4 March 2014: Sea Week Lecture

Ocean energy to electricity

Dr Craig Stevens, NIWA Wellington/University of Auckland/AWATEA

National Aquarium of New Zealand, Marine Parade, Napier

CraigStevensDr Stevens discussed energy in the ocean and international efforts to convert some of it into electricity and how this has intertwined with the vagaries of international geopolitics over the past few decades.

Different technology options developed and tested over time in different parts of the world were presented. Examples included machines to capture wind, wave, tide and current energy.  He noted that environmental impact understanding and public perception would make some current installations difficult to establish today.

Outlining oceanographic processes and showing how they vary around New Zealand, Dr Stevens identified areas of greater and lesser potential when considering these technologies for local power generation.  Current technology is a viable option for off-grid sites where the eceomics are compared with diesel generation of electricity.

Dr Craig Stevens is a physical oceanographer with a focus on environmental fluid mechanics in extreme environments.  He holds a joint position at NIWA and the University of Auckland. His use of observational techniques takes him to a variety of locations ranging from Antarctica to Cook Strait.  

His work is mainly about turbulence, stratification and waves – and how entities react/behave/exist in such fluid environments.  From the energy perspective he has looked at how to optimally locate tidal turbines so that they extract energy effectively, whilst minimizing environmental degradation. 

20 February 2014: Art Deco Earthquake Lecture

Professor Jason Ingham, University of Auckland, Thursday 20 February 2014, 7:30PM. National Aquarium of New Zealand, Marine Parade, Napier.


This year’s 1931 Napier Earthquake Commemorative Lecture was Developments in assessing and upgrading existing buildings for earthquakes with relevance to Hawke’s Bay buildings”. The lecture was in two parts.

Professor Jason Ingham from the University of Auckland Centre for Earthquake Engineering Research began with an explanation of developments in structural engineering with specific focus on Napier’s Art Deco Buildings.

Jason did his BE and ME at The University of Auckland, followed by a PhD at the University of California at San Diego. Supervised by Professor Nigel Priestley and Professor Freider Seible he investigated the seismic response of elevated concrete freeway frames and funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

The second part of the lecture was Government Buildings, presented by Noel Evans of OPUS International. Noel described the processes used to evaluate the school building stock of the Ministry of Education. Following the upgraded requirements for non-residential buildings, a very large number required detailed assessment. Noel gave examples of work, including destructuve testing of buildings, that alowed engineers to greatly reduce the number of buildings requiring extensive and expensive individual assessments.

Noel was elected a Fellow of Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand IPENZ in 2012 for his contribution to the application of engineering and technology in the community and particularly for his contribution following the major earthquake events in Canterbury.

The third part of this presentation was a panel fielding questions from the floor. Jason and Noel were joined by Guy Lethbridge of Strata Consulting Engineers and Kevin from the University of Auckland.

Image of Napier after the 1931 Earthquake from the Rev. John Macky Album accessed via: Presbytarian Research website http://preshist.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/napiers-historic-earthquake-81-years-ago/