Six staff conferred with doctorates at Manawatū graduation


Dr Arata Hidano

Six staff members were conferred with doctoral degrees among the more than 1200 graduates across the five ceremonies in Manawatū this week.

In order to control livestock diseases effectively, it is essential to understand the complex inter-relationships between the diseases and farming practices such as livestock trading and hygiene control.

Dr Arata Hidano, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Veterinary Science, investigated farmers’ behaviours with interviews, data analysis and a computer simulation model. He showed that accumulating big data in livestock industries could provide valuable information about behaviour. The results suggest that while individual farmers may not always be concerned with disease the livestock trading system that has developed in New Zealand may have contributed to reducing a disease spread between farms.


Dr Liz Ward

The Reform Party was one of the main political parties in New Zealand prior to World War II and governed between 1912 and 1928. Despite this, there has been very little research about the origins and development of the party.

Dr Liz Ward, a tutor in the School of Humanities traced the origins of the Reform Party back to the 1880s. She found that the parliamentary Opposition in the 1890s was more organised than previously recognised but failed to find a political message that resonated with voters

At the beginning of the 20th century, William Massey, leader of the Opposition from 1903, led the transformation of its organisation. The party had a highly effective national organisation, coordinated candidate selection and campaign strategies.

Moreover, Reform actively and effectively reached out to women and Māori voters through branch networks. Arguably, by 1914, the Reform Party exhibited the characteristics of a mass party, the first of its kind in New Zealand.


Dr Mo Li

A significant portion of New Zealand’s kiwifruit production is held as stock in local cool stores for extended periods of time before being exported. The ability to make predictions about fruit with low storage potential at harvest could enable fruit to be sold earlier in the season, reducing waste and improving profitability later in the season.

A research officer in the School of Food and Advanced Technology, Dr Li investigated the use of non-destructive sensing techniques at harvest, and developed a model to predict storability of Hayward kiwifruit, either individually or in batches, based on skin properties.

Predictions based on the model achieved a 30 per cent reduction in soft fruit following storage. Applied in the industry to enable sequential marketing, significant cost savings could be achieved by reducing fruit loss, repacking and condition checking costs.



Dr Bridget Herlihy

Dr Bridget Herlihy, a tutor in the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, says sound is an integral part of our everyday experience yet the phenomenological effects of hearing aids and headphones on the perception of acoustic space has not been widely examined.

Dr Herlihy traced the evolution of acoustic prosthetics in key areas of innovation and influence. She found they have always modified how the user perceives acoustic space and in some cases enabled the experience of hybridised forms of auditory space.

Her research provides insight into the historical phenomenological effects of acoustic prosthetic technologies, specifically how they alter users’ perception of the world.


Dr Jessie Smith

As the population ages, understanding and maintaining well-being in older adulthood is increasingly important.

Dr Jessie Smith, a professional clinician in the School of Psychology, examined the relationships between meaning in life and various life roles in a sample of older adults in Aotearoa New Zealand.

She also examined the relationship between health and meaning in life among this population and found that a sense of meaning in life was associated with better psychological health but not physical health.

The results indicated that volunteering and other roles, which present opportunities to provide support for others, may be particularly effective for enhancing a sense of meaning in life among older adults.


Dr Monica Cameron

Dr Monica Cameron, a senior tutor in the Institute of Education, investigated teachers’ assessment purposes, practices and knowledge.

Understanding teachers’ beliefs about assessing four-year-olds is particularly important for supporting effective transition to school and continuity between the early childhood and school sectors.

Findings demonstrated that teachers recognised the important role of assessment, but their knowledge, purposes and practices varied widely, and were constrained relative to international recommendations for quality assessment in early childhood.

Continued research, along with professional development and initial teacher education, is needed to support teachers to develop their knowledge of assessment and its multiple purposes. By developing a broader range of assessment tools and developing shared understandings around assessment with new entrant teachers, current rhetoric and misunderstandings around assessment can be challenged.

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