2018 Joint NZSA and ORSNZ Conference

Tuesday 27th November – Friday 30th November 2018

Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand


The New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) and the Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) are holding a joint conference hosted by Massey University at their Manawatu campus in 2018. This conference incorporates both the 69th Annual NZSA Conference and the 52nd annual ORSNZ Conference.

The conference presentations and other events will be held from Tuesday 27th November to Friday 30th November 2018. You should note that we have left a lot of time on the start and end  days to allow the widest range of travel options for conference attendees.


We are very pleased to advise the following plenary speakers have been confirmed:


Tuesday 27 November
12:00 noon Registration opens
2:00 pm Formal Welcome and Conference Opening
2:10 to 5.20 pm Sessions start
Statistics / Mathematics Association Teachers Day
5:30 to 7:00pm


Informal social gathering on campus


Wednesday 28 November
9:00 to 5:10 pm



AGM: AgHort Lecture Block, AH3

Thursday 29 November
9:00 to 5:10 pm Sessions
6.30 pm


Conference Dinner


Friday 30 November
10:00 am Sessions start
1:00 pm Conference closes – after discussion panel.



The conference will be held at Massey’s Manawatu campus, Palmerston North.  The conference is hosted by the Institute of Fundamental Sciences.



1st August 2018: Registration/abstracts open

1st October 2018: Abstract submission closes

1st November 2018: Registration closes (for anyone wishing to present their work).


The conference webpage can be reached via the short URL: http://www.massey.ac.nz/nzsa2018

We are adding useful links to that page all the time, including accommodation options.

We look forward to seeing you all in November.


Jonathan Godfrey and Rina Parry

Co-chairs: Conference Organising Committee




2017 IASC-ARS/NZSA Conference, 10-14 December 2017, Auckland

The International Association of Statistical Computing (Asian Regional Society) and New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) are holding a joint conference hosted by the Department of Statistics, The University of Auckland at their city campus from Sunday 10th December – Thursday 14th December 2017.

This conference incorporates both the 68th Annual NZSA Conference and the 10th Conference of the International Association of Statistical Computing (Asian Regional Society).

More information is available on the conference website: www.nzsa2017.com.

The conference will begin on Sunday 10th December with an evening welcome reception.

The conference presentations and other events will be held from Monday 11th December 2017 to Thursday 14 December 2017.

For full details about the programme schedule, please click here.




2016 Conference

In 2016 NZSA held a joint conference with the Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

Photo are available on Flickr

2015 Conference

In 2015 the NZSA held a joint conference with the Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) at Canterbury University. For more information, including links to the Conference Proceedings, visit the conference website: https://secure.orsnz.org.nz/conf49/.

Photo are available on Flickr

Photo of student talk prize winners: Roy Costilla, Sarah Pirikahu, Shirley Wu (Harmonic Analytics), Anjali Gupta, Maarten Kruijver, Martin Hazelton (NZSA President)

2014 Conference

In 2014 the NZSA held a joint conference with the Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) at Victoria University in Wellington. For more information, including links to the Conference Proceedings, visit the conference website: secure.orsnz.org.nz

Photos taken by Andrew Mason and Harold Henderson are available on Flickr 

NZSA Honours 2014

Congratulations to the following members whose achievements were recognised at the 2014 conference:

Campbell Award
Shirley Pledger

Littlejohn Award
Martin Hazelton

Worsley Award
Tilman Davies

Life Members
Jennifer Brown
Neil Cox
Stephen Haslett
David Scott

Martin Hazelton (NZSA President) with 2014 Life Member, Stephen Haslett.

2013 Conference

The Operations Research Society of New Zealand (ORSNZ) and the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) held a joint conference at the University of Waikato (November 2013). This well attended and very successful conference covered practical and theoretical aspects of operations research and statistics. A gallery of photos (kindly snapped by Harold Henderson) is available at Flickr

NZSA Honours 2013

ERA, RAE, PBRF – anyone for acronym bingo? As some readers may recognize, they all relate to research assessment schemes. Success in such activities is becoming increasingly important to secure research funding (and in some cases to maintain employment!). A variety of dimensions of research output, impact and recognition are taken into account for these types of evaluation. For those aiming high, receipt of research awards are pure gold. However, until recently, statisticians in New Zealand were at a distinct disadvantage in gaining such recognition in comparison to researchers in other scientific disciplines. There was only one national award targeted exclusively at statisticians, the New Zealand Statistical Association’s Campbell Award. Moreover, that was not awarded every year, and was not specifically a research award, being available also for prolonged achievement in areas like statistics education and promotion of statistics.

Things changed from 2013, with the New Zealand Statistical Association (NZSA) establishing two new research awards. The Littlejohn Research Award recognizes excellence in research, based on publications during the five calendar years. It is named in commemoration of Roger Littlejohn, who worked as a biometrician for nearly 30 years, and who was a stalwart of the NZSA. The Worsley Early Career Research Award recognizes outstanding recent published research from a New Zealand statistician in the early stages of their career. It commemorates Keith Worsley, a world leader in the statistical analysis of functional and structural brain imaging data.

The inaugural research awards were presented at the conference dinner for the joint NZSA-ORSNZ (Operations Research Society of New Zealand) meeting in November 2013, in Hamilton. The Littlejohn Research Award was won by Professor Richard Barker (University of Otago), for his outstanding work in ecological statistics (in particular, with capture-recapture models) and the Worsley Early Career Research Award by Dr Ting Wang (University of Otago) for her excellent research in statistical geophysics. John Harraway received the Campbell Award for his a remarkable and ongoing contribution to statistics teaching and learning. John is also from the University of Otago – it’s obviously something in the air down there!

Ting Wang receives the Worsley Early Career Research Award from NZSA Award Committee Convenor, Martin Hazelton.

Lastly, for anyone who did try their hand at deciphering the acronyms, ERA is Excellence in Research for Australia; RAE is the British Research Assessment Exercise; and PBRF is the New Zealand Performance Based Research Funding.

Martin Hazelton, NZSA Awards Convenor

For more information about NZSA honours visit: NZSA Honours

NZSA Conferences

YearVenueDateAbstract Booklet
2018Massey University, Palmerston North27-30 November
2017University of Auckland10-14 December
2016Auckland University of Technology
2015University of Canterbury
2014Victoria University of Wellington25-27 November
2013University of Waikato, Hamilton24-26 November
2012University of Otago29-30 November2012 Abstracts
2011University of Auckland28-31 August2011 Abstracts
2010Massey University, Palmerston North
(in association with a Conference in Honour of Chin-Diew Lai)
29 June - 1 July2010 Abstracts
2009Victoria University of Wellington2-3 September
2008University of Waikato, Hamilton1-2 September
2007University of Canterbury, Christchurch
(in association with a Conference in Honour of John Deely
4 July
5-6 July
2006SKYCITY, Auckland
(joint with Australian Statistical Conference)
3-6 July
2005University of Otago, Dunedin4-6 July
2004Victoria University of Wellington1 July
2003Massey University, Palmerston North2-4 July
2002University of Waikato, Hamilton10 June
2001Park Royal Hotel, Christchurch
(joint with Australasian Region of IBS Conference)
10-13 December
2000University of Canterbury, Christchurch1 September
1999Victoria University of Wellington4-7 July
1998Massey University, Palmerston North4 September
1997University of Auckland, Auckland9-11 July
1996Victoria University of Wellington30-31 August
1995University of Otago, Dunedin
(joint with A.C. Aitken Conference)
28 August –
1 September
1994Massey University, Palmerston North
(joint with Conference of ORSNZ)
25-26 August
1993University of Canterbury, Christchurch25-27 August
1992Victoria University of Wellington

University of Waikato, Hamilton
(joint with International Biometric Conference)
15 May

7-11 December
1991Victoria University of Wellington28-30 August
1990University of Otago, Dunedin
(joint with ICOTS3)
19-24 August
1989University of Auckland, Auckland17-19 August
1988Massey University, Palmerston North14-17 August
1987University of Canterbury, Christchurch24-26 August
1986Victoria University of Wellington24-25 June
1985University of Auckland, Auckland
(Pacific Statistics Congress)
20-24 May
1984Victoria University of WellingtonJune 26-27
1983Victoria University of WellingtonJune 28-29

John Revfeim, in a 1966 article republished in The History of Statistics in New Zealand (pp219-221) edited by Stan Roberts, wrote:

The major activity of the Association has always been the Annual Conference that has been held in the Botany Lecture Theatre of Victoria University College, the Carter Observatory Boardroom, and since 1954, in the Lecture Hall of Wellington Public Library. To these will be added, in 1966, the Shell Theatrette. Since this is a statistical history it can be recorded that the charge for hiring a room at the Carter Observatory in 1949 was 5/- and that the profit made on morning and afternoon teas was 9/6.

In 1951 Mr I D Dick advised that the Applied Mathematics Laboratory of the DSIR expected to hold a seminar on the day following the 1952 Conference and that a small number of Association members would probably be invited. An outcome of this was the omission of mathematical papers at this, and subsequent conferences, since the Applied Mathematics seminars have continued to he held in conjunction with the conference. However, the responsibilities of the Applied Mathematics Division extend beyond mathematical statistics and the seminars, accordingly, incorporate a large proportion of mathematical physics and other non-statistical subjects. Methodological papers have, therefore, been reintroduced into the conference programme which tries to strike a balance between the theoretical and practical.

In 1965 the Operational Research Society of New Zealand cooperated with the Association in providing speakers for an additional day’s session on operational research topics. A similar joint meeting of the two bodies is planned for 1966.

The arranging of speakers for the annual conference has been a matter of varying difficulty for members of the Committee. Some papers are offered even after the circulation of a tentative programme; ” Thank you for your notice of the proposed July meeting. I wondered if there is still room on the programme for a short contribution which I would entitle …’. On one occasion an eminent overseas statistician’s presence in the country happened to coincide with the conference, and consequently, the name of Professor S S Wilks appeared on the programme in 1956. Most speakers, however, select themselves by their activities in fields of research and application of statistics whose verity is demonstrated by the list of titles. The return of a New Zealand statistician from work or study overseas has often brought him an invitation to speak.

Soliciting on the Committee’s behalf may be carried out by ‘reliable agents’ in other countries, as witnessed by the following extract from a letter to the Secretary.

Everything is fixed up: I wrote to the management and got a nice letter back. It is perfectly all right with them that he should talk and I don’t think that you need to worry about travelling expenses or anything like that; especially if you were to see their new offices …

Alternatively, the Secretary may send out a double purpose account.

Not only did I forget to collect some subscriptions from you when you were down in November, but I also overlooked asking you about giving a paper at the Conference in July this year ‘

Having settled the speakers in the programme, the next step is to ensure a good supply of listeners. This mainly falls to current members; the following are examples of approaches used with members ‘in arrears’ and prospective members.

In enclosing a copy of this year’s conference programme we would bring to your notice the pleasure we gain in having you as a member of our Association. We can assure you that this pleasure and our funds would increase together if we could see you at some of our meetings and collect from you some of your outstanding subscriptions ‘

Anyone may come to any of the sessions on this programme, the only risks being the possibility of having to pay sixpence for morning and afternoon tea and small chance of being badgered into joining the Association. ‘

Besides the formal presentation of papers at the conference and the business of the Annual General Meeting of the Association, the gathering in one place of like-minded persons stimulates much informal discussion. New entrants to the circle of applied statisticians may feel as the writer of the following did:

Please allow me to say how very much I appreciated the honour of participating in the proceedings of the Annual Meeting. Furthermore I thoroughly enjoyed all the papers and I feel that the cordiality of the reception afforded me could not have been surpassed. It was a grand show.

Doubtless the introduction of a cocktail party into the Conference Programme in 1955 may have coloured the writer’s memories.

Up until 1964 summaries of papers presented were sent out to members some six months or so after the conference. The delay is partly due to the process of extracting summaries from speakers, where many stalling tactics may be brought into play.

I regret that since returning last month I have been smitten with flu ‘ Asian, Polynesian and plain ordinary New Zealand ‘

I must admit that the principal reason has been my dislike of work of any description ‘

In 1965, summaries were sent out before the conference thereby giving some members more information on the content of the papers so that they could better select the sessions of direct interest to them. A few stalwarts, of course, attend all sessions.