2021
ENGINEERING IMPACT AWARD

A project or initiative which has positive social, environmental, cultural or economic outcomes to a community, iwi, organisation, the environment, education or society.

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FINALISTS

ROSEDALE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT – FLOATING SOLAR ARRAY

Watercare Services and Vector Powersmart

This landmark system signals an important milestone for solar power in Aotearoa.

It’s New Zealand’s only floating solar array and has over 2700 panels covering nearly one hectare, that float on the treatment lake at the Rosedale Wastewater treatment plant on Auckland’s North Shore.

The one-megawatt array covers one hectare and consists of more than 2700 solar panels and 4000 floating pontoons. It generates 1,486MWh per year – enough electricity to power a quarter of the total energy needed at the treatment plant.

The idea of a floating array has created value from an otherwise marginal land asset (the pond) while reducing operational costs and contributing to Watercare’s energy self-sufficiency and emissions reduction objectives.

It’s a real, visible example of an exciting green energy solution in the heart of Auckland.

TE HONO – NEW PLYMOUTH AIRPORT TERMINAL

Beca and Puketapu Hapu

Te Hono – New Plymouth Airport Terminal was a significant project for the Taranaki region and successful collaboration between Beca and Puketapu (local hapu) to create a site-specific response that’s distinctly Taranaki.

As tangata whenua, Puketapu has a deep bond to the airport site. In the 1960s, their land was taken unceremoniously under the Public Works Act to build the original airport. This project was an opportunity to step well beyond a normal consultancy role to establish an inclusive design process that would both acknowledge and transcend the conflicts of the past.

The design collaboration between Beca and Puketapu is one to be proud of and sets a high standard for future iwi collaborations. They worked with iwi artist Rangi Kipa right from the outset to integrate important narratives, values and artwork into the building's form and function.

Te Hono is unique to the Taranaki region – it’s an expression of the land and its people – rich in meaning and cultural significance. It's a standout example of a project that truly embraces partnership with mana whenua

THE PUKEKOHE WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT

Watercare Services Ltd (WSL)

The Pukekohe Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Upgrade has set a new standard for discharge quality in New Zealand and set a benchmark for local iwi consultation. In turn, they've designed and constructed the most sophisticated wastewater treatment plant in Aotearoa.

The team was committed to the vision of restoring the lower reaches of the Waikato River to its former swimmable, fishable and drinkable glory. Watercare acknowledged the deeply important relationship of the Waikato Iwi with the river, which is regarded as Te Tupuna Awa, the ancestral river of the people. 

The proposal for the $110M plus upgrade was ground-breaking. Two key innovations added significant levels of complexity to the construction process but illustrated the strong commitment to sustainability.

Firstly, they re-purposed two existing tanks, to reduce costs and minimise the environmental impact of the project. And secondly, they used advanced recycled membranes. The membranes used for clarification of the effluent were recycled in part from the Tuakau Water Treatment Plant – a highly innovative approach that’ll significantly minimise maintenance costs going forward.

THE NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE RISK ASSESSMENT

A consortium led by AECOM, Tonkin + Taylor, NIWA, Latitude, Victoria University of Wellington, Lincoln University, and several independent consultants

The National Climate Change Risk Assessment (NCCRA) is a major milestone in New Zealand’s climate change response. For the first time, the top priority risks we face concerning climate change have been defined. Its vision is to ensure the entire nation is resilient to the impacts of climate change in the long term.

NCCRA is a piece of work that will have huge and lasting impacts for Aotearoa. As a critical and core tool for the future of New Zealand, there’s no area of society that the NCCRA will not touch. This project is a standout example of how engineering can help solve the biggest problems society faces.

It gives a national overview of how New Zealand may be affected by climate-change-related hazards and identifies the main risks and opportunities. It highlights information gaps and helps identify where the Government needs to focus its actions. It’ll inform all facets of New Zealand’s adaptation plan. 

Designed for practical application, it’s already informing the Climate Change Commission’s draft recommendations and will shape Government policy, assist central agencies to make key decisions, and flow into the work of iwi/hapū and local government.