New Zealand Geotechnical Society Student Awards

The New Zealand Geotechnical Society Student Awards are presented to recognise and encourage student participation in the fields of geotechnical engineering and engineering geology. In 2012 the awards were altered to a poster competition and named the “New Zealand Geotechnical Society Student Awards Poster Competition” in an effort to increase participation. For these awards, students of a recognised tertiary institution in New Zealand are required to submit an abstract for their poster to register for the award and then prepare an A1 size poster that clearly and concisely presents their work on any aspect or topic in the fields of Geotechnical Engineering or Engineering Geology. The award is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, but the same student is not eligible for more than one award. A maximum of two authors is permitted for any poster.

The posters are judged and ranked by a panel of three judges nominated by the management committee of the NZGS, and displayed at a local branch meeting. Posters are judged on technical content, layout, and overall poster appeal.   The winner of the best poster will receive $1000 prize, with second and third place receiving $500 and $300 respectively. Additional merit prizes of $50 may also be awarded at the judges’ discretion based on the quality of the posters submitted.

Download the registration form here.

Past winners


  1. Katharine Vincent – Identifying internal instability type with soil microstructure
  2. Sam Christian/Logan Goldingham – Physical and Mechanical Properties of Gravel-Glass-Rubber Mixtures
  3. Richard A Melchert – Using CT visualisation to characterise liquefied sedimentary structures: insights into earthquake activity in the Hamilton lowlands


  1. Dion Dow – Development of a Real Scale Rockfall Fragmentation Testing Methodology and Preliminary Results
  2. Winnie Pan – Cobb Dam
  3. Jack Mackay-Neal – Toe Buckling and Geomorphology of the Mt Crichton DSGSD


  1. Olivia Ross / Julia Young – Seismic and 1-D Compressibility Properties of Gravel-Rubber Mixtures
  2. Baqer Asadi – Liquefaction assessment of pumiceous soil: shear wave velocity-based method 
  3. Amelia Lin – Validation of a Geospatial Liquefaction Model


  1. Ribu Dhakal – Liquefaction assessment of reclaimed land at CentrePort 
  2. Angela Robinson / Hasara Ranchagoda – Rubcrete-rubber gravel interface properties for foundation design
  3. Sam Buckner – Geotechnical characterisation of Whalesback Saddle Landslide


  1. Yuri Wong – Seismic Performance of Inclined Piles in Liquefiable Sands via the Numerical Approach
  2. Charles Mangos – Rock Mass Characterisation using RPAS 3D Photogrammetry:  A Comparison with Traditions and Remote Sensing Mapping Methods
  3. Ethan Flintoff – Development of a Waikato Basin Model by the H/V Spectral Ratio Method


  1. Matt Ogden – Insights from Liquefaction Manifestations and Associated Lateral Spreading from the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake.
  2. Claudia Cappellaro – Cyclic Undrained DSS Testing of Christchurch Sands.
  3. Remus Marchis – Evolution of the Ashburton Coastal Gullies.


  1. Gislaine Pardo – Mechanism of improvement of shear strength and liquefaction resistance of sand mixed with biochar.
  2. Lauren Boyd & Liam Ross – Centrifuge modelling of dam core deformation.
  3. Francesca Spinardi – Examining faults within the Hamilton Basin and understanding their seismic history, influence and potential risk.


  1. Kuanjin Lee – Dynamic Characterisation of Auckland Reclaimed Soils.
  2. Gregory Clements and Takeshi Burden – Re-evaluation of Liquefaction Potential Index based on Christchurch Data.
  3. Gislaine Pardo – Geotechnical properties of sand mixed with Biochar.


  1. Chris Baker and Innes Duncan – Can Chemical Alteration Reduce Long Term Productivity  in Deep Geothermal Reservoirs?
  2. Darshan Pradhan and Timur Sibaev – Effect of near-fault ground motion on bridges including  soil-foundation-structure interaction.
  3. Yi Lu and Yuan Hong – Numerical Modelling of Iron Ore Liquefaction.


  1. Luke Storie – Soil foundation structure interaction in shallow foundation spring bed modelling.
  2. Simon Farquhar [Co-author: Michael Jones] – Effect of vertical acceleration on liquefaction.
  3. Robert Boddington [Co-author: Charlie Wilkinson] – Rockfall probability of failure and hazards assessment in the Port Hills area.


  1. Xiaoyang Qi [Co-author: Wai Man Cheung] – A numerical and experimental study of SSI using a lamina box on a shake table.
  2. Julian Lees [Co-author: Rowan Ballagh] – CPT Analysis of Liquefaction and Re-liquefaction.
  3. Michael Cunningham – Geotechnical changes inherent in the breakdown in structure of sensitive rhyolitic soils in the Tauranga/Bay of Plenty region.

Prior to 2012, the NZGS Student Awards were awarded to students who made the adjudged best presentation of a topic in geomechanics. Students were judged on the clarity of their presentation as well as the quality of a one page written synopsis submitted prior to the presentations. The awards in this format were established in 1996 and an award was typically made to the best North Island student presentation and the best South Island student presentation in each year.


  • Saskia de Vilder: “An Engineering Geological Investigation of the Tutira Landslide Dam, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.” (Northern Region)
  • Sam Harris: “A Site Specific Warning System for Rainfall Induced Landslides.” (Northern Region)


  • Xiaoyang Qi: “Numerical and experimental investigation of foundation material and geometrical non-linearity”. (Northern Region)
  • Malcolm Hicks:”Surface Waves and Wind Power: Geotechnical investigations of wind turbine foundations using Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW)”. (Southern Region)
  • Rob Hunter: “Mechanisms causing internal erosion in filters for embankment farms”. (Southern Region)
  • Kim Rait:”Fragmentation in Rock Avalanches”. (Southern Region)


  • Algie T:”Incorporating Soil Yielding into Earthquake Shallow Foundation Design”. (Northern Region)
  • Arefi J: “Ground Response Evaluation for Enhanced Seismic Hazard Assessment”. (Southern Region)
  • Fitzmaurice M: “Collapse Mechanisms of Chimney Caving”. (Southern Region)


  • Arthurs J: “Variations in index and shear strength parameters of sensitive soils in the Tauranga Harbour Area”. (Northern Region)
  • Wyatt J: “The Sensitivity of some Weathered Pyroclastic Material in the Tauranga Region”. (Northern Region)
  • Haskell J: “Assessment of the Performance of Pile Foundations in Liquefying Soils”. (Southern Region)


  • Roelant Dewerse: “Load Deformation Modelling of a Soft- Rock Highwall”. (Northern Region)
  • Callum Streeter: “Liquefaction at the Blundell Barrage – Wairarapa” (Southern Region)


  • Hamish White: “Integration and Interpretation of seismic and geotechnical data for a block cave mine (Northern Region)
  • (Southern Region) – Not awarded


  • Andrew Holland: “Spatial Variation in an Auckland Residual Soil”. (Northern Region)
  • Caroline Francois: “Design and Implementation of a dense strong-motion accelerograph array for the Alpine Fault” (Southern Region)


  • Blackstock, H: “Hazard Mapping in Hamilton”. (Northern Region)
  • Howard, M: ” Holocene Surface- rupturing Earthquakes along the Porters Pass Fault.” (Southern Region)


  • Gunn, W: “Assessment of Mass Movement Mechanisms in the Thames-Waiomu Region, Coromandel Peninsula”. (Northern Region)
  • (Southern Region): Not awarded


  • Bennetts J: “Measurement of the Effectiveness of Stabilisation Techniques for Reducing Sediment Generation from Urban Subdivisions”. (Northern Region)
  • (Southern Region): Not awarded


  • Wise D: “An Investigation of the Wairoa North Fault, South Auckland.” (Northern Region)
  • Harrison J “Filtration of Port Hills Loess for Retaining Wall Situations” (Southern Region)


  • Bassett P: “Influence of Weathering and Hydrothermal Alteration of Engineering Characteristics of Eastern Coromandel Rocks.” (Northern Region)
  • (Southern Region): Not awarded


  • Chambers A: “Seismic Response of Drilled Shaft Foundations” (Southern Region)