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

Notices & News

  • A Tribute to Brian Hayman

    Prof Brian Hayman died age 87 - formerly Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Massey University

    BrianHaymanProfessor Brian Hayman passed away peacefully at Wellington Hospital on 15th August 2014, after a short illness, at age 87.  Brian retired at the end of 1988 as Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Massey University. He was President of the NZSA in 1969. Click here for an item by Dick Brook about Brian just before Brian retired from Massey.

    Brian’s funeral service will be held at Kapiti Coast Funeral Home Chapel, 9-11 Hinemoa Street, Paraparaumu, at 11am on Thursday, 21st August.
    His death notice is:

    Harold Henderson notes, “Brian was on the enrolment desk in 1971 when I turned up to register for my first year at Massey. He directed me into the statistics/computer science paper, which I had not thought of doing. This chance encounter with Brian set the course for my career in statistics“.

    And Jennifer Brown also notes  “My statistics career was also a chance conversation with Brian – he was the Head of Department when I started taking statistics papers out of interest extramurally through Massey (I was in Rotorua at FRI then). He pointed out that with a bit more structure to my programme of study I could aim for a PG Diploma which I did. This eventually led me to enjoying statistics so much that I resigned from my job and studied for a PhD. It was only that chance meeting and the fact he spent time talking with me changed everything. I am so grateful for this.”

    A tribute to Brian from Graeme Wake

    The founding head of Mathematics and Statistics Department at Massey (PN) died on Friday.  He was the first Professor of Mathematics at Massey, and his position became Professor of Statistics on my appointment as the former in 1986.  He served  25 years in the Headship role. He was followed as Professor of Statistics  by Jeff Hunter. Brian held very strong views on the role of Statistics, which he espoused at every opportunity. Although we often differed on this,  he and I  remained good friends.  His goal of a separate Department happened after he retired when it was created under a Federated School which was the forerunner of IIMS. He was a very efficient Head of Department for all of that time and had his finger on the pulse.  Most importantly he was always available to help colleagues and students.  He was noted as tutoring students on a one-to-one basis very regularly: for example,  He was known to visit extramural students everywhere…one of note was an inmate at Manawatu prison.

    A tribute to Brian from Bruce Weir

    At the end of my second year as a mathematics undergraduate at the University of Canterbury I was able to spend the summer working as in intern with Brian Hayman in the DSIR  Applied Mathematics Division branch at Lincoln. I had no knowledge of genetics but Brian gave me a small book by H. Kalmus to read, and suggested  a straightforward extension of his work on the algebra of mixed mating systems for me to investigate.  This was my introduction to the field I have worked in ever since, and my first exposure to the satisfaction of research. I had an outstanding researcher as a mentor.

    Brian later introduced me to Clark Cockerham at North Carolina State University, who accepted me as a graduate student. With my newly minted PhD  I sought academic positions in New Zealand, and Brian once again came to my support with an offer. My years in Palmerston North, 1970-76, in Brian’s department at Massey had two major effects: I met my wife Beth and we both met the people who are still our friends 45 years later.

    Brian was a major figure in statistical genetics, and his generosity in guiding a very junior undergraduate has served as a model I have tried to follow ever since.

    Bruce S Weir
    Professor and Chair, Department of Biostatistics
    University of Washington

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  • The Young Statisticians’ of the New Zealand Statistical Association have had a very active year. Our national event was held during our most recent national conference at AgResearch in Hamilton. The meat prepared for us especially by the meat scientists at AgResearch was definitely a highlight of the night. In addition to our national event, there have also been a number of local events in both Christchurch and Wellington, involving seminars, networking, and casually getting together for an after work or university drink.

    The highlights for me were hearing from Dr Richard Arnold about how to explain statistics to non-statisticians, something I’m sure we all struggle through at one point or another, and hearing from a range of speakers about their careers in statistics. Hearing from these speakers really reiterated how varied the work is we can do with Statistics.  At all of the seminars we’ve run we had great turn out, with Young Statisticians attending from across government, the private sector, and universities, which has been fantastic to meet so many new people.

    If you are interested in joining the Young Statisticians group of the NZSA please contact me and I will add you to our mailing list. Without giving too much away our next event is going to have an international flavour….


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  • NZSA are pleased to announce that Steffen Klaere (University of Auckland) is our new newsletter editor.   Steffen is currently collecting material for the next edition.  Please email Steffen (  your contributions by mid-July.

    Steffen Klaere, NZSA Newsletter Editor

    Steffen Klaere, NZSA Newsletter Editor

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  • Auckland R Meet Up

    Hadley Wickham presents Pipelines for Data Analysis

    “Pipelines for data analysis”, Hadley Wickham


    Friday, 15th July 2014
    Room B05, Building 303 Science Building, University of Auckland

    Over the last year and half, three things have had a profound impact on how I develop tools for data analysis: Rcpp, writing the advanced R book ( and the pipe operator (%>%, from magrittr). In this talk, I’ll focus on the pipe operator and how it’s influenced the development of tidyr, dplyr and ggvis, the next generation of reshape2, plyr and ggplot2. Come along to learn about why I think pipelines are awesome and see how pipelines + tidyr, dplyr, and ggvis can make your data analysis fast, fluent and fun.

    More information: Meet Up 07-2014


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  • NZMASP2013

    NZ Mathematics and Statistics Postgraduate Conference

    Massive mountains, lush landscapes, a secluded settlement – Cass, home to the homonymous University of Canterbury field station, turned out to be an ideal venue to facilitate fruitful exchange of mathematical ideas among postgraduate students from throughout New Zealand. A group of thirty PhD and Masters students attended this year’s instalment of the annual NZ Mathematics and Statistics Postgraduate (NZMASP) conference, on the 11th to 14th of November. NZMASP2013 was held thanks to generous funding from NZMS, Mathworks, NZ Statistical Association, Royal Society of NZ, SAS, Statistics NZ, and the Mathematics and Statistics departments of NZ Universities.

    Besides a wide variety of student talks, which everyone agreed to be of an excellent standard, the agenda featured invited speakers Emmanuel Jo (SAS Institute Inc.), Alex James (Applied Mathematics), Jeanette McLeod (Pure Mathematics) and Elena Moltchanova (Statistics). Students benefited from the opportunity to network with young and established researchers, to chair sessions, and to present their research in front of a supportive audience. The invited speakers even provided detailed written feedback on the contributed talks for the speakers to put into practice at future presentations.

    One highlight, which isolated Cass had to offer, was the view of the stars on a clear night. Imagine a bunch of excited mathematicians spotting satellites, observing shooting stars and identifying brightly shining planets – made easy with augmented reality star maps on smartphones!

    Congratulations to this year’s winners of the four prizes for the best talks, Jennifer Creaser, James Dent, Katie Sharp and Timm Treskatis. The conference organisers, Peter Jaksons, Nick Brettell, James Dent and Rachelle Binny (postgraduate students from the University of Canterbury), did a great job running a conference that never went behind schedule. Next year’s NZMASP conference, to be hosted by students from the University of Auckland, will be awaited with much anticipation.

    Cass Field Station,  the venue of NZMASP2013

    Cass Field Station, the venue of NZMASP2013

    Timm Treskatis  (University of Canterbury)

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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: Monday, 4th August 2014