Painting above is from "Random Numbers", Peter James Smith (1977). Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection. View entire painting

Notices & News

  • Tuesday 24 November


    University of Canterbury, in Wheki Room 2.02 on the Dovedale Campus.
    See grid reference B3 on


    The AGM is to be held during the NZSA conference at the conference venue, however you need not be registered for the conference to attend the AGM. A copy of the  minutes from the last AGM are available at: Reports from the various NZSA officeholders and committees are becoming available there as well.

    For more information on the role of the AGM, the NZSA committees, and elections of officers, see the NZSA constitution  and polices



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  • Vacancy: Senior Research Scientist at Fonterra

    • Utilise your applied statistical and experimental design skills and experience
    • Be a vital part of the research programme at a world leading dairy provider
    • Enjoy engaging with and contributing to a broad range of innovation experiences across the Fonterra family

    The Role
    Based in Palmerston North at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre (FRDC) and reporting to the General Manager of Research and Development Food Design, the main purpose of this role is to provide expert applied statistical support and advice on sound, efficient experimental designs within innovation projects.

    Key responsibilities in this role will include …
    * To provide proactive expert advice and support, and undertake analysis, in the choice and implementation of statistical methods and experimental design
    * Evaluate new statistical tools and experimental design methodologies to train and coach Fonterra innovation staff in statistics, data analysis and good experimental design.

    Skills and Experience
    This role is a vital one with statistics and experimental design being essential to the nature of the wide range of innovation work that is done at the FRDC.

    To be successful in this role you will need …
    * Strong experience in applied statistics, preferably from a commercial dairy environment
    * Experience in statistical consulting and problem solving
    * Familiarity with making and justifying research decisions in a commercial environment.
    * Ability to explain technical material to a non-technical audience.
    * Excellent interpersonal and strong verbal and written communication skills.
    * The ability to influence others and adapt to a range of stakeholder needs.

    A Masters or PhD in applied statistics would be highly regarded for this role.

    Are you excited by this role? If so apply today by clicking here!



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  • Young Statistician Event

    2015 Joint NZSA+ORSNZ Conference

  • Date and Time:
    16:00 ~ 18:00
    Wednesday, 9th September 2015

    SLT1, Room G01, Ground
    Building 303 Science Building
    38 Princes Street, The University of Auckland

    Presentation 16:00~17:00

    Presenter:  Ian Shane Wong
    Topic: is a data mining tool that automatically finds patterns in   spreadsheet data. Built on top of (R API)
    Duration: 15 minutes

    Presenter:  Andrew Peterson PhD.
    Topic: Operational Forecasting of Short-term Hospital Occupancy using R
    Duration: 45 minutes

    Short-term forecasting of hospital occupancy is important for proactive bed management in order to minimise the risk of bed shortages, overcrowding, and the additional clinical risks these conditions can create for patients.

    An overview of a hospital forecasting system based on R and Rserve will be presented, including the mathematical underpinnings of Coxian phase-type distributions, how this class of distributions relate to the distribution of patient length of stay, and how they can be represented using finite state Markov chains to model the dynamics of hospital occupancy.

    Information will be provided on the design of the software solution which is based exclusively on R and a sprinkle of C++, how the model is fitted to data on patient length of stay using a particle swarm optimiser distributed across a cluster of computers, and how the software is deployed within a hospital’s enterprise architecture using Rserve to give 48 hour forecasts of occupancy that are updated every hour. Trials, tribulations, and lessons learned will also be shared.

    Networking 17:00~18:00
    Refreshments will be provided after the presentation. Thanks to our sponsors: NZSA and Harmonic Analytics Ltd

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  • Nihal de Silva

    On the evening of Saturday the 27th of June Nihal de Silva passed away after a battle with acute myloid leukaemia.

    Nihal joined what was then MAF Technology as a biometrician on 4 July 1988, and was initially based at Palmerston North before relocating to the Levin Horticultural Research Centre and commuting daily from Palmerston North.

    He had migrated to New Zealand from Sri Lanka where he had completed his BSc at the University of Ceylon in 1975 and Doctor of Philosophy in Quantitative Genetics at the University of Peradeniya in 1984. He had previously studied at Massey University where he completed his Masters in Agronomy in 1981, to be followed by a Diploma in Social Sciences in Statistics in 1992.

    His early work involved kiwifruit on-orchard crop estimation, where his past research experience in plant sciences and expertise in statistical software were to prove valuable.

    Nihal subsequently transferred to HortResearch, Palmerston North at the time the Crown Research Institutes were established in 1992. He later relocated to the Auckland site and became the Biometrics team leader. In this role he mentored a number of young statisticians which continued when HortResearch merged with Crop and Food forming Plant and Food Research. He was always more than happy help and very approachable. One common theme amongst the scientists he interacted was how he made the effort to understand the science behind the data.

    In addition to the high regard in which he has been held for his professional abilities, Nihal will be greatly missed for his many fine personal qualities. These very qualities were very much to the fore in recent months as he struggled to continue to give his very best in the job that meant so much to him. The large number of tributes on the PFR internal site is a testament to how valued Nihal was as both a colleague and friend within the institute.

    Mark Wohlers and Peter Alspach


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More News

Young Statisticians

Kylie Maxwell, from Statistics NZ, is the Young Statistician’s Representative.

Visit the Young Statistician’s page for more details.

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The mission of the NZSA is to lead New Zealand to value and make intelligent use of statistical thinking and good statistical practice.  Join the NZSA today!

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 10th February 2015