Richard Parker



Dr Richard Parker is a human factors researcher who specialises in developing work practices to enhance productivity and safety in dangerous occupations (e.g. forest harvesting and rural fire fighting). His research includes teleoperation and robotics, aimed at removing workers from high risk situations.


  • PhD (Ergonomics & Management),    Massey University, New Zealand - 2010
  • M. Erg (1st Class Hons), Massey University, New Zealand - 2003
  • P.G. Dip. (Ergonomics), Massey University, New Zealand - 1996
  • P.G. Dip. (Ag. Sci.), Lincoln College, New Zealand - 1983
  • B.Sc. (Zoology), Canterbury University, New Zealand - 1980

Research capabilities

  • Human Factors of dangerous and demanding tasks
  • Extensive knowledge of forest harvesting and rural fire fighting
  • Forest robotics

Career highlights

  • Granted US Patent No. 6,756,789 Parker, R. & Todoroki, C. 2004. Method for imaging logs or stems and apparatus. New Zealand Forest Research Institute.
  • Developed integrated system of GPS, video and physiological monitors for analysis of fire fighter and forest worker analysis (PhD thesis)
  • Firefighter, Canterbury High Country Fire Team 2012 to present
  • IPENZ Award for Tree-to-tree robot 2014
  • Travel award to attend FPInnovations Forest Robotics Workshop, Montreal, Canada 2015
  • Science for Technological Innovation Challenge “Pitching” Award, $10,000, 2018

Selected papers

Selected papers & book chapters

Parker, R J, Clinton, P W, Bayne, K M, Hooper, B. 2018. Forestry automation and robotics. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 63(1), 38-40.

Hooper, B, Parker, R J, Todoroki, C L. 2017. Exploring chainsaw operator occupational exposure to carbon monoxide in forestry. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 14(1), D1-D12. doi:10.1080/15459624.2016.1229483

Parker, R J, Vitalis, A, Walker, R, Riley, D B, Pearce, H G. 2017. Measuring wildland fire fighter performance with wearable technology. Applied Ergonomics 59(Part A), 34-44. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2016.08.018.

Parker, R J, Bayne, K M, Clinton, P W. 2016. Robotics in forestry. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 60(4), 8-14

Meaclem, C.V., Chen, X., Gutschmidt, S., Hann, C. and Parker, R. 2015. K-means Partitioned Space Path Planning (KPSPP) for Autonomous Robotic Harvesting. International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems 12(165): 10pp

Bayne, K. M., Parker, R. J. 2012. The introduction of robotics for New Zealand forestry operations: Forest sector employee perceptions and implications, Technology in Society 34(2) 138-148.

Milne, B, Hann, C, Chen, X, Parker, R J, Milliken, P C. 2013. Chapter 12 - Design of Teleoperation for Forest Machines: An Overview. In Maki K. Habib & J. Paulo Davim (Eds), Engineering Creative Design in Robotics and Mechatronics (186-207).

Parker, R.J. 2010. Technological advances in the analysis of work in dangerous environments: Tree felling and rural fire fighting. PhD Thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North.

Parker, R. 2003. An ergonomic analysis of a closed circuit television rear vision system for forestry machine operators.  M.Erg Thesis.  Massey University. pp 102.

Bentley, R.; Parker, R.; Ashby, L. 2002: Occupational falls outdoors - Falls in forestry operations.  Chapter 10 in: Haslam, R.; Stubbs, D. (Ed.) “Understanding and Preventing Fall Accidents - An Ergonomics Approach.” Taylor & Francis.

Parker, R.; Bentley, T.; Ashby, L. 2002: Forestry applications of human factors research.  Chapter 14 in: O’Brien, T.G.; Charlton, S.G. (Ed.) “Handbook of Human Factors Testing and Evaluation.” Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.