Thanks to everyone who came to our Land Development Engineering Group Forum on 28 – 29 November 2023!

The forum theme this year was He waka eke noa – Let’s do this together.


This two-day event was kicked off with a day of presentations from experts who shared their experiences working on land development projects across the country, at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercagill.

After fuelling up on coffee (sponsored by PDP – thanks!), David Ihimaera began the forum with a karakia and waiata.

Kelly LaValley, the chairperson of the Land Development Engineering Group, and MC for the day, also welcomed us to the Forum.

Our first speaker was Michael Day, Chief Executive of Invercargill City Council.

Michael gave a great overview of a few recent projects ICC has completed, including the Stead Street stopbank, which was put in place to protect the Invercargill Airport and surrounding farmland (which we visited on day 2). At the heart of all their recent projects was the need to foster and strengthen relationships with mana whenua – by allowing itself to be open to cultural beliefs, the Council was able to foster these relationships with the local iwi, and to have a positive impact on the environment. View his slides here.

Next up was Nick Aiken, Director of VisonUrban, who gave a presentation on CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design). He shared stories from his time working in the UK and in Aotearoa New Zealand, and shared examples of using CPTED to create safe and robust spaces. View his slides here.








After morning tea (sponsored by Stantac) we handed back to Kelly LaValley.  Kelly is the General Manager Planning, Regulation, and Environment at Waimakariri District, and represented Āpōpō on the NZS3910:2013 review committee. Her presentation walked us through the changes that have been made to NZS3910, in its first major review since 2013. View her slides here.

Next up we heard an eye-opening presentation from Nerena Rhodes, a contaminated land specialist with significant experience in the investigation and management of sites undergoing development, including sites contaminated with per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Since 2017 Nerena has been the lead PFAS Technical Advisor to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) assisting NZDF to assess and manage PFAS on Defence properties. View her slides here.

Clare Hamilton, team leader at Tauranga City Council, was up last before lunch, who found a way to make record-keeping fun! Clare talked us through how her team at TCC efficiently track progress on their projects to make life easier for everyone. View her slides here.


After lunch (sponsored by Stormwater360 – thanks!) we got back to work with Glenn O’Connor, Director of Bonisch. Glenn’s presentation was on why the future of consultant-council relationships needs to be built on trust, and the framework that we can implement now to help achieve this. View his slides here.

Following Glenn we heard from Dean Whaanga from Te Ao Mārama, who shared how Te Ao Mārama Incorporated looks after mana whenua interests in resource management and other aspects related to local government in Southland. He is involved in the protection of the spiritual and cultural values of the region, including wahi tapu (sacred places), mahinga kai (gathering of food and resources) and other natural resources. View his slides here.

Next we learned what it’s like to set up a world-first electric cherry farm from CEO of Rewiring Aotearoa, Mike Casey. Mike shared his knowledge on how to electrify, the benefits and the pitfalls, and all the mistakes he made along the way. View his slides here.


After our afternoon tea (kindly sponsored by P&F Global Ltd) we finished off our afternoon with a presentation from Mike Doesburg, who spoke about keeping up with and understanding changes in the resource management system. View his slides here.

Following his presentation, he joined our panel discussion, alongside Kelly LaValley and Marcus Roy of Environment Southland. The session was facilitated by Jeremy Rees, Principal Civil Engineer at Bonisch. The panel pulled from their own experiences in the industry to answer audience questions on where they think the future of land development engineering is heading.


After a happy hour at Ascot Park Hotel, we round off the evening, we all hopped on a bus into town to visit the new 360 bar at the Langlands Hotel for networking drinks with a stunning view of Invercargill.




On day 2 of the Forum, we toured some of the infrastructure that helps to protect Invercargill from flooding by our fantastic tour guide/head of the LDEG organising committee, Jeremy Rees.

First we visited the Waihopai dam, where Gavin Gilder of Environment Southland talked us through their work to protect the surrounding area from potential flooding.



Further down the road we also checked out the Stead Street pump station replacement and the newly developed stopbank.



The group then visited our friends and sponsors P&F Global Ltd for an exclusive tour of their yard. The highlight of this would have to be what they call “The Big Drop”, where they demonstrated the strength and durability of their EUROFLO® pipe by picking it up for a forklift and dropping it from a great height.




Our last stop before heading home was the brand new Murihiku Marae buildings, where, after being welcomed with a pōwhiri, we heard about the extensive redevelopment and fascinating history of Murihiku.



Thanks again to our sponsors:

Stormwater360 Our platinum sponsors. They also provided the atmosphere with their awesome lightboxes (next to the presenters during presentations)

P&F Global, for sponsoring afternoon tea on day 1, and for giving us a tour of your yard!

Stantec, for sponsoring morning tea on day one, and sending us home with the coolest socks!


PDP, for keeping us alert with the coffee cart.


Atlan Stormwater

Without you the Forum would not have been possible!

We would also like to thank Marg Craig of Composition, for pulling off the planning for the LDEG Forum.

We hope to see you next year!