We had a fantastic time at the WSP Research Centre on Thursday 27 July. Asset managers and engineers from across the Wellington and Taranaki region came together for this fascinating Āpōpō Branch Event. The day opened with our branch chair Raj Suppiah giving a karakia.

By doing this with passion, we will succeed. 

We had the privilege of receiving a tour with Matt Sharp, Research Manager of Transport at WSP. While we were not allowed to take photos of WSP Research Hub’s exclusive innovation lab, you can get a taste of the experience with our wrap-up below!

You can check out the photos of our curious and knowledgeable attendees via our Lightroom album here

We got to look at a giant zoetrope-esque machine, which is used to test prototype roading materials. The big wheel contained snippets of chip-seal and had a car wheel running over these snippets. This is a physical rough imitation of life-sized roads, and a key stage for developing transport surfaces. 

There was a gigantic metal machine for squashing objects, to pressure-test material durability. We saw a 200-tonne (2000 kilo newton) universal test machine, which towered over us. It was quite the sight to behold. 

The last part of the tour was a stellar experience. We stood over a tiny replica of Wellington City, which was placed in a massive wind tunnel. This wind tunnel can test the flexibility of high-rise buildings—and ensure it’s not too flexible, so that inhabitants don’t get nauseated by the sway. Fun fact—WSP’s wind tunnels helped develop the durability of Blunt Umbrellas! It is one of three wind tunnels in Aotearoa New Zealand. There’s also one at Auckland University and another one down in Invercargill. 

Attendees got to enjoy:

  • Our CE Murray Pugh sharing his mihimihi, and helping our audience understand how to pronounce Āpōpō—”ah-paw-paw”, with long vowel sounds. 
  • The delicious social networking lunch. 
  • A live view of the Āpōpō brand launch video.
  • Hearing the first-hand account of Cyclone Gabrielle with Keith Ashington.
  • Coll O’Connor of Construction Sector Accord talking about NZ Government Procurement and the learning platform Hīkina. 
  • A highly engaging and charismatic presentation about the power of great procurement by Andrew Thrift of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). 
  • An exclusive tour of the WSP Research Hub. While we couldn’t take photos of the top-secret innovative activities, we did get to ask lots of questions. 
  • Being a part of our Āpōpō Guide workshop with our Product Manager, Mike Curry. 

WSP Research Hub’s history:

“We have a proud history dating back more than 50 years to the New Zealand Ministry of Works when we provided experimental research that informed the design and construction of major national infrastructure projects, such as hydroelectric power schemes and state highways.”

Workshop for the Āpōpō Guide with Mike Curry.

We’re excited for the next branch meeting at Dunedin Airport, Friday 18 August. See what we’ve got planned for the day