Australasian Engineering Heritage Conference
Dunedin, New Zealand
pre-pre-Conference tour
28th Oct 2021 - 10th Nov 2021  tbc
Click here to register interest

Engineering New Zealand have announced the following dates:
pre-Conference Tour: 11th - 14th November 2021
Conference: 14th- 17th November 2021

The Engineering New Zealand Otago Heritage chapter is hosting the next Australasian Engineering Heritage Conference in Dunedin, preceded by a 3-day pre-Conference tour.

In line with previous Australian and New Zealand Conferences, Heritage of Industry is working with the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch chapters of Engineering New Zealand to create a pre-pre-Conference tour of Engineering and Industrial Heritage sites to run immediately before the pre-Conference tour and Conference to add value to an event which is a long way from home for those of us from the Northern hemisphere, although those from the Southern Hemisphere may join the tour too!

We will be seeing some of the best engineering heritage in the southern hemisphere set amongst some of the most spectacular scenery to be found.

The overall experience will be broken down into 4 sections plus the North South crossing between the islands, all bookable separately. It is your responsibility to arrange your own transport at the start and end.

Provisional itinerary:

pre-pre-Conference tour - North Island section
Auckland to Wellington, 5 days

taking in points of engineering heritage interest, Museum of Transport & Technology, trams, aviation, coastal defences etc.

Auckland to Rotorua, gold mining at Thames, stamper battery, deep well mine pumps at Bella Street, historic bridge at Kopu, open cast mining at Waihi, BBQ evening dinner at a historic kiwi bach at lake Rotoiti.

Rotorua to Turangi via some scenic and heritage sites: Waiotapu thermal reserve, Aratiatia power station (sadly cannot be entered by the public now but the rapids are spectacular), Wairakei geothermal field and volcanic visitor centre, Huka Falls.

Turangi to Wellington via Turangi information centre and display of hydro station development in the area, National Park for viewing the Raurimu spiral and Makatote viaduct on the main trunk line, Tangiwai (rail disaster site due to the Mount Ruapehu crater lake failing) Desert Road, some other sites in the lower area such as flood control and flax industry.

Wellington, see around the capital city generally - with some highlights: the Wellington cable car, the Karori dams and wildlife sanctuary, the Old Government Buildings, and an example of retrofitted base isolation.

Crossing to South Island
Wellington to Picton ferry
Wine tasting & scenic tour
Stay Blenheim overnight

pre-pre-Conference tour - South Island section

Blenheim to Queenstown, 7 days

Blenheim: Omaka Aviation Museum Centre, Lake Grassmere: Salt Works

Coastal Road to Kaikoura restored road rail structures & sea views

Reefton – First electricity, Visitors centre, Blacks Point Museum 

Westport – Coal Town Museum, Denniston Plateau

Charleston Bay - historic port & town

Greymouth – Historic bridge, flood wall, mining memorial, railway station, wharf cranes

Brunner Mine – West Coast Coalfields – from 1864, Shanty Town

Kumara, Gold dredges, town history

On road to Arthurs Pass: Taipo Valley Road Piers; Otira Gorge Road, viaduct, lookout.

Arthurs Pass – Otira Tunnel, Board train to Christchurch – 16 tunnels, Waimakariri River gorge & bridges, with train commentary.

Christchurch: 2h walk in central city – including earthquake history 70% central city lost. Tram ride, Historic buildings tour, Ferrymead / Lyttelton time ball, rail tunnel, Canterbury Museum

Christchurch: to Bankside, Rakaia (longest bridge) – Mt Somers (Rangitata Diversion Race), Geraldine, Fairlie, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki (Mt Cook), Hydro electricity canals, Twizel – display, Omarama, Cromwell Clyde Dam, Kawarau Gorge (Bridge 1880), Arrowtown (old gold town)

Arriving Queenstown in the middle of the day, 18th November.

Engineering Heritage New Zealand - pre-Conference tour
( Bookable with Engineering Heritage New Zealand )
Queenstown to Dunedin, 3 days

Queenstown: Cruise on TSS Earnslaw, evening meal at Walter Peak.

Other visits tbc

Arriving in Dunedin c16:00

Engineering Heritage New Zealand - Conference
( Bookable with Engineering Heritage New Zealand )
Dunedin, 4 days

Below are the introductory notes to the Conference as supplied by Engineering Heritage New Zealand:

The conference focus will be on heritage engineering or technology which has endured, undergone development, restoration and re-purposing to claim its place in the future. It’s a theme that aligns well with the story of the Otago region of New Zealand.

Situated at the remote southern end of New Zealand, Otago is bordered in the west by the southern Alps and in the east by the Pacific Ocean. Abundant natural resources supported a population of Maori who were joined by small numbers of European sealers and whalers through the early 19th century. Scottish settlers founded the city of Dunedin in the 1840s and in 1861, gold was discovered in Central Otago, fuelling a further influx of migrants, supercharging the region’s economy and creating a demand for engineering infrastructure which has not been seen since. Our distance from other manufacturing and industrial centres necessitated both local ingenuity and industrial capacity. Times change, but some things endure — Much of our past has a future.

Three of New Zealand’s largest construction companies were incorporated in Dunedin – two of these well over 100 years ago. The entirely Dunedin-built steamer Earnslaw still plies Lake Wakatipu after 106 years of service. A vast network of water races built to provide water for gold now carries the water which irrigates much of the Central Otago farmland, while Dunedin City has just finished the overhaul of a 151-year old water supply dam. Dunedin’s economy is increasingly underpinned by its considerable ICT resource and even this has strong links to the past. A 105-year old Engineering Company has become a world leader in assembly line and meat processing technology. Once a staging postf or exported wool and grain or imported goods, the city’s re-purposed warehouse precinct now houses companies creating real-time animations for globally televised sports events such as the Americas Cup or Masters golf, building fine instrumentation for the life sciences, or creating genetics management software for farmers.

The Future of the Past. This conference theme not only fits our region, it provides a platform for a wide range of papers across the full spectrum of engineering and technological endeavour in what promises to be an engaging and enlightening event.

The pre-Conference tour and Conference are organised by Engineering Heritage New Zealand and booking for these sections will be through them.

Full details of the Engineering Heritage New Zealand arrangements are here :

It will be 12 years since Heritage of Industry was last in New Zealand and this promises to be a very special event.

Register interest now to hear more as plans develop.

Last updated 8th September 2020