John H. Wood

Citation on the award of Life Membership, March 31, 2007

John is a long standing member of the Society who, over the years, has made several important contributions to the running of the Society and also to the international standing of NZ skill in Earthquake Engineering. The Management Committee is very pleased to award John a Life Membership of the Society in recognition of these contributions and achievements.

John graduated with a BE with honours from the University of Canterbury in 1962 and followed this in 1964 with an ME with distinction. He followed this by working with the Ministry of Works on Roading and Motorway Bridge Design and construction. In 1970 he started a PhD at California Institute of Technology. This was concerned with earth pressures on stiff retaining structures. It is notable that even today his CalTech thesis is a standard reference in the literature on this topic, so new papers almost invariably include this as a reference. (Quite a distinction in this day when published material is expected to have a very short half life.)

John returned to the MWD and worked on bridges etc and in 1975 became the Head of the Structures section at MWD Central labs and between 1979 and 1986 he was in charge of the labs. Subsequently he moved into private practice.

He has been a member of the Society since 1971 and was appointed a Fellow in 1987. He was a member of the management committee from 1992 to 1994, being President in 1993 – 1994. He contributed to the study groups on the Seismic Design of Bridges and the Seismic Design of Storage Tanks.

He was a joint recipient of the Otto Glogau Award in 1984 (Bridge Study Group) and 1997 (with G R Martin).

The above are the highlights of John’s 40 and more years of civil engineering activity. Alongside these activities has been a steady stream of work covering structural engineering, foundation engineering, and monitoring of structural vibration and condition. One project, funded by the long gone Structures Committee of the Road Research Unit of the National Roads Board was to do in situ testing to measure the lateral stiffness of full scale bridge foundations embedded in riverbed gravel deposits, so common in NZ. This was, as said above funded by the RRU, supervised by John, at that time a principal of Mills and Wood, and employed the technical resources of MWD Central Labs, all with the cooperation and permission of the National Roads Board (the owner of the bridges). Clearly no small task to bring all that together. Even so very high quality data, quite unique in the NZ scene, was obtained at three bridge sites.