Lisa Thomasen

(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.

Devendra Oak

(Auckland Student and Early Career Representative)

I graduated in Computer Science Engineering in 2009 after which I started working in SAP consulting with Capgemini. Working on an optimization project for a retail client in Finland, I realized my affinity for analytics. I came to new Zealand for my Masters in Analytics with AUT. During my masters I was involved in MINZ as well as NZSA events. I found them to be very useful for networking. I finished my masters in 2016 and currently work with Fonterra as Senior Reporting Analyst in People Analytics and Reporting team. Our team supports the business through reports and insights drawn from the people data. I find people analytics to be a very interesting field and huge potential.

As Auckland representative, I am looking forward to building a good young statisticians’ network, where we can collaborate and learn from each other! Feel free to email me at

Amanda Hughes

(Wellington Student and Early Career 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.

Rory Ellis

(Christchurch Student and Early Career Representative)

Hi, my name is Rory Chch rep photoRory. At the start of 2016 I obtained my Master’s in Statistics from the University of Canterbury. From there, I was offered the opportunity to be an intern at Tait Communications as a Junior Design Engineer for six months. During this time, my work deviated away from the Statistics side, and more towards the Computer Sciences. However I felt that this gave me more of an interest in the Data Sciences. I believe my interest in statistics was first realised when I noticed its importance in sports, which I am very passionate about. From there, I continued to find applications in many other fields which interested me. Weighing up a future in Mathematics, Geography, or Statistics, I decided that Statistics was the career that I desired the most.

After travelling through Europe for three months, I eventually was given the opportunity (given to me through this group) to pursue a PhD in Statistics, using Bayesian Networks in forecasting grape yield, with collaboration from Lincoln Agritech, as well as other partners in Blenheim, and also Australia.

I am looking forward to being the Christchurch rep for this group, as it will give me an opportunity to get to know others who have similar interests with me in this area. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and I will be sure to help you in whichever way I can.

Timothy Bilton

(Otago Student and Early Career Representative)

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.

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

Hi, 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.