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Meet the inspiring winners of Engineering New Zealand’s inaugural ENVI Awards

The ENVI Awards were held in Auckland on 7 November at Shed 10. The purpose of them is to give those in the engineering industry the opportunity to think beyond the final delivery of their product or project by basking in a bit of glory. They are hosted by Engineering New Zealand, Aotearoa’s professional body for engineers that has 22,000 members.

ENVI Judges were looking for individuals, teams or organisations that have executed outstanding engineering projects which benefit both society and the environment.

In terms of the awards, 120 entries were made across eight categories, which was then whittled down to eight impressive winners by the judges.

Engineering New Zealand chief executive Susan Freeman-Greene says the aim of the ENVI Awards is to recognise vision, brilliance, creativity and technical skills.

“We are so pleased that there has been such a positive response from the industry to the ENVIs and were incredibly impressed with the calibre of finalists across a very board range of engineering disciplines,” Freeman-Greene says.

The winner of the Young Engineer of the Year Award was Terry Miller, CEO and founder of Eight360. The company’s VR simulator NOVA is a unique feat of engineering. It’s different from other VR machines in the sense that the NOVA is fully untethered and can rotate fully 360 degrees, which gives the user a more realistic experience through rotation, acceleration and gravitational effects.


The NOVA is also a true number-eight-wire invention: it took Miller working on it for one year, unpaid, to get it off the ground, transitioning it from a garage experiment to a working prototype.

The Engineering Creativity winner was the Kakahu façade in Christchurch by Lewis Bradford engineers and artist Lonnie Hutchinson. While competition was fierce in this particular category, covering a Christchurch parking building with 1116 aluminium feathers was no small engineering feat. Lewis Bradford was required to make sure the 6.5 metre high lightweight aluminium design could withstand strong winds of up to 360 kilometres per hour.

To ensure the structural design was up to the task, they created a full-scale prototype where extreme winds could be simulated to see if the feathers would stay put. This provides a traffic-stopping platform for Lonnie Hutchinson’s beautiful and largest ever artwork and is one of the highlights of the Christchurch CBD rebuild.  

The Engineering Innovation winner was the Micromaker by Callaghan Innovation. The device can prototype 3D-printed structures that are significantly thinner than a human hair, allowing affordable, rapid prototyping at a microfabrication level.

It has successfully printed items with a resolution of 10 microns and can be configured for as low as a five-micron resolution. Comparatively, human hair has a diameter of about 80 microns, which is also about the best layer resolution that can be achieved with other 3D printing processes.

Miniature devices such as sensors, point-of-care diagnostics, micro-robotics, wearables and aerospace components can all be created by the Micromaker. Considering the market for these sorts of device is predicted to be worth US$13.4 billion by 2021, it’s a step in the right direction for Callaghan Innovation. Judges described the tech as a gamechanger for New Zealand that will pave the way for other innovative products to be invented.

For the Engineering Impact award, the entries were so strong that two joint winners were named: Te Auaunga Walmsley by Auckland Council, Fulton Hogan, Boffa Miskell and AECOM, and Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery by NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, and the NCTIR alliance.

The Te Auaunga park and stream restoration shows how collaboration can achieve results that go beyond just the physical. Te Auaunga is Auckland’s longest urban stream and is a local taonga (treasure) in Mount Roskill. However, it was converted to a concrete stormwater channel in the 1930s, which means the 1.3km surrounding parkland has been prone to flooding. This has sometimes caused damaged to the housing.

Thanks to local government, the community (including mana whenua) and contractors joining forces, the area has been restored for future housing growth and development alongside a public open space upgrade that includes social, environmental and cultural benefits. This includes an outdoor education zone, two BMX tracks, and a community f?le. As well as this, 120,000 native trees have been planted.

The other joint winner of the Impact Award was Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery. Kaik?ura’s massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in November 2016 devastated the area’s transport networks and cut off communities in the upper South Island.

The seismic event permanently moved the South Island and caused almost one million cubic metres of rock and material to fall onto SH1 and the Main North Line, with almost 3,300 separate issues that needed to be fixed on the land and structurally.

The New Zealand Transport agency and Kiwirail swung into action and set up the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance with Fulton Hogan, Higgins, Downers and HEB Construction to respond to the emergency.

Repairs on the network were the largest in New Zealand since the Second World War, with 220 work sites along 190km of track. SH1 reopened to freight on 15 September 2017, ten months after the quake. Two months later, SH1 reopened, bridging together communities once more. The judges said the rebuild set the standard for how the country can mobilise following a natural disaster.

View the full list of winners below.

2019 ENVI winners

Young Engineer of the Year award

Terry Miller – Eight 360

Highly Commended

Alistair Collins – Associate Building Services, Beca

Engineering Creativity award

Kakahu Façade – Lewis Bradford

Engineering Impact Award

Kaik?ura Earthquake Recovery – NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, NCTIR alliance


Te Auaunga: Walmsley, Oakley Creek & Underwood Reserves Restoration  – Auckland Council, Fulton Hogan, Boffa Miskell & AECOM

Engineering Partnership Award

Aspiring Artists – SCAPE Public Art and Lewis Bradford Consulting

Engineering Innovation Award

Micromaker – Callaghan Innovation/Research and Technical Service 

Highly Commended            

Turanga – Christchurch Central Library by Lewis Bradford 

Noise Reduction and Audio Capture Suite for Drones – Dotterel Technologies               

Engineering Diversity Award

Honor Columbus – Maori and Pasifika in Construction

Engineering Education Award

Meridian Energy Rural

Engineering Leadership Award

Darryl-Lee Wendelborn – Managing Director, Beca?

Supreme Award

Engineering a Better New Zealand Award

Kaik?ura earthquake recovery – NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail and the NCTIR alliance

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