Paul C Denton

Engineering Geologist, Geotechnical Advisor and Company Director

Paul is an engineering geologist with more than 25 years of geotechnical experience specializing in slope stability and other geologic hazard investigations. He is a member of the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and an Engineering Technologist of the Institution of Professional Engineers in New Zealand (TIPENZ). His geotechnical experience in New Zealand since 1991 is supplemented with seven years as an engineering geologist in California where he holds current registration and certification as an engineering geologist. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since 2005, Paul has shared the role of Geotechnical Advisor to the Nelson City Council, a position shared with the Patriarch of Nelson Geology, Dr Mike R Johnston, former Nelson District Geologist with the New Zealand Geological Survey for 25 years.

Much of Paul’s New Zealand experience has been in the Nelson/Marlborough region (top of the South Island). Other work has been on the West Coast, Southland, the Wellington region, the Coromandel Peninsula, Hamilton and Whangarei areas and the Chatham Islands. Paul has worked throughout the Western United States, the Caribbean and New Zealand providing services ranging from geologic resource evaluations and environmental site contamination studies to landslide and faulting investigations. His special interest in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is reflected in completion of Massey University papers on GIS in 1994 and 1998 and, since 2002, overseeing implementation of a geodatabase to maintain geotechnical and site plan data for Geo-Logic Ltd projects.

Eco-Friendly Workplace Policy

Consistent with “Think Globally Act Locally” our company policy actively promotes waste minimization and energy efficiency in our daily operations. This includes issuing doublesiding reports and documents and using recycled paper (miminimum post-consumer waste content 35%). Internally all paper is doubleside processed and either recycled through the local scheme or, for confidential materials, shreded. A paperless office goal, while not a reality yet, is reflected in on-line internal reviews and issue of reporting electronically as pdf files is increasingly common. With the help of a an eco-friendly architect recent renovations to the office implemented underfloor solar heating, “super” insulation, energy efficient lighting and rainwater recycling. We anticipate supporting bio-fuel initiatives for the company vehicle in the near future. In the mean time company sponsored tea breaks are a regular for our cycle commuters.

Paul says:

Projects I have undertaken vary from building site identification, where hillside stability is an issue, to evaluation and design of mitigation measures and Geotechnical Maintenance Schedules (GMS) to protect “at risk” segments of state highways, municipal pipelines, Department of Conservation walkways/visitor facilities and other engineering works. I can offer specialized expertise in abseil inspection to difficult sites. I have extensive experience with engineering geologic reconnaissance mapping for geotechnically sensitive projects and I take pride in my ability to read and interpret the geology and ground conditions of my projects. In spite of a separation of some 10,000 km between California and New Zealand you would be amazed at the similarities in the geologic settings. I put a lot of energy into sharing my knowledge with clients and the local community, including giving talks and leading school field trips in my spare time. As a geotechnical advisor to the Nelson City Council I have broad knowledge of Council requirements. I have worked extensively with properties subject to, or possibly subject to, Sections 72 of the Building Act (Building on land subject to inundation, landsliding, subsidence etc.). The more difficult the site the greater the challenge – and I appreciate a challenge.

Email Paul directly here


BS (Earth Sciences); Certified Eng. Geol. (Calif.); Member New Zealand Geotechnical Society; TIPENZ)
Specialist Capabilities
• Geologic Hazards Evaluation: Slope Stability, Faulting and Earthquake Risk
• Engineering Geologic Reconnaissance Mapping
• Geologic Resource Assessment
• Building Site Identification in areas of elevated stability risk
• Geotechnical Maintenance Inspections
• Excavation Stability Risk Assessments
• Dam siting and foundation investigation
• Geographic Information Systems and Computer Analysis

Professional Experience

• Geotechnical Advisor (Building Consents), Nelson City Council, 2005 to present
• Engineering Geologist, Geo-Logic Ltd, 2001 to present
• Senior Engineering Geologist, MWH NZ Ltd, 1992-2001
• Regional Project Leader – Computer Mapping Division, Sprint Communications, California 1985-1990
• Engineering Geologist, Subsurface Consultants Inc, California 1984-1985
• Engineering Geologist, Wahler Associates, California 1979-1984
• Geologist, Associated Geotechnical Engineers, California 1978-1979

Education and Qualifications

• Bachelor of Science (Earth Sciences), University of California, Santa Cruz (1977)
• Registered Geologist, State of California (1984)
• Certified Engineering Geologist, State of California (1985)
• Member New Zealand Geotechnical Society
• Engineering Technologist of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (TIPENZ)
• NAUI Certified Scuba Diver

Project Experience Summary

• Fault hazard assessments/fault location investigations of the Flaxmore/Waimea and Alpine Faults in
Nelson, Richmond, St Arnaud and Renwick.

• Abseil and helicopter inspections of rockfalls and unstable slopes above DOC facilities and tracks,
highways and other infrastructure facilities; Nelson, Kaiteriteri, Abel Tasman and Nelson Lakes NP.

• Engineering Geologist for site specific investigations within and at the perimeter of the active Tahunanui
Slump, Nelson, including boundary redefinition assessment.

• Geotechnical Maintenance Schedule design, implementation and monitoring for remedial engineering
works, Haven Court Apartments, Wakefield Quay, Nelson.

• Project Leader, peer review of geotechnical investigations of the Pito-One Landslide, Kuaotunu, Thames,
Coromandel DC

• Project Manager for Whangamoa realignment (SH6) spoil piles stability study, Downers Construction

• Engineer’s Representative for Rocks Road (SH6) cliff stabilisation, Transit New Zealand, Nelson.

• Engineering Geologist for pre-feasibility investigation for sitings of five proposed hydro electricity
schemes, Tasman Energy.

• Te Awainanga Hydro Electric Scheme, Chatham Islands; Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust.

• Engineering Geologist for Madrigal Dam site, preliminary engineering geology study, Boyle Engineering, Dominican Republic

• Engineering geologist for Blackbird Cobolt Mine Tailings Facilities, Noranda Mining Inc, Idaho.

• Geologic investigation of the Pleasanton Fault, Pleasanton, California.

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