NZ Geomechanics News

Society Branch Reports


The Auckland Branch have been steady over the past 6 months, playing it conservative and continuing with online talks through the recent Covid restrictions, however, with things seemingly easing there is a view to get in-person events back up and running. 

In a first, the team took the annual Auckland Branch Christmas Mini Symposium online in late December, which provided a great finish to the year for events. Although the ability for participants to network was hindered to some degree by the online nature of the event, the silver lining was that there was no registration fee, and the event was open for all to tune into. A range of great speakers put their hands up and presented interesting and thought-provoking presentations. 

In recent months, the Auckland team have been supporting a number of international speaker talks with Rolly Orense; talks have included: ‘Mine Subsidence: Cause, Effect, Mitigation’, ‘Design analysis of single and multiple debris barriers’, and ‘Experimental Investigation into Multiple Occurrence of Liquefaction’. Turn out to these online events has been great and judging by the questions posed, there always seems to be an engaged audience.

Looking forward, the Auckland Branch have re-organised the event ‘Panel discussion – The role of a peer reviewer in geotechnical design’. Some may recall that this event was cancelled only 2 hours before it was due to start last year, and in a complete coincidence, it will be run on the same day exactly 12 months later! We also have an upcoming talk from the members of the CRL design and constructions teams, plus many other upcoming evening talks. 

In the coordinator space, Sirini De Silva has recently stepped away from the Auckland Branch after a relatively short stint due to a move overseas – we wish her all the best and give thanks for her input. In exciting news, a call for expressions of interest was put out to the NZGS members and we had several great candidates come forward. Ben and Jay were impressed with the quality and keenness of members to contribute and give back to NZGS. They welcome Lynette Sla and Vick Kumaran to the coordinator team and look forward to seeing what they bring to the role. 


While the Tauranga branch has experienced a COVID-19 related hiatus of in person events, we hope our members have been able to attend some of the online offerings that continue to be advertised through the NZGS calendar. Over the coming months we are positive about restarting in person gatherings. We would love to have local presenters speaking about the projects they have been working on in recent times, to bring a local flavour to the usual range of travelling presenters and quality recorded material used at NZGS events. If you have something you would like to share with the local Geotechnical community, please reach out to Kim or James. It doesn’t have to be a ‘feature length’ event, as combining several shorter presentations into one evening has been very popular in the past.

James Griffiths


The Gisborne Branch held its first presentation in December 2021, where Merrick Taylor, Senior Associate at Beca presented a webinar on the geotechnical aspects of the design of upgrading the Gisborne Wastewater Treatment Plant, including ground improvement to achieve Gisborne District Council’s resilience objectives. Merrick’s presentation was extremely well attended, not just by practitioners based in Gisborne, but by the wider NZGS community. While covid has been disruptive to all of us, it has really helped to ensure that NZGS can reach every geoprofessional across the country, and small branches like Gisborne have really benefitted from joining other branch presentations remotely. The Gisborne branch is planning to highlight other local projects through the year and will aim for an in-person event too. 

Frances Neeson 


Since the December Geomechanics issue, the Wellington Branch has hosted two presentations for NZGS members. While both presentations had to be held online due to Covid-19 restrictions, this allowed people from across New Zealand to dial in and listen to the talks. Both talks were very well attended, with about 230-240 participants in each talk. In case you missed either of the presentations, they were recorded and are available to view on-demand on the NZGS website.

In December Chris Massey from GNS Science presented on the geomechanical characterisation of greywacke for dynamic slope stability analyses. In his talk, Chris talk presented some of the findings from his team’s SLIDE research project, including regional-scale landslide trends, landslide susceptibility factors, and a discussion of Wellington’s greywacke rock slopes. He concluded his talk by discussing what the findings from their research imply for the next large local earthquake in the Wellington Region.

In March this year we had Matt Hill, also from GNS Science, present on the application of 3D geological modelling in Wellington to assist with engineering geology and understanding natural hazards. In his talk, Matt discussed various geological models of the Wellington region which have been created at different scales. He also covered some of the challenges of urban geological modelling, the data that underlies the models, and how these models can be used for practical applications and understanding natural hazards.

We want to thank Chris and Matt for their great presentations, and for being able to present online. A big thanks also goes out to Holly and the Engineering NZ team for hosting the online sessions and making everything run smoothly.

We’ve got some exciting events planned for the remainder of 2022, including a possible fieldtrip and some further (in person) presentations, so keep an eye out for upcoming events in the NZGS newsletter! As always, if you have any ideas for presentations or events, please get in touch.

Christoph Kraus


The Otago branch has had a quiet few months but we have a couple of events to set up later in the year, including the postponed South Dunedin Groundwater presentation. We sent a survey out to our members to understand the type and style of events they would like to see more of, and we will shortly arrange an event to network with our members and go through the results. Matt has stepped down as a Branch Coordinator and has been replaced by Tim Plunket from GeoSolve, so 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.

NZ Geomechanics News
NZ Geomechanics news>Issue 103 - June 2022
New Zealand
Society News

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