Issue 104 - December 2022

NZGS Society Branch Reports

ABOVE Auckland Branch: Evening talk “City Rail Link’s 32m deep Karanga a Hape Station (Karangahape) Design and Construction”


The Auckland Branch have been supporting and organising a number of events recently, with the highlight being the increase of in-person attendance and the opportunity to network relatively freely. We thank our generous sponsors for jumping back on board with these events after the covid-driven hiatus, with each sponsor kindly taking care of food and drinks prior to the evening talks. 

In the past few months, the Auckland Branch have hosted talks covering high-profile projects being undertaken beneath the city (i.e., CRL), an interesting technical discussion on soft clays by industry stalwart Laurie Wesley, a panel discussion on the role of a peer reviewer in geotechnical design, and also support/assistance for NZGS-organised evening talks hosted in Auckland. One such event was the recent NZ Geomechanics Lecture by Ann Williams as part of the nation-wide roadshow, which was held at and kindly sponsored by Beca. In all cases, we have been impressed to see high turnout to these events, and we encourage members to keep attending and where relevant, to approach the Auckland Branch with potential evening talks. 

At the time of writing this report, the team are busy organising the annual Auckland Branch Christmas Mini-Symposium, which will be held in early December. This is the highlight event for the Auckland calendar and promotes the coming together of professionals from the region to present and discuss Auckland/Northland specific projects/problems in a friendly and relaxed setting. This event was taken to an online platform last year and although still a great event, the team are looking forward to hosting attendees in-person again.


The Bay of Plenty Branch enjoyed having Ann Williams present the 2022 NZGS Geomechanics Lecture in October. It was fantastic to have a turnout of over 40 people, with some travelling from as far as Gisborne to join with us in person. With the earthworks construction season in full swing here, we are looking forward to organising some site visits to active construction sites over the summer months. The next networking event is a combined ENZ/ICE social Reconnecting Tauranga tech-professionals on 23 November in Tauranga. Keep an eye out for advertising and to RSVP.


Although the Gisborne Branch hasn’t held any local events in the last 6 months, we have been able to join other branch events remotely, so a big thank you to those who are arranging the live streams.  It makes a huge difference in remote areas like Taira¯whiti. A few of our members made it down to Napier or across to Tauranga for Ann William’s Geomechanics Award Lecture. It was great for us to rub shoulders with our regional neighbours and attend Ann’s thought-provoking presentation. We are keen to be more active, and combine events with the East Coast Branch of EngNZ where possible. I’m currently looking for leads/ contacts regarding the work ongoing at Gisborne Port, so if you’ve been involved in the design and would like to present or can help arrange a site visit or are working on other interesting Gisborne projects please get in touch!

Hawkes Bay

The Hawkes Bay Branch recently got together in person for the first time in almost two years. The NZGS Geomechanics lecture roadshow was a great catalyst to get to get people out of their comfortable bubbles. The audience was treated to Anne William’s wide ranging and informative presentation, with a trip down memory lane for a surprising number of people now located in Hawkes Bay. 

As the lecture was presented shortly before the launch of the National Seismic Hazard Model, good discussion was had about the (at that time undetermined) impact in the Hawkes Bay region and later, how practitioners would present a common approach to the local market. The changes to the MBIE Module 1 in 2021 meant that most practitioners were not too surprised about the expected local changes.

The general feedback from the event was that now people have broken their isolation habits, we need to do it more often.

ABOVE Wellington Branch


We’ve had another busy few months in the Wellington Branch. While many previous presentations had to be online due to Covid-19 restrictions, we were finally able to host our first in-person events again which provided some great opportunities for the community to reconnect. 

Our first in-person event to reconnect the geotechnical community of the lower North Island was held in early September at the Engineering New Zealand office. It included a great presentation from Stu Mason (Geobrugg) on the importance of field testing (including some amazing videos), and plenty of time for networking and catching up with people that we may not have seen in a while. 

Later in September, Ann Williams presented NZGS’s premier award, the New Zealand Geomechanics Lecture, at the Beca office in Wellington. Ann’s lecture on The Question of Risk provided a great overview of the geotechnical risks we face, including how we recognise and respond to risk.

Both events in September had great attendance, with about 30-40 people attending each event. We want to thank both Ann and Stu for presenting, and Geobrugg, Beca and Engineering New Zealand for sponsoring/hosting the events.

In other committee news, Safia has unfortunately recently left the NZGS Wellington Branch committee, as she has taken up a new role (still with Holmes Consulting) in Otautahi Christchurch. Safia has made great contributions to the NZGS Wellington Branch over the past few years, and so we wanted to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you and acknowledge all her efforts.

ABOVE Nelson Branch:The civil defence team debrief event after the storms 


Nelson and the Top of the South have had a busy time recently with the August 2022 Storm Event hitting the region.  It was a great reminder as to how many geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists we have in our region, the collaboration of all the geos and consultants from the region was awesome to see with everyone helping out our local councils and the civil defence response as part of the team.  There was a lot of mud wading, drowned mobile phones, massive slips, sleepless nights in the control room and a nice cold beer to facilitate a debrief of the event/response at McCashins Brewery.  

In late September we enjoyed a visit from our NZGS 2022 Geomechanics award winner Ann Williams for her talk on The Question or Risk.  As we come to the end of 2022 the local geos will be joining EngNZ and SESOCC in a joint end of year social bowls tournament to be held on the 23rd November 2022.  A quick reminder to all the geos in the region to get in touch if you have a cool project etc you would be willing to present as a field trip, lunch time talk or evening presentation, we would love to hear all about it. 


It has been a quiet year for the Christchurch branch, but branch activities are slowly picking back up. We were lucky enough to have the following events run:

  • NZ Geomechanics Lecture – Ann Williams & the AGM
  • Liquefaction Assessment Methodologies for Reclaimed Gravelly Fill – Ribu Dhakal
  • Upcoming talk – Dynamic and Cyclic Behaviour of Non-plastic and Plastic Silt Soils – Armin W. Stuedlein

Duncan Henderson and Sam Burgess have stepped down as branch reps and are passing the baton on to some fresh faces. A big welcome to Tim Farrant (MBIE) and Zach Frame (Tonkin and Taylor) – thank you for volunteering your time and expertise. We are looking forward to more speakers and industry engagement in 2023. 

CHCH NZGS branch reps 


The Otago branch hosted one of the NZGS Geomechanics lectures in September which had a great turn out! We are working behind the scenes to arrange an end of year function as well as the South Dunedin Groundwater presentation, when updated results are available. Please get in touch with Tim or Hannah if you have any interesting sites or projects locally you would like to talk about to the branch.

Issue 104 - December 2022, NZ Geomechanics News
Issue 104 - December 2022, NZ Geomechanics News
New Zealand
Society News

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