NZ Geomechanics News

Chair’s Corner

It is my great pleasure and honour to be writing my first “Chair’s Corner” report. As most of you will know, Charlie’s term as NZGS Chair ended on 30 September 2017, and, I took the helm on 01 October.
Over these past five years, as a result of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence and subsequent Royal Commission, the New Zealand Geotechnical Society has been directly involved in the development and issue of over 16 industry guidelines, reference publications and standards. This caused an unprecedented volume of work for your management committee, with all of the committee members being required to provide hundreds of hours volunteer input during each year of their service.

Gavin Alexander and Charlie Price were the NZGS Chair during the 2012-2014 and 2014 – 2017 terms respectively. I estimate that both Gavin and Charlie have been required to provide well over fifteen-hundred hours of service to the society during their term as Chair – a phenomenal effort by any measure.

During their terms Gavin and Charlie worked closely with the other key stakeholders, such as MBIE and EQC, to ensure all of the publications which carry the NZGS logo were of a high standard, relevant, up-to-date, practical, and most importantly, of tangible value and assistance to the wider industry. It is my humble opinion that these objectives were achieved in every case.

For the reasons described above, I thank Gavin and Charlie for their devoted service to the society over the past five years, and ask that each member who reads this article buys them a drink next time they see them.
At the time of writing this article, the 20th NZGS Symposium had just concluded. I thank all of the symposium organising committee for their hard work and service to the society over the past 18 months. All of you did a fantastic job and should be extremely proud of involvement in this noteworthy event. In particular I thank the Symposium Convenor, Mr Pierre Malan.

Dozens of symposium attendees have contacted me over the past few days, the overwhelming majority of whom have provided me with positive feedback for this event. Many of the members who I have spoken with stated that they believe the 20th NZGS Symposium was the best one they have ever attended. I have also received several suggestions for improvement, which are gratefully received, and will be appropriately documented to assist in the planning of future events.

I whole-heartedly agree with the majority in this case, and believe that the 20th NZGS Symposium was an extremely well run and structured event, and, all attendees would have gained valuable Continuing Professional Development (CPD) experience. The format of this symposium was structured quite differently to our more recent symposiums, with it being run as a “single stream symposium with nominated session chairs”. Our older members will remember that this was the traditional format for the NZGS symposiums up to the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. This “old school” format has proved to be relatively popular, and I anticipate that at least some of our future symposiums will follow a similar structure.

Planning for the 21st NZGS Symposium will start during the December 2017 Management Committee meeting. Please do not hesitate to contact Teresa Roetman ( or my good self ( if you would like to be part of the organising committee for our next symposium, or, if you wish to provide additional feedback on the recently-concluded 20th NZGS Symposium.

During the dinner function for the 20th NZGS symposium, the honour of “Life Member” was officially bestowed to the following three esteemed members for their outstanding service to the society:

  • David Burns
  • C.Y. Chin, and,
  • Mike Stannard.


I warmly congratulate Dave, Chin and Mike and thank each and every one of them for their exceptional contribution and support of the New Zealand Geotechnical Society. We are a stronger, and more effective organisation as a direct result of your significant contributions.

During my term as Chair I intend to ensure that NZGS continues to focus on the following objectives which I believe are of high benefit to our members:

i) The preservation of a strong, collaborative working relationship with our relevant sister technical societies and key industry partners (i.e. SESOC, NZSEE, NZSOLD, CETANZ, MBIE, EQC).

ii) Pro-active planning and co-ordination of industry training programs which are of high value to our members and the wider industry,

iii) The co-ordination and sponsorship of visits and lectures by note-worthy national and international experts throughout New Zealand, and,

iv) Initiate ways to make the NZGS training programs and lecture series more accessible to members who are based outside of the main centres.

Please do not hesitate to contact Teresa Roetman, Eleni Gkeli or myself if you have any suggestions for future training courses or international speakers that you believe would provide valuable insight and/or raise the technical skills of our members in key areas of weakness.
Finally, I wish to bring to your attention the following upcoming conferences:

  • The 12th Australia and New Zealand Young Geotechnical Professional Conference (12th ANZ YGP), Hobart; Tasmania, 07 to 09 November 2018,
  • The 13th Australia New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics, Perth; Western Australia, 01 to 03 April 2019, and,
  • The 20th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Darling Harbour; New South Wales, 12 to 16 September 2021.

Further details for the above conferences is provided within this issue of the Geomechanics News, on the Australian Geomechanics Society website  and on the New Zealand Geotechnical Society website. Please consider attending at least one of these events, and, note that the deadline for the 12th ANZ YGP nominations and abstracts is 15 February 2018.
I look forward to serving you all over the next two years in my capacity as NZGS Chair. Please do not hesitate to contact me via email on if you wish to discuss any issue which you believe is of direct relevance to our membership.

Best Regards

Tony Fairclough
NZGS Chair, 2017-2019

NZ Geomechanics News
Tony Fairclough
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 94 – December 2017
Society News

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