mkwara, Lena Asimenye (2015)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Waikato

    Efficient decision making in environmental management requires good data on the costs and benefits of changes in environmental quality. However, full assessment of the benefits of better water quality has been a challenge because some of the component values cannot be directly measured. The advent of non-market valuation techniques has made it possible to estimate these values. In this thesis, the travel cost random utility model and fishing choice data from the National Angling Survey are used to assess the benefits of better water quality for trout anglers in the Rotorua Lakes and a choice experiment is used to assess the benefits of cleaner streams for Karapiro catchment residents. We also explore three methodological aspects which may affect non market value estimates, namely within season variability, scale heterogeneity across individuals and respondent perceptions of the status quo. Accounting for within-season variability in site attributes that are variable across the season may reduce multicollinearity. We find that differences in welfare estimates between models accounting for within-season variability and those that do not may result from differences in attribute and collinearity levels or the combined effect of both. We assess whether benefit estimates remain stable over time using models that account for scale heterogeneity across individuals and demonstrate that ignoring scale heterogeneity across the sampled population may result in researchers erroneously concluding that estimates of marginal willingness to pay are stable over time. A choice experiment on preferences for stream water quality is used to assess the effects of respondent’s perception of status quo conditions on welfare estimates. The results build on earlier findings which suggest that failure to take account of respondents’ beliefs leads to biased welfare estimates. Overall we find that lakes with better water clarity, that are larger in size, with bigger fish, more facilities and more forest cover are preferred. Similarly, streams with water quality that is suitable for swimming and where trout are found, are preferred. We estimate the aggregate annual benefit for anglers of a one metre increase in water clarity in all the Rotorua Lakes which currently have poor or average water water quality to be NZ$2.3 million. The travel cost RUM is also used to assess the overall benefit that trout anglers obtain from each lake. The annual level of these benefits totals NZ$21.7 million.

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  • Customers' expectations of hotel green marketing: a New Zealand quantitative study

    Mat Yusof, Noor Amalina

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Tourists’ perceptions of destination impacts and environmental consequences of their visits to destinations likely play a central role in travel decision-making (Lee, Hsu, Han, & Kim, 2010) . Their demands for environmentally friendly products encourage hotels to react accordingly by participating in the ‘green movement’ and committing to green marketing strategies that require both financial and non-financial support. With a developing demand for environmentally friendly products and hotels, the purchasing of green products by customers should be increasing, but recently the actual purchasing of these products seems to have declined. Green marketing is proposed to neutralise negative perceptions towards green practices (Rex & Bauman 2007) This study therefore investigates customer perceptions of green marketing strategies and activities. Particularly, this study examines green marketing related activities with two main objectives: (1) explore hotel customers’ opinions of green marketing strategies and (2) explore hotel customer expectations of environmental best practices within green hotels. Focusing on the New Zealand context, this study aims to assist green hoteliers to better develop green marketing to improve such initiatives in the hotel industry. Customer perceptions are explored utilising the four Ps of the marketing mix: product, price, promotion and place. A quantitative case study approach to the research is used. In particular, a self-administered questionnaire was given to delegates who attended an environmental-related conference in Auckland in 2014. Respondents were expected to have informed knowledge about the environment and hotel green marketing programmes. This knowledge was expected to provide insights to help marketers develop better green marketing strategies. As explained in the results chapter, respondents acknowledged certain green marketing strategies as effective, neutral or ineffective. Effective strategies were those in which green products were seen as special, those that used internet technology to disseminate green initiatives to customers, where green practices were undertaken at the premises, where appropriate business partners were used, where environmentally friendly distribution channels (from vendors to customers) were used, and where the overall image was believed to encourage customers to purchase green products at a green hotel. The functionality of eco-labels in green promotions was perceived neutrally. Some respondents acknowledged the importance of these eco-labels as quality assurance, while others perceived them as uninteresting promotional strategies. The ineffective green marketing strategy was pricing strategy; respondents expressed their particular dislike of being charged extra for green products. The results also produced a surprise finding; in spite of viewing green products as special, respondents also believed green products may harm human health. In terms of green practices, generally respondents favoured tangible practices. However, they mostly preferred practices in which they could participate (e.g. recycling programmes, linen and towel re-use programmes), those which they were involved with at home (e.g. recycling programmes, linen and towel re-use programmes, using green cleaning products) and those which were convenient for them while staying at a hotel. These findings can assist hoteliers to review their current green marketing strategies and develop better ones to persuade green customers to purchase green products. In terms of the academic literature, results of this study were successful in their aim of adding new knowledge to the green marketing research area.

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  • Dynamic process of user adaptation to complex mandatory information systems

    Wanchai, Paweena

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    The introduction of a complex system, such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, requires users to adapt to the simultaneous requirements of the new system and the associated organisational and business process changes. Unsuccessful adaptation to complex mandatory systems generates significant financial and opportunity costs to organisations and makes some employees feel dissatisfied with their jobs. Previous information systems (IS) research provides important insight into IS use. However, there is a lack of an in-depth study of the process of user adaptation that explains how user adaptation behaviours change over time and what triggers users to modify their system use behaviours. This study unveils the dynamic adaptation process and offers an explanation of how adaptation behaviours unfold over time. The fieldwork was conducted in four organisations in Thailand: one private, one state-owned, one non-profit and one multinational. An embedded multiple-case study design was applied in this research. Using the critical incident technique, 46 in-depth interviews were conducted with ERP users, managers and IT specialists. Grounded theory informed both the method of data analysis and the technique for theory building. As a result of an inductive theorising process, three intertwined core themes emerged. The first theme, user adaptation behaviours, reflects the different ways in which users respond to the evolving work practices that an ERP system imposes. The second theme, situational conditions, reveals the underlying conditions that influence the user adaptation process including social-task-user conditions and system-business process comprehension. The third theme, triggers, refers to events that change user perceptions towards the system or changes in the work environment. This study produces an emergent, substantive theory that explains how individuals dynamically adapt to complex mandatory IS. These adaptation behaviours, which are shaped by situational conditions, manifest in the form of reluctant, compliance, faithful and enthusiastic adaptation behaviours. Through their interaction with the system, individuals are constantly assessing the system in relation to the existing situational conditions. The adaptation behaviours espoused at any given time can be subsequently modified through task-related, organisational-related and system-related triggers.

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  • Comparative analysis of construction procurement systems based on transaction costs

    Rajeh, Mohammed

    Doctoral thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Within construction procurement, Transaction cost economics (TCE), offers a mechanism to understand ‘unseen’ costs associated with the pre and post-contract work. Pre-contract, these include costs related to information gathering and procurement. Post-contract they include activities of contract administration and enforcement. This research investigates the relationship between procurement system and transaction costs (TCs) in the New Zealand construction industry, developing a theoretical model of relationship between procurement systems and TC. The model was operationalized and developed into a questionnaire. A cross-sectional sample approach was deployed, involving questionnaire survey, interviews, and research verification through ‘real world’ cases. Data was sought from professionals in management, design and operations (i.e. project managers, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, and procurement officers). These professionals represented several construction organizations and NZ Councils (Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin). TCs were measured using time-spent conducting procurement related activities as a surrogate for cost. Professionals evaluated their time spent on procurement activities using a 5-point Likert scale, comparing the Traditional and Design-Build delivery systems. 96 responses (74 usable) were received from a sampled population of 360 (27% response). This data was triangulated with interviews to test and explain the model. The tests included Validity and Reliability Tests, Path Analysis, Regression Analysis, Factor Analysis, and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The primary analytical technique used was Structural Equation Modelling to yield information on Goodness-of-Fit, model development and comparison, and confirmatory strategies. SPSS Amos 21 statistical software was used for data analysis and model development. The data demonstrated univariate and multivariate normality assumptions underlying SEM testing of research hypotheses. Of 43 hypotheses tested, six null hypotheses were rejected, demonstrating a positive relationship between the costs of information, procurement, administration, and enforcement with TCs. Additionally environmental uncertainties have indirect significant impact on TCs. The results suggest procurement systems have indirect impact on TCs, which is fully mediated by costs of information, procurement, administration, and enforcement. Finally, for research results verification, the models were applied to real-life cases (four Traditional, two Design-Build). TCs were calculated using regression equations based on factor loadings in the Traditional and Design-Build models. It was found that TCs in the Traditional system amounts to 18.5% of the annual salary cost of a project manager (as an indicator quantum), while in the Design-Build system, it amounts to 14.5% of the annual salary cost of a project manager. This study applies a new theoretical model for procurement selection based on TCs, investigating and empirically demonstrating the influence of procurement system on TCs in construction. It also offers a new plausible explanation for the factors influencing TCs in procurement. The findings have practical implications on construction business practice due to their robust empirical nature and theoretical framework, which might enhance the performance of the construction industry. The study contributes to the procurement selection in construction, by introducing a new conceptual model for the link between procurement systems and TCs. It has extended the current practices for procurement selection by estimating TCs for different procurement systems, specifically for the Traditional and Design-Build systems for comparison. This study emphasizes ‘in-house’ TCs from the perspective of the client, consequently the study recommends that the work be expanded to determine the ‘out-of-house’ TCs from the contractor perspective. Furthermore that to expand the relevance of the findings further work using the same methodology should be used to measure TCs for other procurement systems for comparison purposes. Finally, this study calculates TCs within projects, so it was recommended to further explore intra-organizational TCs in construction.

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  • Interactive evolutionary computation in design applications for virtual worlds

    Kruse, Jan

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    Modern films, games and virtual reality are highly dependent on convincing computer graphics. Models of high complexity are a requirement for the successful delivery of many animated scenes and environments. While workflows such as rendering, compositing and animation have been streamlined to accommodate increasing demands, modelling of complex models is still a laborious and costly task. This research introduces the computational benefits of Interactive Genetic Algorithms to computer graphics modelling while compensating the negative effects of user fatigue, a commonly found issue with Interactive Evolutionary Computation. A multi-agent system is used to integrate Genetic Algorithms with computational agents and human designers. This workflow accelerates the layout and distribution of basic elements to form highly complex models. It captures the designer’s intent through interaction, and encourages playful discovery. A modelling pipeline integrating commercially available tools with Human-based Genetic Algorithms is implemented, and a Renderman Interface Bytestream (RIB) archive output is realized to provide easy adaptability for research and industry applications. Comparisons between Interactive Genetic Algorithms and Human-based Genetic Algorithms applied to procedural modelling of computer graphics cities indicate that an agent-based evolutionary approach outperforms a purely human-centric solution: More iterations are possible in less time, which ultimately leads to better results and a superior user experience. Based on initial testing, a range of suggestions for future investigation are given.

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  • Imagining the revealed God : Hans Urs von Balthasar, Eberhard Jungel, and the triduum mortis

    Sharman, Elizabeth Pauline (2007)

    Doctoral thesis
    University of Otago

    'Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.' [Rom 12:2] Hans Urs von Balthasar and Eberhard Jungel are profound and imaginative thinkers who unreservedly ground their theologies in revelation as God's self-disclosure. This thesis asks what resources such revelation-centred authors, from different traditions, may contribute to a theological understanding of the human imagination. Although theology has often been more interested in the constructive capacities of the imagination, it is the responsive quality of the imagination that is of particular interest to this thesis. Can the imagination contribute to a theological understanding which comprehends the action and speech of God as antecedent to human response? This thesis examines the epistemological issues that are related both to the imagination and to revelation as the self-communication and self-interpretation of God. The imagination is conceived of as essential to perception and understanding; it allows for both recognition and re-cognition. Through the imagination we can rethink the patterns or paradigms that shape our lives. The renewing of the mind can be said to involve the imagination. However, spiritual transformation requires more than a notion of the imagination as a spontaneous mental act which determines its own content. Balthasar and Jungel, while thinking in lively and narrative ways, are constrained by divine self-disclosure. God's self-revelation provides the content of the paradigm or pattern by which the Christian believer is to live. The imagination can be said to act as the context or locus of revelation. This thesis demonstrates that the three days of Easter are central to Balthasar's and Jungel's respective understandings of God. For Balthasar and Jungel, the triduum mortis is where the self-revelation of God is most apparent; it is here that God is understood to be self-giving love as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While quite distinct in their approaches, both authors work within trinitarian, and therefore relational, frameworks. This thesis traces the motifs that not only express their understandings of the paschal mystery in relational terms but also ground their respective understandings of renewed existence; for Balthasar, the motifs of mission and kenosis, and for Jungel, those of identification and justification. For both Balthasar and Jungel, the events of the triduum mortis can be said to provide the content of, and act as a boundary to, our conception of God. Nonetheless, it is proposed that, within their respective understandings of divine prevenience, Balthasar and Jungel leave room for the exercise of the imagination. God is mystery; God is not a fixed or completed concept.

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