In 2023 the wide-ranging effects of our changing climate were acutely felt across New Zealand through multiple events; most notably through Cyclone Gabrielle, which caused major damage across the North Island.

It left in its wake multiple bridge collapses and significant damage to both structures and the road network; severing critical lifeline routes; causing significant disruption to travel and trade; significant cost of remediation; and tragically, loss of life.

Through this event, roading authorities, contractors and consultants worked hand in hand, responding under immense pressure. Whiles work to reestablish networks continues, there are key lessons about preparation and response that can be learned.

This presentation will examine the approach taken before during and after Cyclone Gabrielle with a focus on immediate response through a lens of kaitiakitanga. We will discuss lessons for asset owners and engineers; good practice and understanding of risk to improving the resilience of bridges and other critical assets; and processes to respond during emergencies.

Ben Baty, BE (Civil), CPEng (NZ), CMEngNZ


Ben is a Principal Bridge and Civil Structures Engineer and Service Line Leader - Bridge Asset Management at WSP. With 13 years’ experience, Ben's areas of expertise include bridge analysis and assessment, project management, whole-of-life asset management, and flood recovery.

Natalia Uran-Botero, BE (Civil), MSc (Structural), CPEng (NZ), CMEngNZ


Natalia is a Principal Bridge Asset Engineer with a Bachelor (Hons) in Civil Engineering and Masters in Structural Engineering (Distinction). Natalia has over 16 years’ experience in the UK and New Zealand primarily concentrated in bridge asset management, risks management, long-term planning, strengthening design and bridge assessment. Natalia leads the WSP Napier Bridge and Civil Structures team.
Concurrent Session C

Manaakitanga | Toru

Thursday 23 May