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Tuesday, 02 December 2014 00:00

McConnell Dowell wins Supreme Award and Transport Infrastructure award at Engineering Excellence awards

In a joint win at the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards on Friday night, McConnell Dowell took home the highly coveted Supreme Award for Engineering Excellence for Te Matau ā Pohe, the Lower Hatea River crossing in Whangarei.

''We are delighted to win such a prestigious award," said Roger McRae, Managing Director, McConnell Dowell.

"The bridge is a stunning structure and an outstanding achievement for Whangarei District Council and everyone involved. What we have achieved together is an fine example of a collaborative contract delivery model, top quality international and local design and precision construction. Congratulations to everyone involved."

Te Matau ā Pohe is a new landmark for the region. It addresses a very practical transport need in a way that incorporates the unique cultural history and identity of the region. It is the first bridge to be built in New Zealand in over 50 years with a lifting mid-section to enable boats to pass underneath.

The design of the bridge incorporates the traditional Māori fish hook and takes its name from Wiremu Pohe, the Māori chief who greeted the first ever Europeans to visit the area.

The winning team included McConnell Dowell Constructors, Transfield Services, Novare Design Ltd, Gaia Engineers Ltd, Knight Architects, Eadon Consulting, Northern Civil Consulting and Whangarei District Council.

“These are New Zealand’s premier engineering awards,” said panel judge, Peter Higgs.

"It’s a well-deserved accolade that we hope will also inspire others to continue to integrate excellence in design with New Zealand’s unique cultural identity and ingenuity. This year's entries included some outstanding examples of innovation and creativity in engineering projects and practice that are making a huge difference in the lives of countless New Zealanders from innovations in the management of sewage and wastewater in Christchurch to a world-first in the use of redeveloped earthquake-resistant building technologies."

McConnell Dowell and the team also took the award for Transportation Infrastructure.

Whangarei District Council Group Manager for Infrastructure Services Simon Weston said a key objective when building the bridge was for it to constitute award-winning design and construction standards.

"The total commitment to excellence of everyone involved in the project shines through in the results," said Mr Weston.
Kieran Devine, acting Chief Executive of IPENZ, one of eight partner organisations hosting the awards, said it was a great night with high calibre entries.

“It reminded us again just how well New Zealand’s engineering community deserves its world-leading reputation," said Mr Devine. 

Te Matau a Pohe is well recognised world-wide. It is the winner of two international awards, three national awards and a finalist in several others.

International awards include:
• Architizer A+ Award (Architecture+Engineering)
• United Kingdom Civic Trust Award


New Zealand awards include:
• Winner of the Contractors Federation and Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards for projects up to $30m


High commendation awards:
• 2014 New Zealand Concrete Society Awards Infrastructure Award
• Roading New Zealand Road Excellence Awards -- Z Excellence Award for a Major Project (greater than $25m).

The project was nominated for the New Zealand Master Builders Commercial Project Award and the Building Magazine International Project of the Year.

It has also appeared in a number of industry magazines and in the recent Kia car advertisement on television, featured in the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand magazine, Bridge Design and Engineering Magazine, and several industry blogs.


For more information regarding this media release contact Clare Farrant on +64 9 21 923 796

For further information regarding the awards, including an overview of each of the finalists and videos featuring their work, please visit the New Zealand Engineering Excellence website.