Message from the Organisers
Alessandro Palermo
           Chair OC
University of Canterbury
           Anthony Abu
            Chair SC
University of Canterbury
        Stephen Hicks
           Co-chair OC
      Chair NG New Zealand
                Barry Wright
                    Co-chair OC
New Zealand Transport Agency


The sequence of devastating earthquakes that Christchurch experienced in 2010 and 2011 included an aftershock that produced the highest peak ground accelerations on record. Hundreds of commercial buildings, schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure were demolished and thousands of homes were rebuilt. Yet, the city re-established essential functions quickly. Today, the city and its people are an example of a city bouncing back. Developing a resilience plan through a grassroots participatory planning process is a priority for the city’s recovery so that communities, buildings, and infrastructure and systems are better prepared to withstand catastrophic events. The New York Times, Digest and Lonely Planet have all hailed Christchurch for its creativity and innovation, and you will have a chance to experience this energy first hand while exploring a city where delegates will see world-leading design and construction of an innovative and sustainable built environment in action. A $2.2 billion horizontal infrastructure programme has included repairs and rebuilds of 120 bridges, waste, storm and freshwater networks, along with roads. As the international gateway to New Zealand’s famed South Island, Christchurch is on the doorstep of the majestic Southern Alps, world-class ski-fields, lakes, spectacular coastlines, vineyards and national parks including Aoraki Mount Cook.

We look forward to showcasing to the structural engineering and bridge building communities, many examples of excellence in the field of resilience in natural hazards, along with examples of the triumph of seamless implementation between research and industry. Having been tested by Architectural nature, Christchurch is perfectly pitched to host this international event, as it emerges from testing times.

We invite you to experience everything that this magical region has to offer.


New Congress Dates: February 3-5, 2021

Alessandro Palermo

Kia ora,

We hope everyone is safe and adapting to the new normal we find ourselves working and living in. We are writing to you with an update about IABSE Congress 2020 which we have postponed to 3 – 5 February 2021 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We understand that for many people, attending a conference might be the last thing on your mind and that is entirely understandable. Given the cancellations of other conferences, some may be hungry for the kinds of connection and discussion that happen in these spaces. As such, we are committed to running the IABSE 2020 Congress from the 3 – 5 February 2021 in some format. We are also committed to doing our best to make this accessible and fulfilling for a wide range of people. Therefore, the Congress will be either partly face-to-face and partly online, or fully online. Please bear with us as we work out the logistics of these options and change our plans in line with changing public health directives. Whatever happens in New Zealand with regards to public gatherings and our borders, there are likely to be participants who can only attend if we move at least partly online.

There are a number of challenges we need to now work through. For now, please do not register. Cost is something that needs to be revised reflecting changes in the congress format. Further announcements will be made shortly. We are proceeding with the paper review and believe that the worst case scenario in light of current events would still mean that we are able to publish the congress papers.

If there is anything you would like to share with us - concerns, feedback, ideas for how to make this a successful event - please do get in touch. We would genuinely love to hear from you.

Ngā mihi na

Alessandro Palermo,
Chair of the Organising Committee



About The Organisers


The New Zealand Group of IABSE is organising with the support of the University of Canterbury and 100% PURE NEW ZEALAND the IABSE Congress Christchurch 2020. The Organising Committee (OC) is chaired by Prof. Alessandro Palermo, Co-Chair Stephen Hicks from Canterbury University and Co-Chair Barry Wright, from New Zealand Transport Agency. The OC includes 9 dedicated members.




Conferences & Events Ltd
187 Willis Street,
Wellington 6011
New Zealand
Phone: +64-4 384 1511



Organising Committee

Alessandro Palermo, Chair
Stephen Hicks, Co-chair
Barry Wright, Co-chair
Raed el Sarraf
Larry Bellamy
Wu Chou
Robert Finch
David Carradine
Anthony Abu
Tim Sullivan
Peter Burnton
Katie Symond






Why New Zealand?
  • New Zealand is home to world renowned experts, driving innovation in key industries
  • New Zealanders are exceptional hosts
  • New Zealand is an affordable luxury
  • New Zealand is accessible


With scenery that takes your breath away, world-class venues and unique visitor experiences, New Zealand is the perfect location for business events beyond convention. Find out why successful organisations and associations choose New Zealand for their business events.



Travel Information

New Zealand is approximately a 10 hour direct flight from most places in the Pacific Rim, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, the west coast of the USA and it is only a 3 hour flight for neighbouring pacific islands and the eastern seaboard of Australia. Fly into Auckland and connect to Christchurch (1 hour, 15 mins flight time), or fly directly into Christchurch (your conference destination).

Christchurch Airport is New Zealand’s second largest airport providing a major hub and strategic connection to the world’s trade and tourism markets. It is the gateway to the South Island’s world renowned tourist attractions and spectacular scenery. The new integrated terminal offers a first class airport experience with large passenger lounges, extra seating, improved passenger flows and enhanced retail and cafe areas.


Download Visa Information here..


Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the world's most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity. This city is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity.







Engineering Core, University of Canterbury, 48 Creyke Road, Christchurch

The Engineering Core, opened in February 2017, is a modern, expansive, inviting space that provides a dynamic mix of social and flexible learning spaces. The University of Canterbury is New Zealand’s second oldest university It was founded in 1873 by scholars from Oxford and Cambridge Universities in 1873.




The Engineering Core is located outside of the city centre of Christchurch. You will have the option of several transport options to take you to and from the congress each day.



We are glad to offer some great rates at a range of different accommodation options in Christchurch. Bus transport will be provided between the congress hotels and the congress venue.




How to book 



  Luxe King/Twin Room $239

  Luxe 1 Bedroom Apartment $439

Book Here
Enter promo code: IABSE



  City Urban Double Room $119
  City Urban Queen Room $129

Book Here or phone 03 360 1064
Quote: IABSE Congress 2020

Crowne Plaza



  Superior King Room $195


Book Here
A special booking code will automatically be applied



  Standard King Room $129


Book Here
Quote: IBIS and BGPG



  Superior King Room $189


Book Here
Quote: Novotel and BGPG




  Guest Queen Room $160



Book Here
Quote: #2582686 IABSE Congress




  Classic King Room $199



Book Here
A special promo code will automatically be applied



General Programme

The Technical Programme will include Keynote, Plenary, Parallel sessions and Poster sessions over three days. The official language of the Congress is English. Poster Sessions are planned to allow for any contributions that cannot be accommodated within the main technical sessions. There will be no simultaneous translation.

Social Programme

Tuesday 2. February 2021

Ice Breaker
6pm – 8pm
Engineering Core, University of Canterbury

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Welcome Reception
6pm – 7.30pm
The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Thursday 4 February 2021
Congress Dinner
7pm - Late
The Cardboard Cathedral


Accompanying Persons Tours 

The following walking tours will be available during the congress (duration of each tour is 2 hours):

Wednesday 3 February, 2021

Traditional Christchurch
This walk illustrates the way in which Christchurch architecture reflects the change in the attitudes of those who lived and worked in the city over the first 150 years of its existence.


Thursday 4 February 2021

The New Architecture
This walk concentrates on structures built since the turn of the twenty first century. It also examines the methods architects have used to mitigate the effect of future seismic events. The concept of ‘green architecture’ is also explored.



Friday 5 February 2021

Open Spaces
Latimer Square; the post- quake development of Raora Park; Cathedral Square, with the Chalice and the Early Settlers Court; Victoria Square; Hagley Park including the Botanic Gardens.


Maximise Your Trip to New Zealand!

Here are some suggestions for Pre- and Post Congress Day Tours:

A Day of Whitewater Rafting
The Rangitata River is one of the spectacular braided rivers dotting the Canterbury Plains. Just 45 minutes from Christchurch, the Rangitata offers some of New Zealand’s best white water rafting. This trip offers a full day of majestic scenery and spine tingling adventure.

Wine & Food, The Waipara Valley 

The Waipara Valley is only 45 minutes north of Christchurch. Award winning wines, delicious produce and world class dining set amidst spectacular scenery make a visit to this area a must do for any wine enthusiast.

Swimming with Dolphins in Charming Akaroa

Akaroa Harbour is the only place on earth where you can get up close to the playful Hector’s dolphin, the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin species. Afterwards, enjoy the charm of the picturesque seaside settlement of Akaroa. Wander through boutique stores and galleries, and enjoy a cafe lunch at one of the award winning restaurants Further afield in the stunning South Island enjoy tours to the thermal pools and thrills and spills of Hanmer Springs, Southern Skies stargazing while touring Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo in the majestic Southern Alps. Visit Kaikoura, the vineyards of Marlborough and Queenstown.

Post Congress Tours

The opportunity to explore other regions of New Zealand will be offered and include: Wellington, Kaikoura, Marlborough/Nelson vineyards, Queenstown.

Tourism Links