Issue 105 - June 2023

Society Branch Reports


The Auckland Branch finished 2022 on a high note, with a great mini-symposium where we heard from speakers about a range of interesting technical developments and projects occurring across the Auckland and Northland regions. As always, the event led on to an evening with food and drinks in Auckland’s CBD, providing a great opportunity for like-minded professionals to network and catch up before the long-awaited Christmas break. A special thanks to our regular sponsors Duracrete (Redirock), Geotechnics, Ground Investigation, and Geofabrics for their continued support to help make this event and all other talks throughout the year possible.

On the other hand, the start to 2023 has been somewhat disrupted by the severe weather events across the upper North Island, whereby the focus of the profession has been on assisting with the emergency response and recovery. Despite this, the Auckland Branch hosted our first international speaker for some time, with Prof. Vaughan Griffiths from the Colorado School of Mines presenting on ‘Probabilistic Methods in Geotechnical Engineering – From the back-of-an-envelope to supercomputers’. This was well attended considering it was held on a Friday evening, and the topic prompted plenty of discussion.

The branch is looking forward to hosting and supporting several upcoming talks through the remainder of 2023, including both local and international speakers.

ABOVE Auckland Branch Mini Symposium

Hawkes Bay 

Hawkes Bay Branch members have been hands on dealing with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle and haven’t had an opportunity to meet recently.

We know that our members have been deeply involved in all facets of the recovery since day one – initially helping the local communities with emergency response and providing reassurance for the multitude of residents affected by land instability. As the response progressed beyond lifeline needs, we know our people have been assisting the local Councils with rapid repairs to restore road, bridge and stopbank networks. They’ve also been helping local industry and residents get back on their feet. The speed with which some of this work has been achieved is testament to the strong relationships between our local members and local contractors.

 The fortnightly “Cyclone Gabrielle – HB Technical Clearinghouse” led by Engineering NZ has become a touchstone for our members to interact with the wider government response. We encourage any local members that are unaware of this group to reach out.

Bay of Plenty

The Bay of Plenty branch members were invited to attend a site visit to the Tauranga Northern Link (TNL) in April with a presentation the night before from the Fulton Hogan / HEB Joint Venture team. The presentation outlined the design for the TNL and project requirements that need to be met during construction. The site visit was a valuable opportunity to drive through the extent of the works and gain an understanding of the general design and some of the issues already encountered in construction. Those who attended the site visit were able to see areas of extensive cut and the progress of the bridge construction throughout the project. We hope to arrange further visits as work progresses. We extend our thanks to the Fulton Hogan / HEB joint venture team for sharing their experiences and knowledge during the presentation and site visit. If any of our NZGS BoP members are working on an interesting project or site (nothing is too big or too small!) then we would really appreciate hearing from you so we can arrange presentations, site visits, or boot talks to share knowledge with our colleagues.


Professor Vaughan Griffiths from the Colorado School of Mines was welcomed by the Wellington Branch in late March. During his visit, he delivered a captivating presentation on “Probabilistic Methods in Geotechnical Engineering: From Envelope Calculations to Supercomputers.” In his enlightening talk, Professor Griffiths elucidated the differences, advantages, and constraints inherent in four mainstream approaches: the first-order method, the first-order second-moment method (FOSM), Monte-Carlo (Single Random Variable) method and the random finite element method (RFEM). The RFEM is the only method to take account of spatial variability but can be computationally expensive (e.g. nonlinear, 3D etc), requiring High performance computers or super-computers. 

On Wednesday, 28 June 2023, the Wellington Branch will co-host a presentation on ‘Reinforced Slopes & Walls with Site Won & Marginal Fills’ with the Institution of Civil Engineers New Zealand (ICE). This talk will be presented by Nicola Brusa and Sam Best from Tailor Engineering. More details will be available on the NZGS website soon.

We’ve got more exciting events planned for the remainder of 2023, including some further (in-person) presentations, so keep an eye out for upcoming events in the NZGS newsletter! As always, please get in touch if you have any ideas for presentations or events.


We have had one gathering where thirty people assembled for a site visit at Te Kaha Stadium (Christchurch Stadium) to have the project managers from T+T and CLL to discuss key aspects of the ground improvement design and construction process. Here’s a pic from the visit 

We have also organised several other talks but not as many as we would’ve liked. We have three new Branch Coordinators in Christchurch, and we are finding our feet, but will have some more events coming in the near future.

ABOVE Site visit at Te Kaha (Christchurch) Stadium.

Issue 105 - June 2023, NZ Geomechanics News
Issue 105 - June 2023, NZ Geomechanics News
New Zealand
Society News

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