NZ Geomechanics News

Chairs Corner

This special edition of the New Zealand Geomechanics News has a focus on some of the incredible work which has been completed to date by the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Alliance.
I hope that all readers will find some time over their Christmas break to read this edition thoroughly as it contains many interesting articles. It is also a worthy record of some of the challenging NCTIR projects to which many of our members have made a significant contribution over the past two years, and which has been recognised on the global stage, winning the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) People’s Choice Award for 2018.

NZGS Website

I strongly encourage all members to visit the NZGS website if you have not done so recently. Our Website contains much useful information and reference material, in particular links to videos of select NZGS branch presentations and web-based training that has been developed collaboratively with MBIE and Engineering New Zealand. Many members will find these resources to be an invaluable tool which will help them to enhance their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs. The NZGS website also lists all upcoming branch presentations, training courses and symposia which have reached a key milestone with respect to their organisation and certainty, and, noteworthy international conferences and symposia.

Due to the expected demands of his upcoming role as NZGS Chair, Ross has agreed to step down from the NZGS Webmaster role during the coming year. The Management Committee is currently working with Ross to identify and confirm a suitable replacement for this key role. This has proved to be a more difficult than anticipated task. As such I ask any member who feels they may have the appropriate skills and commitment to fulfil this key role contact Ross Roberts ( Teresa Roetman (, or myself at their earliest convenience.

Recent Society Events

Between July and December 2018 the NZGS Management Committee, in particular Eleni Gkeli, Teresa Roetman and the branch co-ordinators, have organised numerous highly-successful training courses, society events and branch presentations

I firmly believe that one of the key activities of the NZGS Management Committee is to co-ordinate and deliver high quality branch presentations, training courses, conferences and symposium. Such events should be of high value to our members, in particular with respect to their CPD. Your management committee has been working hard in recent years to achieve this goal, and, welcomes your continued feedback on past events, and, suggestions for future events. With respect to this issue all members should note, in particular those of you who are located in regional centres, that work is ongoing to video branch presentations and enable you to view these via the NZGS website. Unfortunately, due to various permission, copyright and logistical reasons, it will not be possible to record all presentations, and of those that are, only a few (if any) will be a “live feed”. Please be assured that your Management Committee will work to obtain the best-possible recording arrangement for our branch presentations on a case-by-case basis.

Upcoming Society Events

Since the inaugural ANZ YGP Conference, which was held in Sydney during 1994, the demand and level of competition to attend this event has grown significantly. In order to maximise the value and quality of experience for the ANZ YGP Conference attendees, the number of delegates is limited to a maximum of 50 (25 from Australia and 25 from New Zealand). This cap on the number of attendees, in combination with significant attendance and travel costs for New Zealand based YGP if the event is held in Australia, has resulted in many worthy YGP delegates being excluded.

In response to this, the NZGS Management Committee has worked with YGP representatives to develop a series of four one-day New Zealand YGP conference events. The aim of these is to complement the ANZ YGP Conference, and, provide an alternative YGP event which affords similar fundamental presentation, networking and professional development experiences.

The inaugural Auckland event was held during October 2018. Planning for events in the Waikato, Central and Southern regions had just commenced at the time of writing this report, and, it is currently expected that they will be held in Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch respectively during late Q1 2019 or Q2 2019. The NZGS website will post further updates and detail as it become available. It should also be noted that YGP are welcome to attend any of the regional events, no matter what part of New Zealand they hail from.

Planning for several NZGS events, which are to be held during Q1 and Q2 of 2019, is well underway. All members are encouraged to review the “Calendar” page on the NZGS website with regular frequency to stay informed of any upcoming presentations which are relevant to them.

Events which are currently being organised by your management committee include:

Branch Presentations: “2018 NZGS Geomechanics Lecture: Misko Cubrinovski (University of Canterbury)”. This lecture will be presented in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch during Q2 or Q3 of 2019. The feasibility of presenting this lecture in two additional South-Island towns is also being assessed.
Symposium: “21st New Zealand Geotechnical Society Symposium”. To be held in Dunedin during October 2020.

Further detail and updates on upcoming events will be provided, as appropriate, via the NZGS fortnightly email to members and the website (

Finally, with respect to potential CPD activities, I wish to remind all members of the upcoming ANZ Conference in Perth (01 to 03 April 2019) and the 20th International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering in Sydney (12 to 16 September 2021). Further detail of these events is provided within this issue of the NZ Geomechanics News, on the NZGS website (, and on the Australian Geomechanics Society website (

Guidelines and Standards Publications

The Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering Guidelines Series
NZGS has been a key participant in all seven of the Geotechnical Engineering Guideline modules published to date (Modules 1 to 6 and 5A).

A process to finalise the modules which are now in public circulation is scheduled to be completed during the 2018/2019 FY. I strongly encourage all NZGS members to submit any feedback or suggestions they have for improvement to NZGS and MBIE.

All ongoing feedback on the Geotechnical Engineering Guideline modules should be addressed to the email address Further detail on the module feedback and finalisation process is provided on the NZGS website.

The NZGS Management Committee has appointed Kevin Anderson and Ross Roberts/Sally Hargraves to the role of Project Manager and Editor for two new Geotechnical Engineering Guideline modules, Ground Anchors and Slope Stability, respectively. An expression of interest to participate in the development of these new guideline modules is expected to be issued to our membership via email, and posted onto the NZGS website, during Q4 of 2018 or Q1 of 2019. I encourage all members with a high level of expertise and experience in these areas to submit an expression of interest and collaborate in the development and issue of these important documents.

Seismic Assessment Guidelines (commonly referred to as “The Red Book”)
The Seismic Assessment of Existing Buildings guideline has been published. However, a need to amend some of the structural engineering sections, in particular Section C5, has been identified. Gavin Alexander will continue to act as the NZGS liaison for the Seismic Assessment Guidelines project through the 2018/2019 financial year, and, will provide the NZGS Management Committee and membership with updates as appropriate.

NZ 1170.5 Standard Review
During the 2017/2018 financial year Rick Wentz (Wentz Pacific Ltd) continued to represent the NZGS, and Stuart Palmer (Tonkin & Taylor Ltd) acted as an observer, on the committee which is evaluating a proposed update or Amendment to 1170.5.

New Life Member
With great pleasure I confirm that Ann Williams (BECA, Auckland) has been promoted to the position of Life Member within the New Zealand Geotechnical Society. Please join me in congratulating Ann for receiving this well-deserved honour.

Report Closure
Please do not hesitate to contact me via email on or any other member of the NZGS Management Committee if you wish to discuss any issue which you believe is of direct relevance to our membership,

Tony Fairclough
NZGS Chair, 2017 – 2019

NZ Geomechanics News
Tony Fairclough
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 96 - December 2018

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