NZGS Symposium 2021 – Good Grounds For The Future

The world is experiencing profound changes.

These mark the dawning of a new era of pressing challenges that Geotechnical Engineering must deal with, internationally and in New Zealand.

Get on board for Dunedin – now in March 2021!
We will explore the opportunities and challenges of our future, by learning from the achievements and failures of our past.

This symposium aims to attract the most recent developments in geotechnical engineering, and associated disciplines in New Zealand and internationally.
We look for stimulating technical discussions and out-of-the-box ideas in the fields of engineering geology geotechnical engineering, seismology, geophysics, new technologies.

The Symposium is preceded by a one-and-a-half-day workshop and field study which starts in Queenstown and ends in Dunedin at the welcome reception. The two-day symposium will include technical talks, discussions, and a trade exhibition. We will use a range of formats: keynote speakers, plenary special technical sessions and discussions, speaker presentations, and poster exhibitions. Collaboration and communication with structural and infrastructural engineering will be the key component of our technical sessions.

ON LINE – GNS Urban mapping in South Auckland: Geology and Geomorphology

Presented by Kyle Bland and Dougal Townsend

Due to Covid restrictions this event will now be on line

This talk outlines the GNS Urban Mapping project that is near completion for the South Auckland area. Digital
geological and geomorphological maps have been produced, which emphasise the geological and landscape
evolution of this area. Kyle and Dougal are geologists working at GNS Science, based in Lower Hutt. They have
both worked on large geological mapping projects such as QMAP. Kyle’s research interests lie in
paleogeographic reconstructions of New Zealand’s past landscapes and environments, and educational
outreach targeting the general public — particularly school children and their teachers, and iwi. Dougal has
worked with the SLIDE project in Wellington, leading a team mapping the geomorphology of the city. Recently
he also completed a new geological map of the Tongariro National Park and is currently working on a new map
of the Auckland Volcanic Field.

Kindly sponsored by Geotechnics

Good Quality Geotechnical Investigations to Achieve Compliance & Discuss Ground Investigation Specification for Achieving Good Practice Outcomes.

Presented by Alison Thompson, Ross Roberts and John Scott


Alison Thompson – WDC structural Engineer Geotechnical background for Whangarei District Council and what Council are looking for in a Geotechnical report.

Ross Roberts – Chair of NZGS, Geotechnical and Geological Practice Lead Auckland Council. As Auckland Council’s in-house geotechnical specialist, I provide technical leadership across geotechnical issues and am the go-to person for geotechnical advice, practices and risk mitigation. I lead a small team of great geotechnical engineers who help keep Council’s projects on track.
My role includes the development of technical standards and guidance for geotechnical practice across the Auckland region and representing Auckland in the development of national standards.
I review geotechnical work undertaken by external providers on behalf of council, and am actively involved in the procurement of geotechnical services on Council projects to give the best outcome for the council and the people of Auckland

John Scott – John is going to talk briefly about some of the issues councils and other agencies are encountering in the geotechnical engineering space.

John has a geotechnical engineering background and has worked  in NZ, Australia, UK and Hong Kong over a 30+ year period.  In more recent times he has worked in NZ in the project management fields managing community facility and infrastructure projects at local government level and with a major consultant.  Since the Canterbury Earthquake sequence John has worked at central government level coordinating the development of technical guidance, influencing the direction of natural hazard research and providing input into post earthquake response and recovery activities.  John has also been heavily involved with the set up and running of the NZ Geotechnical Database.

Online Presentation: Reflecting on the Ruahihi & Wheao canal failures (1981 and 1982)

Presented by Dick Beetham,

Principal Geotechnical Engineer & Engineering Geologist, Coffey NZ

Register HERE

Ruahihi and Wheao canal collapses, 1981 and 1982. These two case histories where something goes drastically wrong are pictorially described and discussed. The photo images graphically demonstrate what has happened; the lessons learnt, and steps taken for improvement are discussed. They are mostly applicable today. As geotechnical practitioners we have limited work experience and we must learn from case histories, favourable and unfavourable!


Interestingly Dick is double qualified, with both a BE Civil from Canterbury University and a BSc in geology and geophysics from Auckland University.  He is also one of very few people jointly awarded as both CPEng and PEngGeol.

Live Webinar – Limitations of Simplified Methods for Estimating Seismic Settlements.

The presentation briefly describes Dr Pyke’s Ph.D. research on the settlement of sands, the evolution of simplified methods for estimating settlements, their limitations, a much more accurate method based on his Ph.D. research, and an improved approach to conducting screening evaluations.

DR ROBERT PYKE was born and raised in Australia and received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Sydney. He then worked for the Commonwealth Department of Works in Canberra on various water resource projects before attending graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley he conducted original research for his Ph.D. under the guidance of the late Professor Harry Seed and formed a close relationship with Professor Seed with whom he subsequently worked on a number of consulting assignments. Since 1977 Dr Pyke has worked principally as an individual consultant on special problems in geotechnical, earthquake and water resource engineering.

Register HERE


Auckland_Northland YGP Mini Symposium

NZGS Auckland & Northland YGP Symposium – 26th February 2021

The 3rd NZGS Auckland & Northland YGP Symposium is happening on Friday 26th February 2021 in Auckland.


What is it?

A one-day event where the young and old(er) people of the local geotechnical industry gather to share and learn from each other. Every participant gives a short 10min presentation in a constructive and supportive environment.  You will not only learn but leave more enthused and motivated for your career. It is a shortened, local, less formal version of the highly successful ANZ YGP conference.


Who is it for?

All geo-professionals who are under 35 years old and/or with less than 10yrs of experience, and based in Auckland & Northland.


What is required of me?

To register, send a 100 to 200 word summary of a geotechnical topic on which you can commit to making a 10 minute presentation. The topic should be something that your peers can learn from. No written paper is required. There will be a short question time after each presentation. There will be two friendly mentors present on the day to provide advice and feedback.


How to apply?

To apply, send a short description of your presentation to by Wednesday 27th January 2021. Cost of the event is $120 per person, including dinner following the symposium. The event is to be held at Beca, 21 Pitt Street, Auckland.


For more details please see the flyer.


This talk will outline an earthquake-induced landslide (EIL) forecast tool that will produce outputs for the GeoNet landslide duty officers after a significant earthquake, in near-real time, approximately 5 to 7 minutes after being triggered. The function of this tool is to provide rapid advisory information about the severity and likely location and impacts of landslides following a major earthquake, where ground shaking data recorded by the GeoNet strong motion instrument network is used as the input for the tool. The EIL forecast tool is the first of several to be developed as part of a larger landslide forecast project being carried out by the GNS Science landslide and social science teams, and others. The aims of the overall project are to allow the GeoNet landslide duty officers (the end users) to: 1) Rapidly identify whether an earthquake or a rain event can generate landslides and the severity of landsliding; 2) Rapidly generate advisory information such as a spatial representation (map and table) of where landslides could occur in a significant earthquake or rainfall event and where the debris might travel, which can be used to help target response activities. The efficacy of the tool is demonstrated using the MW 7.8 14 November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake, and the landslides it generated, as an example of how the tool would work and the outputs it generates.

Details to register and connect below.  Please log in  15 minutes prior to the presentation to ensure you are connected!

Regional-scale landslide forecast tools for NZ | Engineering New Zealand (