The importance of complexity modelling during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Joint ORSNZ-TPM seminar at University of Canterbury

Time: Monday 14 June 12.30-1.30pm
Place: Jack Erskine 315, University of Canterbury

The modelling of complex systems has been critical in informing the Aotearoa New Zealand response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to be important in our recovery. The Operations Research Society of New Zealand and Te Pūnaha Matatini invite you to join Dr Mike O’Sullivan (President, ORSNZ, and Incoming Deputy Director, TPM) for a seminar and discussion panel on complexity modelling. Mike will present some case studies of complex systems models that have been used to inform decisions during the pandemic, and concepts for models that can be used to help decision makers during the pandemic recovery and into the future. His 30-minute seminar will be followed by a discussion panel amongst complexity modellers from the Ōtautahi Christchurch area.

The room has a capacity of 33, so please RSVP to michael.osullivan AT if you have an opportunity to do so.

ORAHS (Operational Research Applied to Health Services) 2021

Kia ora koutou,

Please find below an email from the ORAHS organisers. Note that their preferred date for completing the survey has passed, so I think if anyone interested fills it in ASAP is fine.

Noho ora mai, Mike (President, ORSNZ)

“ORAHS 2021 is on.  It will run in the week 5th -9th July 2021 entirely online and organized by Marion Penn from the University of Southampton and Sandy Rutherford from Simon Fraser University.  Please put the dates in your diary.

We were hoping that some of our family would be able to meet in person for ORAHS this year, and the decision about how to organise the conference has been delayed in the hope that it would become clear how this would work.  It is still looking uncertain/unlikely that travel will be possible so the decision has been made to have an entirely online conference.  We know that the later notice will mean some now have other plans, but hope to see as many of you as possible.

Over the last year the technology has been improving and new software has become available so we will be including time for discussion and social spaces to recreate the family feeling of the conference online as much as possible.

In order promote interactive discussion in the online format, we plan to replace some of the parallel sessions with discussion-based sessions. These would begin with 2-minute elevator talks by all of the speakers in the sessions. Each speaker would then have 30 minutes in a breakout room to expand on their talk or engage in interactive discussion. Participants would be able to choose which breakout room to attend and have the ability to switch between breakout rooms. For PhD students: the poster session – including the Steve Gallivan Award for PhD students – would be replaced by a special session in this format.

There will also be the usual small number of plenary talks by leaders in the field and a limited number of parallel sessions for 15 minute talks.

We are aiming to keep costs down and pass on the savings created by moving online.  We expect to have a cost of 20 euros for PhD students, and keep the cost as low as possible for everyone else.

It would greatly help us with budgeting (and other planning) if you could complete this short survey to let us know if you expect to be able to attend and what type of session you would like to contribute to:

Please complete the survey asap, if you can before the 9th of April.

Please mail Melanie Reuter-Oppermann oppermann AT with any questions.”

ORSNZ Strategic Planning

ORSNZ is an organisation with about over 100 academic/ student/practitioner members, and is dedicated to the promotion  and support of a rather specialised mathematically oriented profession, which has seen declining activity levels and public profile in recent years, particularly outside Auckland.  ORSNZ would like to do some strategic planning on the purpose and direction of ORSNZ. The scope of work is:

      1. Facilitate a strategic conversation with ORSNZ Council and, as appropriate, other ORSNZ members on the purpose and direction of ORSNZ;
      2. Link the strategic conversation to specific actions such as brand refresh, website development, etc.

Interested parties should contact Mike O’Sullivan (President, ORSNZ, at president AT with any questions and to provide a plan and estimated cost for the work.

ORSNZ website refresh

ORSNZ is looking to review and refresh our WordPress web environment. The scope of work is as follows:

1) Engage with a representative group of our stakeholders to:
a. review previous planning docs;
b. review the current site; and
c. investigate other relevant sites;
and, consequently, produce a refresh plan including, but not limited to, suggested functionality, third-party plugins, and information architecture;

2) Work with the ORSNZ webmaster and other members to create a template, i.e., functionality but not content, for the new site;

3) Provide easy-to-understand, tested documentation for ORSNZ members to add content and manage the site.

Interested parties should contact Mike O’Sullivan (President, ORSNZ, at president AT with any questions and to provide a plan and estimated cost for the work.

After 5’s with Vaughan Grant – Designing supply chain networks

The Centre for Supply Chain Management (CSCM, within the Business School at the University of Auckland) invites you to hear from Vaughan Grant, Chief Operating Officer – T&G Fresh, at our next After 5’s event on Monday 8 March.

Vaughan will present a methodology for designing supply chain networks based on his experience with a variety of companies in Australasia. His approach addresses the needs many organisations have, to simultaneously increase availability and decrease working capital, and to optimise capacity and improve network resilience, and supply chain visibility, transparency, and traceability.


Prior to his appointment as COO of T&G Fresh, Vaughan held senior executive roles (CEO and COO) in firms including Halls Group, Foodstuffs North Island, Fletcher Building, and Woolworths. He is a Chartered Accountant, and has a BMS degree from the University of Waikato.

Event details
Date: Monday 8 March 2021
Time: 5.15pm – 7.15pm

5.15pm registration
5:30pm presentation
6:30pm networking with light refreshments

Location: The University of Auckland Business School
OGGB 4, Level 0, Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland
Cost: $20 for non-University staff and students

Click here to register

If you are not already a regular visitor to the Centre for Supply Chain Management and would like to check out our website and LinkedIn page, please click here: CSCM website and LinkedIn page.

If you would like to be added to our Invitation list, please email Alisha at: a.castelino AT

IFORS Global Webinar 5 Feb 2021

Kia ora koutou,

Happy New Year! I hope you and your whanau are staying well and I wish you all a good 2021.

IFORS have asked me to invite you to the fourth IFORS Global Webinar. Below is the relevant part of the email.

“It is to invite you to the 4th IFORS webinar organizing by North America OR Society (NORAM includes USA and Canada) with following

information on the IFORS website

or register here for free:

Noho ora mai, Mike

ORSNZ AGM/Council Meeting 2020 – Time Confirmed for Zoom

Kia ora koutou,

The ORSNZ AGM for 2020 will be held online next week (week starting 30 November). The meeting will run from 2-4pm on Thursday 3 December on Zoom – Apologies if you can’t make that time, but it was the most popular option on the Doodle poll.

The current agenda for the meeting is:

  1. Apologies (to [email protected]);
  2. Minutes of the previous AGM;
  3. Matters arising from the minutes;
  4. President’s report;
  5. Honorary Treasurer’s report and financial statements;
  6. Future Conferences;
  7. Election of officers and auditor;
  8. Other business.

Please send through additional agenda items to [email protected] by 5pm Tuesday 1 December.

If you cannot attend the meeting, you can assign a proxy to vote on your behalf using the 2nd page of this form. (So long as the form is emailed to [email protected] by the morning of Wednesday December 2, that is fine.)

The ORSNZ Council Meeting will be held immediately after the AGM or, if needed, another time will be scheduled.

Ngā mihi, Mike O’Sullivan (ORSNZ President)

IFORS Global Webinar 30 Nov 2020

Kia ora koutou,

I hope you and your whanau are staying well.

The IFORS president, Grazia Speranza, has asked me to let you know about the third IFORS Global Webinar. Below is the relevant part of her email.

“This webinar is being hosted by the EURO regional grouping on November 30 at 3:00 pm Rome time (9:00 am Washington DC time) and will focused on “Topics That Matter”.

Please visit the IFORS website to register for the webinar.

Noho ora mai, Mike