NZ Geomechanics News

Branch Reports



Above: This photo is of the Rankin Lecture in Auckland with Dr Suzanne Lacasse.

The second half of 2016 has been successful for the Auckland branch with many presentations and good attendance.

In July Mike Dobbie from Tensar presented on the performance of reinforced soil structures under extreme water, soil and seismic loads. In August Ralf Konrad and Ian Manley of Gaia Engineers shifted the focus to a New Zealand project talking about Tauranga Eastern Link and the innovative use of light weight fill to overcome settlement issues. September began with the flatplate dilatometer workshop and was closed out by a fascinating presentation by Professor David Petley from the University of East Anglia on the occurrence of earthquake triggered landslides following large seismic events.

A highlight of the year to date was the Rankine Lecture in October. Dr Suzanne Lacasse from the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute presented on hazard, risk and reliability. She highlighted the benefits of probabilistic modelling and the importance of having open discussions with clients about where risks lie and what the consequences are. With over 130 people in attendance this was one of the largest events the Auckland branch has ever held.

The year will be concluded with three presentations in late November and early December from Brian Perry Civil disseminating learnings in dynamic ground improvement, MBIE on their new rock fall guidelines and Fugro on optimising lab testing.

We would like to extend a thank you to all our sponsors Geofabrics, Gaia Engineers, Ground Investigations, Beca, and Brian Perry Civil that have supported these events.

We would also like to thank Luke Storie for over seven years of service to the Auckland branch. Luke is stepping down as a branch coordinator at the end of the year.

If you are interested in supporting the society by joining the Auckland team or through sponsorship please contact the coordination team Eric and James.


The Waikato Branch has some activities in planning, but these haven’t come into fruition yet. These future Waikato Branch presentations include:

  • GDB Replacement (Geostructural aspects of a large bridge replacement) – December/January
  • Update on Waikato Basin Faulting – later this year
  • Waikato Expressway – Huntly Section site visit – date TBC

Call to Arms!!! If any members, practitioners, contractors, suppliers have ideas for possible presentations then please contact the NZGS Waikato Branch Co-ordinators Andrew Holland ( and/or Kori Lentfer (


Above: September saw Prof. David Petley make a stop on his speaking tour of New Zealand to speak on Earthquake Triggered Landslides

Bay of Plenty

Bay of Plenty branch members have enjoyed two fantastic events since our last report. In June Dr Vicki Moon and Pip Mills presented the current state of knowledge on the geomechanics, microstructure and cyclic response of sensitive soils in the Bay of Plenty region. Branch members enjoyed refreshments to lubricate the networking before this talk courtesy of Perry Geotech Ltd. September saw Prof. David Petley make a stop on his speaking tour of New Zealand to speak on Earthquake Triggered Landslides and the interesting and complex interactions present in these events. Pro-Drill provided the spread for this event, and even managed to feed the contingent of Waikato Earth Science students who attended. It was great to see the next generation of geotechnical professionals mingling with the current.

In November we have Andy Dodds booked in to present on the Gerald Desmond bridge – a topic sure to generate interest from a wide cross section of the Bay of Plenty engineering fraternity. And early in the new year we have a local supplier keen to throw us a welcome back barbecue which is sure to be popular on a sunny Tauranga evening.

We have received continued support from the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic with a venue in central Tauranga. We express our thanks to the polytechnics Civil Engineering program for this support.

Attendance at our events this year has been fantastic and we look forward to the continued enthusiasm of our local branch members. If you have a site or project which you would like to show off to your fellow geotechnical professionals, please get in touch.

Hawkes Bay

Nothing to report.



Above:  The 55th Rankin Lecture in Wellington on Hazard, Risk and Reliability in Geotechnical Practice with Dr Suzanne Lacasse.

The recent quiet period for the Wellington Branch is well and truly over! Over the last month we have been host to a couple of great quality presentations including the 55th Rankine Lecture on Hazard, Risk and Reliability in Geotechnical Practice presented by Suzanne Lacasse; and Earthquake Triggered Landslides – Understanding Complex Mechanisms, presented by David Petley.

Both of these presentations had a good turnout and were very well received. The Wellington Branch would like to thank Suzanne and John for their time, and also all those who attended.

Leading into the Christmas period we are looking forward to the upcoming presentation on the MBIE Rockfall Protection guidelines. Complete details of the presentations can be found on the NZGS website.

As always we kindly ask for members to get in touch with any ideas they may have for presentations. Do not be shy, we are a friendly bunch and all presentation ideas are eagerly accepted.


Nothing to report.



Above: Christchurch Presentation  by Michael Dobie presentation on 27 July

In the last quarter we have had the following presentations:

  • Dr Carlo Lai on Non-Conventional Methods for Measuring Low-Strain Dynamic Properties of Geomaterials. Joint presentation with QuakeCoRe. 15 November. About 20 present.
  • Rankine Lecture 13 October. About 60 people present.
  • Professor David Petley on Earthquake Triggered Landslides Understanding Complex Mechanisms. 14 September. About 40 people present.
  • Nigel Wilson from Ground Anchor Systems on Restricted Access Stabilisation. 23 August. About 20 People present.

Turn out is getting better at the presentations overall.


Nothing to report.




NZ Geomechanics News
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 92 - December 2016
Society News

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