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Surveying 60th image

The School of Surveying team who worked on conference and the 60th events were (L-R): Richard Hemi, Fraser Jopson (also current S+SNZ Coastal Otago Branch chair), and Emily Tidey. Current Dean of the School, Associate Professor Tony Moore, is at right.

Delegates attending the 135th Survey and Spatial New Zealand (S+SNZ) conference on Otago’s Dunedin campus made the most of additional events organised in celebration of 60 years of the School of Surveying Te Kura Kairūri.

Attended by 350 delegates in August, the conference linked to several activities planned by the School, including technology and computing workshops, an open day and an anniversary dinner.

Local S+SNZ Branch Chair and Professional Practice Fellow Fraser Jopson says the celebrations were very well attended. “Everyone took the opportunity of wandering down memory lane, but it was also exciting to look forward towards the next steps of the School’s and the profession’s journey.”

The theme of the conference, Marking the Journey, Hāpaia, referenced the journey that surveyors embark on through their careers, including the role of the School of Surveying in educating and preparing students for their subsequent professional careers.

Attendees included previous Dean of the School Emeritus Professor John Hannah (1993-2012), Senior Lecturer Allan Blaikie (1968-94) who taught many of the current School’s staff, and long-term administrator Huubje Hellendoorn (1975-97). Acknowledgement was also made of Emeritus Professor Basil Jones (Dean from 1977-93) who sadly died shortly after the conference.

Professional Practice Fellow Richard Hemi explained that because of the connection between the School of Surveying and wider industry, many in the profession have remained closely linked to the School after graduating.

“We had a whole range of alumni from across many aspects of the School’s history in attendance, as well as staff and current students, so it was a great opportunity for everyone to come together and reminisce about their early years of learning here in Dunedin,” Hemi says.

As many conference delegates are ongoing employers of graduates of School of Surveying, they were also informed of the recent curriculum changes for students who commenced their degrees this year.

Current Dean of the School, Associate Professor Tony Moore says these changes have been implemented successfully and bring the curriculum into alignment with contemporary surveying practices.

“The changes bring together the many different fields that the School covers, from geospatial science (GIS and remote sensing) to land planning and development as well as surveying measurement. All these areas can be applied to societal challenges and opportunities, including the critical issues facing us today, such as climate change,” Associate Professor Moore says.

A silent auction was organised as an opportunity to clear some excess equipment and storage space in the School. Old surveying equipment including theodolites, range finders, and scales dating back to the 1970’s, went under the hammer and raised around $4,000. The proceeds will be split between Pūtea Taukoko Otago Student Relief Fund and the Kairūri Trust that was set up in 2017 to foster the future of the surveying and spatial community.

Rounding off the three-day conference and event, lecturer Emily Tidey and Richard Hemi presented a summary of the School’s activities over 60 years that included snapshots of memorable events captured in black and white and colour photos, the formative annual field camps, current staff and student research and key successes of alumni across the decades.

Tidey says as the survey and spatial community in Aotearoa are a tight-knit group, and they commonly share a connection through their early days of learning at the School.

“The 60th anniversary and associated events have been a great way to reflect on our shared histories while recognising the importance of the School to the wider professional community. We’re really proud of what our alumni, staff and students have achieved, and excited to see what more is to come.”

Kōrero by Guy Frederick (Communications Adviser Sciences)

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