Ihaka Lecture Series a success

27 March 2018

The second annual Ihaka Lecture Series has wrapped up, and once again, the Department of Statistics is delighted at the turnout and engagement, both in person and online.

The theme of the lectures, held over three Wednesday evenings in March, was “A thousand words: Visualising statistical data”, and speakers focused on graphical ways of presenting data.

Their lectures, which were livestreamed, are now online:

Alberto was also interviewed at length by the Radio New Zealand programme Mediawatch.

Head of Department Professor James Curran says he is “very pleased that the success of last year, the first year we held the Ihaka lectures, has carried forward to this year".  

He is particularly grateful for the support provided by Hadley Wickham, a Department of Statistics graduate who has built a thriving R-based data analysis business in the US.

To recognise the 25th anniversary of R this year, Hadley set up an appeal for funds to support to Ihaka Lecture Series and talented statistics students in need, challenging all R users to give just $1 for every hour they had used R in the last year.

At the time of writing, the fund, which had a target of $93,000, stood at a healthy $46,000. The average donation was $222. The appeal closes in April.  

Lecture series require a lot of staff time and effort, and James wanted to extend a special thanks to Judith Poland, the Faculty of Science’s Events Coordinator, for her efforts; Group Services Coordinators Joei Mudaliar and Liza O’Donnell; Multimedia Technical Manager Abhinav Rakesh Chopra; and student helpers Liza Bolton, Sarah Dodd, Purnesh Tripathi, Miriam Chou, Tianli Liu and Janice Seo.

Says Liza Bolton, who organised the student meeters and greeters, “The helpers were fantastic ambassadors for our department – supportive, reliable and ready to welcome everyone with a smile. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”


The theme for next year’s Ihaka Lecture Series is machine learning. Speakers will be announced at a later date.

Professor Dianne Cook, Monash University
Professor Dianne Cook, Monash University
Associate Professor Paul Murrell, Departent of Statistics
Associate Professor Paul Murrell, Departent of Statistics
Professor Alberto Cairo, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism, University of Miami
Professor Alberto Cairo, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism, University of Miami