about the team

Marion Edwin CNZHFE

Marion, principal ergonomist and Optimise director, is a recognised ergonomics professional and skilled workplace consultant, listing on the HASANZ Register in 2018.  Marion has provided ergonomics services to New Zealand businesses for more than 18 years, and has experience in many industries and sectors. She has worked in casinos, sawmills and forests, meat and seafood processing, warehousing, food processing, light and heavy manufacturing, retail, hospitality and service industries, farming sector, infrastructure, health services, science and research, education, banking, on fishing vessels, and in a wide range of corporate and office environments. There’s nothing she likes better than putting her work gear on and meeting with the real workers in any work environment.  Marion is adept at combining the research aspects of her role with her excellent people skills, and she delivers effective written reports and targeted feedback to clients.  She has a number of professional publications, and is well known for her ability to deliver excellent workshops and education sessions for colleagues and clients.  

Over the years Marion has worked with other researchers on projects as diverse as the 2010 ‘Guidelines for Using Computers’ (ACC and DoL); the development of resources and training for the prevention and management of discomfort, pain and injury (ACC); musculoskeletal disorders in sawmills and the fishing industry; home office environments; injury and health and safety issues in farm forestry; the design of workstations for central sterile supply (hospital) operations; and manual handling risks to those in cleaning work.

A Certified New Zealand Ergonomist (CNZHFE) since 2004 and an Associate New Zealand Ergonomist from 2001, Marion’s background was in occupational therapy, assisting injured or disabled workers to remain in or return to the workforce.  Her interest in ergonomics began early in her occupational therapy career and lead to completion of the post-graduate Diploma in Ergonomics through Massey University (1999) and a Master of Ergonomics (2005).  Marion is active within her professional association (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand, HFESNZ) and regularly participates in professional conferences and learning fora.  With the HFESNZ she is a committee member, immediate past Chairperson, and Convenor for the Professional Affairs Board. She also represents HFESNZ for the Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZ).  In 2009 Marion was the recipient of HFESNZ’s 'President's Award', recognising her contributions to the advancement of ergonomics in NZ over many years.

Marion works from rural Tasman, with this central NZ base facilitating easy access to clients all around the country.

Liz Ashby CNZHFE

Liz is an Associate with Optimise Ltd, and is based in Auckland. 


Liz qualified and worked as a physiotherapist in England before moving to New Zealand in 1993. She returned to England in 1996 to complete a Master’s degree in Ergonomics at Loughborough University, achieving distinction. Liz has been a Certified Professional Member of the HFESNZ since 2002, and in 2018 became HASANZ Registered. 

Liz worked for over ten years as an ergonomist at Scion (Crown Research Institute, Forest Research). There she was involved in government and industry funded applied research projects, such as the Accident Reporting Scheme for the New Zealand Forest Industry; exploring the extent and causes of dehydration among loggers; developing physical design guidance specific to sawmill cabin tasks; investigating musculoskeletal disorders in meat and seafood processing industries, and slips, trips and falls in agriculture and construction industries.


As an independent consultant she has worked in a range of environments, including ergonomics input for bank design; assisting with injury investigations and completing industry based manual handling risk assessments. Since 2013, Liz has been working as a Research Officer for AUT, contributing to research and consulting projects associated with the prevention and management of musculoskeletal disorders and manual handling, in a range of industry sectors. She also helps teach ergonomics on AUT and Massey University post graduate papers. Liz is currently on the HFESNZ Professional Affairs Board.

Sue Alexander CNZHFE

Sue is an Associate with Optimise Ltd, and is based in Christchurch. Sue is an experienced workplace consultant with particular skills in assessing and developing interventions for musculoskeletal risks in workplaces.  Sue became HASANZ Registered in 2018.

She has a background in physiotherapy, having the Advanced Diploma of Physiotherapy (Orthopaedic Manual Therapy, 1989).  Her interest in ergonomics was piqued from her work in preventing and managing back pain and other work-related injuries so she completed Massey’s Post-Graduate Diploma in Ergonomics (2002).  Sue has special interest and expertise in manual handling, especially in the healthcare environment and for the handling of patients. 

Sue has worked in a wide range of New Zealand industries and businesses and is adept at working effectively with people from all walks of life, and at all levels within an organisation.


Sue has been an active member of the HFESNZ over many years, regularly attending at and presenting at conferences around Australasia. She is currently on the Professional Affairs Board for HFESNZ, and regularly participates in peer support and professional development fora.  

Karen Goodfellow AssocNZHFE

Karen is an Associate with Optimise Ltd, and is based in the Queenstown area. 


Karen has a background in occupational therapy having completed a Bachelor of Health Science (Occupational Therapy) in 1994. She went on to complete a Master of Science in Health Ergonomics at the University of Surrey's Robens Institute (November 2000) in the United Kingdom. For her masters she studied the musculoskeletal risks to veterinary staff from the manual handling of animals. Karen has recently graduated (November 2018) from the University of Otago with a Post Graduate Certificate in Pain Management.


Karen looks forward to honing her human factors/ergonomics skills in the Optimise team, bringing a wealth of experience in assisting injured workers to return to work and knowledge of pain management to her role. 

She is a long-standing member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand, having attended many conferences and events to build her professional networks and knowledge.

Jane Pierce 

Jane is an Associate with Optimise Ltd, and is based in Napier. 

Jane is a physiotherapist, holding a Diploma in Physiotherapy and having completed many health sector roles - from service delivery through to project planning and implementation.  Since 2000 she has pursued a range of university (and other) education including health systems/quality management papers, completing both a Post Graduate Diploma in Ergonomics (2012) and a Master of Philosophy (2015), and she has recently commenced work on a PhD. Jane's expertise includes safe patient moving and handling, return to work programmes for workers with injuries or ill health, and working with health and safety and clinical teams for patient safety and staff health and safety outcomes. Jane also has experience in product evaluation, and expertise in teaching adults and supervising those in the health professions. 

Jane's considerable musculoskeletal expertise and wide industry experience adds to the Optimise team depth, and she is looking forward to working particularly with health organisations to consider the human factors aspects of adverse events that impact patient outcomes.

She is a long-standing member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand, having contributed to many conferences and events.

Rachel Dykes AssocNZHFE

Rachel is an Associate with Optimise Ltd, and is based in Taupo. 

A registered nurse, Rachel has extensive experience including clinical nurse specialist for infection prevention and respiratory, adverse event investigations, health screenings, ACC social rehabilitation assessments for injured claimants, and she is a Designated Nurse Prescriber. Rachel's ongoing education with Massey University has included a BA (Nursing and Rehabilitation Studies) in 1999, a Post Graduate Diploma in Ergonomics (2004), a Master of Ergonomics (2007), a Master of Management in Occupational Safety and Health (2009), and a post graduate Diploma in Health Science - Advanced Nursing (2015), and a post graduate Certificate in Health Science (pending).

Rachel has recently completed the requirements for becoming an Associate Professional Member of HFESNZ and looks forward to increasing her ergonomics-specific work experience. She is looking forward to working with health organisations to consider the human factors aspects of adverse events that may impact patient outcomes.

She is a long-standing member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand, having held many roles on the executive committee and contributed to many conference and events.

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