24 November 2022

Te Pūnaha Matatini – the meeting place of many faces – is the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for complex systems. We’re looking for new faces to join our community, so we thought you might like to meet some of us.

Dr Rachelle Binny works as a mathematical modeller in wildlife ecology and management at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, and is a principal investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Rachelle joined Te Pūnaha Matatini as a postgraduate student when it was first established as a Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) in 2014 and was the inaugural chair of TPM Whānau – Te Pūnaha Matatini’s network for early career researchers.

“In the first few years we worked had to establish TPM Whānau as an inclusive and supportive community of early career researchers, and to support early career researchers to take on leadership roles.” says Rachelle. “A few years later I became an investigator. This felt like a smooth transition because of the connections I had made with other investigators during my time in TPM Whānau.”

“Being a mathematical biologist, my research spans disciplines and is very data-driven, so I feel right at home in Te Pūnaha Matatini’s transdisciplinary team. Te Pūnaha Matatini has allowed me to connect with and learn from other scientists with diverse expertise, and to contribute to research that has had real impact for Aotearoa New Zealand.”

“Te Pūnaha Matatini’s culture is something special. Our values of manaakitanga, tika, tapu and pono are woven through all of our activities and the ways we engage with one another, and with the wider science community and public. Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Director Cilla Wehi leads strongly by example in guiding a kind, inclusive and diverse research culture.”

Rachelle says that it has been rewarding to watch emerging career researchers carry the baton of TPM Whānau forward and continue to grow its community. She has particularly enjoyed working alongside these early career researchers, and co-supervising Te Pūnaha Matatini PhD projects.