TPM Whānau


Te Pūnaha Matatini Whānau is a network for Te Pūnaha Matatini’s emerging scientists. We are an active trans-disciplinary community, with a shared interest in complex systems and networks, comprising postgraduate students, postdocs and early career researchers from all over New Zealand. Te Pūnaha Matatini Whānau is a meeting place for us to share our skills and develop new skills, in particular leadership and entrepreneurship, and acquire the tools needed to become successful scientists and entrepreneurs in NZ. While many of our members have supervisors or colleagues affiliated with Te Pūnaha Matatini, our Whānau is an inclusive group and we welcome anyone who feels their research aligns with one or more of Te Pūnaha Matatini’s research themes and is keen to be involved.Many of our members are undertaking trans-disciplinary research which can make it difficult to fit in to any one department at their institute. By belonging to our Whānau network our members can feel part of a collective and meet other researchers who share their interest in complex systems and networks.Te Pūnaha Matatini Whānau provides a space for collaboration and skill-sharing, and we encourage our members to take an active role in shaping our goals and activities. We organise a range of seminars and workshops with the aim to encourage networking, to develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and for outreach. Activities are held all over NZ and we offer a limited amount of travel funding to support attendance at Whānau events.


Twitter: @TPMWhanau

Kyle Higham


Kyle is a PhD student at Victoria University of Wellington. Armed with tools borrowed from statistical mechanics such as stochastic point process models, he uses patent data to examine the spread of knowledge within and between firms and industries in order to make sense of the dynamics and evolution of technological innovation. He is particularly excited about the potential for conceptual breakthroughs that are made possible when problems faced in traditionally non-mathematical fields are placed within a complex systems framework.

Catriona Sissons

Immediate Past-Chair

Catriona is a PhD student at the University of Auckland with a background in physics, law and philosophy. Her research interests are related to applying tools from network science of complex systems to study social and economic development. Currently she is investigating collaboration in technological innovation by building patents networks. She loves the trans-disciplinary nature of complex systems research, where she can use tools from the mathematical and physical sciences to the study of human socio-economic systems.

Audrey Lustig


Audrey’s research involves the development of appropriate descriptive measure to quantify the structural spatial and temporal complexity of ecosystem and the identification of the mechanism that generate this complexity through modelling and field studies. She is a PhD student currently working with Assoc. Prof. Susan Worner at the Bio-Protection Research Centre Lincoln University. She uses individual-based models for modelling the spread of invasive species through space and time. She loves how Te Pūnaha Matatini provides a home for researchers who cross disciplinary boundaries in search of holistic answers.

Emma Vitz

Marketing and Communications

Emma is studying Statistics and Psychology at Victoria University. She is very interested in complex social systems and how change occurs within those. Emma wants to apply data analysis techniques to social issues in the future. Her interests have never fit neatly into one box, and she loves the cross-disciplinary nature of complex systems.

Oscar Dowson

Oscar is a PhD candidate in Engineering Science at the University of Auckland. He grew up on a dairy farm and works on applying stochastic optimisation to the New Zealand dairy industry. The mathematical models he creates take into account the randomness in the weather and global economic climate in order to guide farmers in their decision making. He hopes that these models will help increase the environmental and financial sustainability of dairy farming in New Zealand.

Jonathan Goodman

Jonathan is a PhD student in Statistics at the University of Canterbury. His current research is looking at pest control in the Greater Wellington Region taking into account procedural, geographic and socio-economic measures. Jonathan is excited about applying statistics to real world problems and facilitating positive social impacts.

Elisenda Ortiz

Demi Vasques