HomeEarly Career StatisticiansProfiles

Student and Early Career Statistician Profiles

Lisa Hall (National and Palmerston North Representative)



After completing my Master’s in Statistics at the University of Canterbury in 2016, I moved to Palmerston North to start my statistics career at Fonterra’s Research and Development Centre. My role involves providing statistical support to assist in the development of new products and technologies in the dairy industry.

I attended my first NZSA conference in November 2015 where I organised the SECS social event. I became the NZSA SECS representative at the 2016 conference. I am looking forward to bringing some fresh ideas to the NZSA committee and the SECS Network and would love to hear your event ideas and feedback on how the network can best support you.




Amanda Hughes (Wellington’s Young Statistician Representative)


Hi, my name is Amanda. I have been Wellington’s Young Statisticians Rep since 2013.

I completed my B.Sc. (Hons) in Statistics from Canterbury University in 2011. I was an indecisive student and only chose my major in my second year, but once I chose statistics, I was very glad I did. The number of opportunities and different variety of careers for Statistics graduates is excellent and I have had the opportunity to work in many different areas in my so far short career.

My current role is an analyst in the Analysis team at PHARMAC. As an analyst I assist in collating budget forecast information, completing internal and external requests, assisting with analysis of proposals to fund pharmaceuticals, and reporting to the Senior Leadership Team and the Board among many other things.  Prior to this I worked in Statistical Methods at Statistics New Zealand for four years. In Statistical Methods I also worked on a variety of areas, from assisting in building the Integrated Data Infrastructure to selecting a sample for the Agricultural Survey; Supporting Social surveys, to providing statistical expertise to other government agencies.

As the Wellington representative I hope to build an active network of young statisticians in Wellington. Please feel free to email me if you would like to be on the Wellington mailing list.


Wa Anwar

Wa Thimasorn-AnwarHello everyone, my name is Wa Anwar. Back to the time when I graduated from high school, I joined a Statistics major without knowing what it was all about. From then, I completed a number of the statistical degrees: B. Sc. [Hons.] in Applied Statistics and M.Sc. in Applied Statistics from Thailand. I completed PGDip in Applied Statistics and currently completing my Ph.D (in Social work) from the Massey University, New Zealand.
My doctoral research aimed to make a specific contribution to knowledge for those researchers working with vulnerable, high risk and hard to reach populations by providing insight into the characteristics of participants who are hard to find or who are lost during the course of longitudinal study.
I am currently working at the Health Promotion Agency (HPA), Wellington as a Data Analyst team leader. I really like my job because it allows me to work on both researching and managing roles. I find HPA’s works are really interesting and all the research works which we do here are used to support very interesting campaigns such as alcohol, mental and gambling harm.

Kate Richards

Kate RichardsHi, my name is Kate and I am currently a biometrician at Plant and Food Research in Auckland. A career in statistics was not what I thought I would end up doing when I first started university at Massey. But after taking a first year statistics paper as part of my BSc in physiology and animal science, I decided to change my animal science major to a statistic one. This was one of the best decisions I made, as I soon learnt statistics can be applied to so many areas of research.

After completing my undergraduate degree I managed to obtain a summer scholarship combining my interest in animal health and statistics. This project lead me on a journey through my honours and PhD, and in 2015 I completed my PhD in Statistics on Statistical tools for spatio-temporal epidemiology, with application to veterinary diseases.

After submission I was lucky to be able to join the lovely biometrics team at Plant and Food Research. The role provides a lot of variety in the work that I do, as well as the scientists I work with. Within the first year with the company I have worked on datasets in a range of fields including gene expression, sensory trials, disinfestation of pests and remote monitoring of fruit.

 Lindy Guo

Hi, my name is Lindy. I first came to New Zealand when I was 18 and I have now lived in this wonderful, peaceful and beautiful country for more than 10 years.  Most of my academic knowledge was gained at the University of Auckland.   I completed my Masters degree in medical statistics in 2013, and luckily got my first job as a statistician at AgResearch in Palmerston North.  I had a great time working there with friendly colleagues.  My coding and modeling skills developed hugely during that time.

In 2014, my lovely little baby boy was born and I decided to go back to Auckland.  I joined Plant and Food Research in 2015 as a “Biometrician” which is a very similar role to that of statistician in AgResearch.  This role is to provide specialist statistical expertise and guidance to scientists working in a wide range of fields.  I love this role very much as it always gives me opportunity to work with new people and learn new skills.  I’m looking forward to developing my analytical skills further at Plant and Food Research and I would like to do a PhD if the opportunity arises.


Timothy Bilton

Timothy Bilton 2

Hi, my name is Timothy. I obtained a BSc(Hons) in Statistics from Massey University in Palmerston North, after doing a double major in Mathematics and Statistics. Upon entering university, I had no idea as to what subject I wanted to major in, except that it had to be science related. However, after taking a range of first year papers in fundamental science subjects, I found that lab based work was not for me and quickly decided to pursue a career in Statistics.

Recently, my area of interest and research has moved into the ever growing field of statistical genetics. My first exposure to this field came from taking a statistical genetics paper in the second year of my Honours degree. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until I undertook a summer internship at AgResearch that my interest in this area really flourished. Currently, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Otago where I’m working on developing statistical methods for genetic analysis using genotyping-by-sequencing data.


Vinayak Anand-Kumar

NZSA profile pic VinnieLike a number of other analysts, I ventured into the world of statistics by complete accident. My initial plans were to pursue a post graduate qualification in psychology and start practising as soon as I could. But before I could sit on a couch and determine sanity, the department told me I had to learn the basic concepts of stats so I could first determine significance.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed my undergraduate papers in Statistics. What really appealed to me about the field was its wide applicability. Upon completing my Masters in Health Psychology at the University of Auckland, I realised I enjoyed analysing numbers much more than analysing people.

I was lucky enough to land a position at Statistics New Zealand. I am currently just about to join a team looking at using administrative data for statistical purposes.  I’m still learning a lot about my adopted field of statistics and looking forward to further developing my expertise.


 Dominic O’Halloran

Hi my name is Dominic O’Halloran. I completed my undergraduate degrees at the University of Otago and then moved back home to Palmerston North where I did my Post Graduate Diploma in Statistics out at Massey in 2011.

I had a great time in Dunedin, I got to have that classic Dunedin experience. I met fantastic people, really broadened my horizons – learnt a lot academically speaking with a few life lessons thrown in as well, I lived in some horrible flats but we had some awesome parties.

I enjoy using statistics where it intersects with business. So that could be anything from a classification problem, a customer segmentation, a modelling project. I guess that all falls under ‘data mining’. I enjoy the computational side of this type of work e.g. what code to write, which software to use, is my computer powerful enough to do the job, and how do I give this back to the client.

I am currently employed as a Marketing Analyst for a company called Torque and it is my first stats related job since graduating. What I love about this job is the variety and the scale of the data that I have to analyse. I have worked on projects for a wide range of industries such as banking, insurance, superannuation, retail, telecommunications and others. The size of the data that I work with on a day to day basis is orders of magnitude larger than anything I studied at university. Another aspect of the job that I like is that my statistical knowledge is really important but I also need to learn from other disciplines such as computer science and marketing.

At the moment I am really happy writing lots of code and doing analysis work. I think in the long I would like to do more consulting work helping businesses use the data they collect but are only just starting to leverage.

Last Modified: Monday, 27th March 2017