NZ Geomechanics News


The first half of 2018 has been a busy one in our industry. There are quite a few updates from MBIE and NZGD in the briefs section that are worth paying attention to. The technical part of this issue is a combination of conference papers from the NZGS Symposium and from international conferences, as well as individual technical reports. Lots of great projects out there that we can learn from.

We present the NZGS student poster award winners this issue showing the quality of the work students in our industry are doing. We also have an ad for upcoming NZGS short course on soft soil, offered in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Be sure to check it out. Don’t forget to check out all of the education and training opportunities
on the NZGS calendar at

This is my sixth and last issue and I am transitioning out of this role. It has been a great three years getting to know how the society works and working alongside some amazing professionals to provide support for and to champion our industry.

I am passing on the lead co-editor position to Don Macfarlane and welcoming Gabriele Chiaro to the team. Gabriele joined the University of Canterbury as a Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering in 2015. He is originally from Italy and comes to us via his PhD and several research fellowships in Japan and Australia. I am sure that Don and Gabriele will do a fine job!

Finally I would like to thank all of the contributors to Geomechanics News, and to probably the most important member of our team: our layout and design expert, Karryn Muschamp, who does all of the hard work putting each issue together.


In my first contribution to the editor’s page, I firstly want to thank Marlene for her tremendous contribution to Geomechanics News since taking on the role of Editor, and for her help in making this transition. She has left us with a high standard to maintain! And we welcome the new Chair (Tony) as we bid farewell to Charlie Price, a friend and colleague since the days of Project Aqua.

In my career I have had the pleasure of working with many outstanding individuals so it is with great sadness that I have found myself including obituaries for two of them in this issue.

Don Deere was my first experience of being subjected to external, independent review (at Clyde) – we didn’t want or need this! We thought. We were wrong – the experience that he brought added value beyond anything we could ever have anticipated. And then he went on the form the Review Panels for the Clyde Landslides and Manapouri Second Tunnel projects (we had seen the value and wanted those ones!). One of my abiding memories of Don as a reviewer is that he never criticised us – to give us a message he would push his chair back and tell a story to explain why something had (or hadn’t) worked on some other project somewhere in the world. Then it was up to us…

David Burns left a huge professional legacy both in his excellent project work, and in his contributions as a teacher and mentor. He became a colleague at AECOM when the merger with URS occurred. I had worked with David on a couple of projects (I was the reviewer!) before that time. His commitment to the best possible outcome, no matter what it took, was hard to rein in! He was indeed a perfectionist, who liked to ‘discuss’ every point of difference in great detail.

My contribution to this issue is a photo of the Clyde Power Project site geologists in the summer of 1992/93 (I think). See how many of those youthful faces you recognise!



NZ Geomechanics News
Don Macfarlane, Marlène Villeneuve
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 95 - June 2018

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