Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Unsung Heroes In Natural Disasters Gather To Share Expertise

Geotechnical engineers and scientists are the unsung heroes of protecting New Zealanders, their properties and infrastructure from natural hazards, including earthquakes and landslides.

Most New Zealanders may have little awareness of geotechnical engineers and scientists, but their work plays a critical role in keeping people and property safe on these Shaky Isles.

This week, more than 250 scientists and engineers are meeting in Dunedin to share specialist knowledge on landslides, liquefaction and how soil conditions affect the performance of buildings in earthquakes, heavy rain and other natural events.

“Getting all these experts together in one place sharing their particular expertise is absolutely vital in creating safer, more resilient buildings and infrastructure,” says Ross Roberts, Chair of the New Zealand Geotechnical Society.

Roberts says that since the Christchurch earthquakes, most New Zealanders have a much better understanding that even the strongest house can be severely damaged if the land underneath is prone to liquefaction or any other land damage.

“What we do is look at the soil and rock that buildings, roads and pipes sit on and go through,” he explains. “ ’Geotechs’ as we are known, assess if the ground is suitable to build on in specific areas, and then design engineering solutions to address any potential weaknesses in the soil.”

Roberts says that people in Dunedin will be very aware of these risks after a 2018 landslip forced families in St Clair to leave their homes.

EQC’s Chief Resilience and Research Officer, Dr Jo Horrocks, says that a good understanding of the ground beneath buildings is essential to ensure New Zealanders are living in strong homes.

“And this is why EQC has been keen to come on board as a major sponsor of this year’s New Zealand Geotechnical Society conference Good Grounds for the Future,” says Dr Horrocks, who will be chairing a conference session.

“The three key things we always want to know are what’s happening in the ground, the type of foundations we put in it, and the structures we build on it. Geotechnical engineers and scientists are the experts at knowing what the ground is like, how it will behave under stress like an earthquake, and how it is likely to affect building foundations in it and on it.”

As well as hearing from New Zealand’s leaders in the field, international guest speakers will be presenting via video link.

The Dunedin community are invited to join the conference for a free open lecture about New Zealand’s natural hazard risk, and the opportunities we have to become more resilient as cities change and grow.

The lecture by Dr Hugh Cowan, will be on Thursday, March 25, 4.30-5.30pm at the Dunedin Centre 1 Harrop Street. Dr Cowan has long involvement in understanding and managing natural hazard risk, including establishment of New Zealand's geological hazard monitoring system "GeoNet".

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Frog Recruitment: Kiwi Workers Reluctant To Make Business Trips Across The Ditch Despite Trans-Tasman Bubble Opening

When the trans-Tasman travel bubble opens today, many Kiwi companies won't be rushing to buy an air ticket, reluctant to cross the ditch to do business. The latest survey conducted by leading recruitment agency, Frog Recruitment of nearly 1,000 New Zealand ... More>>

Tourism: Employers Welcome Back Working Holidaymakers

Tourism businesses gearing up for the return of Australian visitors from next week will be relieved to learn that they will also have access to an offshore pool of much-needed job candidates, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says. Tourism employers around ... More>>

Commerce Commission: Latest Broadband Report Confirms Improved Performance Of Premium Fibre Plans

The latest report from the Commerce Commission’s Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme shows that the performance of Fibre Max plans has improved substantially. This follows a collaboration between the Commission, its independent testing partner, ... More>>

Air New Zealand: Capital Raise Deferred

Air New Zealand has decided to defer its planned capital raise to later in 2021 allowing more time to assess the impacts of recent developments on the airline’s path to recovery. 'We’ve seen some clearing of COVID-19 clouds recently, with ... More>>

Stats NZ: Prices For Transport And Housing Rise In March 2021 Quarter

Higher prices for transport and housing led to a 0.8 percent lift in the consumers price index in the March 2021 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Prices for getting around rose in the March quarter. Transport prices rose 3.9 percent, the biggest quarterly ... More>>

Stats NZ: New Report Shows Impact Of Demands On Land In New Zealand

A new environmental report released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ, presents new data on New Zealand’s land cover, soil quality, and land fragmentation. The land cover data in the report, Our land 2021 , provides the most ... More>>


Stats NZ: March Card Spending Rebounds Despite COVID

There was a lift in retail card spending in March following a fall in the lockdown-disrupted February month, Stats NZ said today. Seasonally adjusted retail card spending rose by $53 million (0.9 percent), compared with February 2021. Visit our website to read ... More>>