This page contains Information on the Engineering New Zealand Natural Disaster Recovery Panel.

What is the Engineering New Zealand Natural Disaster Recovery Panel? 

In 2018, the Government developed two key initiatives to resolve the outstanding insurance claims related to the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence. These were the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) and the Canterbury Earthquake Insurance Tribunal.

To support the work of the GCCRS and the Tribunal, Engineering New Zealand established the Christchurch Earthquake Expert Engineering Panel, an independent expert panel which the GCCRS and the Tribunal called upon for technical and expert advice and facilitation services.

In February 2023 the Government replaced the GCCRS with the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS), extending support to all homeowners for all natural disasters. As part of that, Engineering New Zealand has established the Engineering New Zealand Natural Disaster Recovery Panel, an expansion of the existing Panel to provide support to the NZCRS for all natural disasters anywhere in New Zealand.

What happened to the original panel? 

The original Panel of committed engineers helped resolve over 400 GCCRS claims. The majority of members have transitioned to the Engineering New Zealand Natural Disaster Recovery Panel where they continue to support the NZCRS by providing technical advice for residential claims resulting from earthquake damage but also for all natural disaster events.

Information on our Natural Disaster Recovery Panel

The Panel is administered by Engineering New Zealand and is independent of the Courts, insurers and homeowners.

The NZCRS or the Tribunal can make a request to Engineering New Zealand for the Panel’s services. Engineering New Zealand will directly and independently engage a Panel Member to carry out that service. NZCRS Case Managers will discuss with the homeowner the costs involved with engaging a Panel Member.

Services provided by the Panel

Initial appraisals

The NZCRS can ask a Panel Member to carry out an initial appraisal. This could be under a joint instruction from the homeowner and the insurer.

Its purpose is to determine steps that could be taken to resolve the claim.

It typically involves a conversation with the homeowner about their observations of disaster damage or inadequate repairs, a visual assessment of the home, and a brief report about issues that could require another process under the NZCRS.

Peer review

The NZCRS or the Tribunal can ask a Panel Member to carry out a peer review of an engineering assessment of damage and reinstatement recommendations for a home.

The peer review can include advice about whether sufficient investigations have been carried out, the evidence supports the findings, the report meets the brief, the correct standards have been applied, and the conclusions in the report are robust.

Reinstatement recommendation

The NZCRS can ask a Panel Member to carry out an engineering assessment, advise on damage, and recommend an appropriate reinstatement methodology.

Expert advice

A Panel Member can be asked by the NZCRS or the Tribunal to provide independent expert engineering advice during a determination of an insurance claim. This would involve acting in accordance with the High Court Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses.

Technical Expert

A Panel Member can be asked by the Tribunal to attend a hearing and to provide expert evidence or assist the Tribunal with technical evidence that is being heard.


A Panel Member can be asked by the NZCRS or the Tribunal to facilitate a meeting between experts, to discuss points of difference and provide recommendations for next steps.

Commission a report

A Panel Member can be asked by the Tribunal to provide an engineering report, to assist in claims, where no expert evidence has been submitted in respect of a claim before it.

Engineers on the Panel

The Panel was appointed by the Engineering New Zealand Board on the recommendation of a cross-stakeholder evaluation team.

The evaluation team included senior engineers, a homeowner representative, a barrister who works exclusively for homeowners, and a lawyer who works for both insurers and homeowners.

Engineers were recommended to the Panel based on a number of factors, including their technical expertise, experience and cross-stakeholder acceptability.

Current Panel Members

The engineering New Zealand Natural Disaster Recovery Panel provides technical and expert advice to help resolve insurance claims on referral from the New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS) and the Christchurch Earthquake Insurance Tribunal.

View their bios

The following list includes the region the Panel Members are based in and their CPEng practice field. Please note that Panel Members are not restricted to working the region they are based in.

Auckland/ North of Auckland Region

  • Allen Giang – Structural
  • Rachel Wright – Structural
  • Paul Campbell – Structural
  • Philip Cook – Structural and Geotechnical
  • Lee Buhagiar – Geotechnical
  • Geoffrey Farquhar – Geotechnical

Waikato/ Bay of Plenty/ East Coast Region

  • Steven Knowles – Structural
  • Conrad Jenkins – Geotechnical

Hawkes Bay

  • Frederick (Rick) Wentz – Geotechnical
  • Hayden Nikolaison – Geotechnical

Taranaki/ Manawatu-Whanganui/ Wellington

  • Dave McGuigan – Structural
  • Martin Larisch – Geotechnical

Nelson/ Marlborough/ West Coast Region

  • Andrew Palmer – Structural
  • Christopher Sandoval – Geotechnical
  • Greg Melvin – Geotechnical

Canterbury Region

  • Chris Burrell-Smith – Structural
  • Geoff Bunn – Structural
  • Gregory Clark – Structural
  • Jitendra Bothara – Structural
  • Julius Long – Structural
  • Murray Frost – Structural
  • Phillip Paterson – Structural
  • Simon Finn – Structural
  • Elliot Duke – Geotechnical
  • Jan Kupec – Geotechnical
  • Nick Traylen – Geotechnical
  • Robert Kamuhangire – Geotechnical

Otago/ Southland/ Stewart Island Region

  • Timothy Plunket – Geotechnical


  • Dave McGuigan
  • Geoffrey Farquhar
  • Gregory Clark
  • Murray Frost
  • Nick Traylen
  • Paul Campbell
  • Steven Knowles