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Founder and Director



Nick is Director of Humanitarian Engineering at the University of Canterbury, where he has overseen the development of a distinctive field-based programme. He is a mathematician and engineer by training. An expert in groundwater, his research is concerned with the development of novel methods for aquifer characterisation, ranging from very basic to cutting edge techniques requiring high performance computing. Nick is equally at ease with both abstract mathematics and the practical engineering of well drilling.

Board of Trustees



Jenny is currently studying graduate medicine at the Australian National University. She was formerly a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury where she specialised in geotechnical engineering. While at UC, she established the UCQC Dams Project, a long term New Zealand-wide study of the multi-hazard performance of large dams. She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and teaches into the humanitarian engineering programme at the University of Canterbury. Jenny is chair of the board of trustees.



Siale first came to New Zealand in 1972 to undertake an apprenticeship sponsored by the Tongan and New Zealand governments. He then returned to Tonga and taught at the Tongan High School in Nuku'alofa. Since 1986 he has run the geotechnical engineering laboratory at the University of Canterbury. For the past 27 years, in partnership with his wife Milika, he has presented a Tongan language radio programme providing news, interviews and information for the Tongan community in New Zealand. Siale is also a Justice of the Peace.



Val began her career as a Medical Laboratory Scientist and worked at Christchurch Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital before becoming the joint Owner/Director (with husband Lyell) of McMillan Drilling Ltd. She established McMillan Laboratory Services (an IANZ accredited water quality testing laboratory) in 2000. Val and Lyell have been involved in humanitarian work in the Pacific Islands for many years and drilling water bores for villages in both remote areas and on the main islands. Val recently completed a Master of Water Resource Management.

Associate Researchers



Simon is a mathematician at the University of York, UK. He has broad ranging interests and has worked on problems in quantum physics, economics and pure mathematics. His recent work is on the application of seismic waves to mapping groundwater reserves. He plays a fundamental role in the development of code for use on supercomputers, vital for tackling real world problems.



Timo is a physicist at the University of Eastern Finland. He works in the world-renowned Computational Physics and Inverse Problems Group, which belongs to the Finnish Academy Centre of Excellence in Inverse Modelling and Imaging. He is also an adjunct senior fellow at the University of Canterbury. Timo is an expert in computational physics and has worked extensively on wave-related problems which require significant computing resources.

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