Issue 106 - December 2023

Young Geoprofessionals Reports

There has been lots happening in the YGP space over the last few months. Firstly, I want to acknowledge Helen’s work as the previous YGP representative. Helen has done an amazing job in the role, which, amongst many other things, has included organising the regional YGP symposia, helping set up initiatives such as the cooperation agreement with the Austrian young members group, and chairing the organising committee of the 14th ANZ YGP conference in Rotorua last year. Thanks heaps for all your contributions and hard work over the last couple of years Helen! 

Regional YGP mini symposia 

The regional YGP mini symposia have again been a big success this year. At the time of writing this report, we have held the Christchurch and Wellington YGP symposia, both of which had a great turn out with 12 YGPs presenting in Christchurch and 15 in Wellington. Congratulations to Tom Tremain and Izzy Raziff who won the Christchurch symposium, and to Meenakshi Patel and Charles Chin, winners of the Wellington symposium. The Auckland / Northland and Waikato / Bay of Plenty symposia will be held on 15 November and 30 November, respectively.

I also want to say a massive thank you to all the local organisers of the YGP symposia, who have done an amazing job:

  • Christchurch: Tobi Blaser and Denvour Ritchie (both WSP)
  • Wellington: Ella McArthur (Beca), and Mitva Patel (Brian Perry Civil)
  • Auckland / Northland: Khushmita Ram and Baqer Asadi (both Jacobs)
  • Waikato / Bay of Plenty: Jesse Beetham (Tonkin + Taylor) and Regan Mitchell (CMW Geosciences)

Posters update 

We’re delighted to announce that the geotechnical engineering basics posters are now available to the public and can be downloaded from the NZGS website ( 

The posters, which were created by YGPs for YGPs, are aimed at entry-level geo-professionals to cover the fundamentals of various design procedures. Thanks to Miles Buob (Tonkin + Taylor) for initiating this project and Wendy Weng (Aurecon) for overseeing the completion of these posters. A big thank you also goes to the NZGS committee members for their continuous support, and to all the authors and reviewers who have dedicated their time and effort to the development of these posters over the years. 

Cooperation with the Austrian Young Members Group

Earlier this year we signed a cooperation agreement with the Austrian Society for Geomechanics Young Members Group. The agreement is intended to encourage:

  • A regular information interchange
  • Invitations to each others professional events (e.g. symposia, conferences, etc.)
  • Holding technical presentations on specific issues for each other’s organisations to share knowledge internationally
  • Identify and use synergies between the organisations.

As part of this effort for international cooperation, I recently met with Andreas Granitzer of the Joint Young Members Austria Steering Committee to discuss areas of future collaboration. We had a great meeting and have identified several interesting prospects, so keep an eye out for upcoming events in the newsletter!

ISSMGE Heritage Time Capsule project on geo education

In July, I was able to represent the NZ YGP view during the panel discussion on geo education at the 14th ANZ Conference on Geomechanics in Cairns. The discussion focussed on the current state and future of geo education in Australia and New Zealand, and also formed our contribution to the Heritage Time Capsule project of the ISSMGE.

The work and discussions about geo education are ongoing, so please feel free to reach out if you would like to share your thoughts or are interested in contributing. A separate article about this work is included in this edition of NZ Geomechanics News

Looking ahead

There are exciting YGP events and opportunities coming up in 2024. If you are keen to be involved or have ideas for future events and opportunities please feel free to get in touch via email ( 

I hope everyone has a great and relaxing break!

Christoph Kraus Christoph is a chartered Engineering Geologist at Beca in Wellington. His key interests include analysing complex geology, as well as the assessment and mitigation of natural hazards. He’s conducted fieldwork in a range of different geological settings in New Zealand, Patagonia, Samoa, and Antarctica. Outside of work, Christoph’s interests include travel, exploring the outdoors, football, and photography or

YGP Wellington Symposium

The Wellington Young Geotechnical Professional (YGP) Symposium was held on October 18th at the Engineering New Zealand office. The event saw 15 brilliant young professionals delegates from across the industry, including geotechnical engineering, engineering geology and contracting. The young professionals presented on a range of geotechnical projects and challenges from across the Central North Island region, including the impacts of cyclone Gabrielle, ground anchoring/pilling, seismic design, GIS solutions, and pumiceous soils. All of the rpesentation provided insightful design solutions, consideration, and lessons learnt. Congratulations to all presenters for doing a wonderful job. First place prize winner was Meenakshi Patel (ENGEO), Second Place went to Charles Chin (LDE) and the People’s choie prize went to Theo Culkin (WSP),

We would like to thank the sponsors of the event, Geotechnics and Redi-Rock, from which David Hepburn attended, providing a demonstration of gravity block design. We would also like to give a special thank you to our three mentors Bernice Herd (Beca), Eleni Gkeli (Stantec/NZGS), and Philip Robins (Becaz/NZGS), and the event organisers Mitva Patel (Brian Perry Civil) and Ella McArthur (Beca).

– Mitva Patel, Brian Perry Civil
– Ella McAuthur, BECA

Figure 1: The Wellington YGP Symposium attendees
Figure 2: First and second-place prize winners Meenakshi Patel (ENGEO), centre and Charles Chin (LDE), right and the people’s choice prize winner, Theo Culkin (WSP), left. 

South Island YGP Symposium, Christchurch

This year’s NZGS YGP Christchurch Symposium was held on 13th September and saw 12 young geotechnical professionals present on various topics within the engineering geology, geotechnical engineering, automation, and research spaces. All presentations were of extremely high quality and gave a glimpse into the range of exciting projects the young professionals are making their mark on. Thanks to our mentors, Greg Saul (WSP) and Joanna Petheram (Beca), for providing very useful feedback and answering all our burning questions. A big thank you goes to NZGS and our sponsors Cirtex and Geotechnics, for making this year’s event possible. Congratulations to our winners of the day, Tom Tremain (Aurecon) and Izzy Raziff (AECOM). Tom’s presentation on the Jenolan Caves Slip took out our judge’s award, and Izzy received our people’s choice award for his presentation on estimating coastal cliff erosion rates in the lower South Island. Thank you to all who presented and attended for making the symposium a success.

– Tobi Blaser and Denvour Ritchie, WSP

Photo 1: The attendees of the Christchurch YGP Symposium
Photo 2: Left to Right Tom Tremain (Judge’s award winner) Greg Saul, Joanna Petheram, Izzy Raziff (People’s Choice winner)

Tags : #YGP

Issue 106 - December 2023, NZ Geomechanics News
Christoph Kraus
Issue 106 - December 2023, NZ Geomechanics News
New Zealand
Society News

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