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

Notices & News

  • Liz Viggers: 1929-2016

    A Life Story - Elizabeth Viggers, fundraiser extraordinaire, dies, 87

    Liz Viggers was a long-standing member of the NZ Statistical Association from 1962-2010.   An article on Liz appeared in the Dominion Post on 10 Sept, 2016.


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  • The NZSA Awards Committee are calling for nominations for the Association’s awards in 2016. The awards are:

    Campbell Award
    This award recognises an individual’s sustained contribution to the promotion and development of statistics.

    Littlejohn Research Award
    This award recognizes excellence in research, based on publications during the five calendar years preceding the date of the award.

    Worsley Early Career Research Award
    This award recognizes outstanding recent published research from a New Zealand statistician in the early stages of their career.

    Nominations should be sent to Prof. James Curran, Convenor of the NZSA Awards Committee, by email ( or post (Department of Statistics, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland). The closing date for nominations in 2016 is Friday the 30th of September.

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  • R Meet Up

    Date and Time:

    17:00 ~ 19:00

    Thursday, 18st Aug 2016


    Room B09,

    Building 303 Science Building

    38 Princes Street, The University of Auckland

    Presentation 17:00~18:00

    Presenter:       Andrew Worsley

    Topic:               R’s Collision Course with the Commercial World

    Duration:         ~20 minutes

    Abstract:         Pivotal events that have enhanced R’s commercial viability are presented along with thoughts on a robust and manageable deployment in this context. Communication of the benefits of R to decision makers is also discussed.

    Presenter:       Dr Stefan Schliebs

    Topic:               Delivering with R

    Duration:         ~40 minutes

    Abstract:         A data analysis is typically delivered through charts, reports, slides, dashboards, web pages and web applications. High-quality analytics deliverables can be conveniently produced using R. The talk covers RMarkdown, Shiny, shinydashboards, leaflet maps and D3 visualizations.

    Networking 18:00~19:00:

    Refreshments will be provided after the presentation. Thanks to our sponsors: NZSA and Harmonic Analytics Ltd

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  • Mathematics-in-Industry NZ Study Group 2016

    4th – 8th of July at Victoria University, Wellington

    The combined power of New Zealand’s best and brightest mathematical scientists was engaged in solving significant business challenges at New Zealand’s second annual Mathematics-in-Industry NZ event, 4th – 8th of July at Victoria University, Wellington.

    Successfully implemented in about 20 countries worldwide, these intensive week-long workshops offer a collaborative environment to solve problems arising in industry. Scientists participate from a range of mathematical disciplines such as dynamical systems, statistics, and operational research.

    This unconventional model sees companies paying $6000 each up-front for the rare opportunity to have their meatiest challenges tackled by mathematicians from across the country.

    New Zealand businesses that participated in 2016, include:

    • NZ Steel – Improving how the steel finishing rolling through modellingMINZ1
    • Compac Sorting Equipment Estimating the weight of a moving article across multiple weigh points
    • Transpower –Understanding how home solar electrical generation affects the national grid.
    • Fonterra – Predicting the length of time milk powders can be stored in elevated temperatures and humidity
    • Zespri – Predicting fruit quality in the supply chain from harvest to market.

    This year a new dimension was been added with representatives from Japan’s Institute of Mathematics in Industry in Kyushu attending MINZ, and NZ mathematicians joining Japan’s Study Group week later in July.  This has come about with funding from the NZ Royal Society and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.  We also had a challenge from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology entitled
    Jamstec – Smoother probabilistic distributions in climate prediction models.

    The New Zealand event is championed by Professor Emeritus Graeme Wake of Mathematics-in-Industry New Zealand (MINZ), who co-Directed the workshop with Professor Mark McGuinness from Wellington. Professor Wake has been involved in the concept since his time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Oxford where it was first launched. Professor Wake is passionate about the impact of applied mathematics noting, “These events are often the launch pad for long term partnerships between mathematicians and businesses, powering up innovation within industry”.

    The event was opened by government Minister Hon. Steve Joyce and Pro-VC Science VUW Mike Wilson (seated above, with co-Director, Professor Emeritus Graeme Wake), and had invited speakers Professor Andrew Fowler from Limerick/Oxford Universities, Dr Mary Quinn CEO of Callaghan Innovation, and Japanese Ambassador to NZ: His Excellency Toshihisa Takata (pictured, on right). MINZ2

    Compac is a keen supporter of the concept, having seen the power of Mathematics in Industry in action. Compac’s R&D Manager, Nigel Beach comments, “The support of the math group helped us transform how we sort products into fixed weight packaging. This avenue was fast, effective and productive for our team”.

    Global dairy giant, Fonterra, has been involved in several Mathematics-in-Industry events in Australia. Fonterra’s Calibration Technologist, Jo Simpson comments, “The support of the math group increased our confidence that the procedures we have in place met or exceeded international best practice. This event is an efficient process to have a large group of experts looking at a specific industry issue.”

    New Zealand mathematicians and businesses have previously taken part in joint events run by the Australia and New Zealand Industrial Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM). Professor Wake comments, “Kiwi businesses have previously had to travel across the Tasman to participate in these events, but now we are running this event right in our back yard.”

    This year’s MINZ initiative was supported by the Centre for Mathematics-in-Industry in Massey University, ANZIAM (A/NZ Industrial and Applied Mathematics Group), KiwiNet (NZ’s national network of Universities and Crown Research Institutes and Entities), New Zealand Mathematical Society and Victoria University where the event is being held.

    Dr Bram Smith (pictured), General Manager of the Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) believes the model is highlyMINZ3 compelling. Smith comments, “There is a wealth of world leading mathematics and statistical capability in Universities and Crown Research Entities across New Zealand that are hungry to solve industry problems. It’s great to see mathematicians working together to provide this creative new approach to drive business innovation”.

    More than 100 mathematicians, a number of whom were postgraduate students participated. A summary and technical report will be prepared with aim of future publication in the ANZIAM Journal Series E.

    “Mathematics-in-Industry is an extremely powerful and effective initiative to solve industry challenges. It enables businesses to focus on operations and lets mathematicians focus on what they do best – solve industry problems” notes Professor Graeme Wake. “NZ will benefit immensely from the greater use of clever mathematics in these organisations”.

    To see more information, visit

    Seumas McCroskery
    Innovation Manager, KiwiNet
    Mobile: +64 (0) 21 617 752

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  • The latest NZSA Newsletter is at

    The next newsletter is planned for early 2017.  Contributions and suggestions are very welcome.

    Marie Fitch, Editor

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More News

Young Statisticians

Courtney Jones, from the NZTA, 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, 24th May 2016