Institute of Cadastral Surveying (Inc.) Email:
P.O Box 12226 Web:
Beckenham Forum:
Christchurch 8242  
Phone: 03 686 9400 Issue 35 – November 2020
This monthly publication is a communication channel from the ICS Committee to the wider ICS Membership, and alerts you to:
•    matters of cadastral importance;
•    the status of ICS projects;
•    cadastral news and events;
•    ICS administrative matters;

Feedback and contributions are welcome, and should be directed to: or
From the desk of ICS President Pat Sole
There has always been a tension between LINZ’s survey mark and beacon maintenance responsibility and the budget available.  Similarly, there is an increasing conflict between what are important sites for Maori, and trig beacons which are seen as survey symbols of a recent colonisation past.

With the advent of GNSS systems, the relative ease and economy of establishing new control means that reliance of the survey community on a well beaconed “hilltop” trig system has diminished.  Note that I say “diminished” deliberately because many of these marks are still observed for a variety of reasons (including cadastral) by surveyors and others, they often provide direct relationship to the cadastre and the beacons themselves provide protection for important, often remote groundmarks.

However, trig beacons have a much greater place in the psyche of Kiwi’s.  They are often historic in their own right, a navigation point or destination, and are iconic to local communities.  They often adorn our most popular tourist spots and as surveyors, they are also our best advertisement.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that to not undertake regular maintenance of trig beacons, will inevitably lead to their demolition or demise.

It is of concern that an important beacon atop the 154m Paritutu overlooking New Plymouth (Geodetic Code A7DX), has just been removed.  This has been done without (again) any consultation with the local Taranaki survey community or its users.  Its removal has also involved considerable expense including helicopter time.

It is little wonder that as regional New Zealanders, such poor decisions about beacon maintenance priorities made in Wellington are viewed with disgust.  Communication is key to this and LINZ has done a very poor job.

Perhaps with the recent rise in unemployment, a case can be made to fund the necessary maintenance of many important beacons under a new Government initiative, particular given their importance for non-survey purposes?

Responses or ripostes should be directed to:
Your ICS Executive Committee continue to engage with other groups and work on various advocacy projects on your behalf.   Components of these ‘projects’ often require feedback, comment and contributions from Members.
The ICS projects are progressing, and our recent activities are summarised below, with their status in italics:
  • Good Survey Practice – final update of “high-level” summary document – version 3.0 being vetted by Committee
  • Good Survey Practice - "detail document" project continues; responses from submissions received are being compiled into a first rough draft – 30% complete. 
  • Survey Fees – ICS President participating in Review (meetings on hold)
  • Cadastral Survey Rules – Decision Report released by SG (see later commentary below)  
  • STEP (formerly ASaTS) – watching brief continues (see slight update below)
  • LINZ Relationship – Next meeting to be scheduled – early 2021?
  • S+SNZ – Memorandum of Understanding being drafted
  • ICS Member Skills Matrix – more responses still requested
  • Example Survey Plans – compilation of examples underway – watch this space!
  • QA Checklist Template – a new project with CSNZ and S+SNZ – slow going progress
Your feedback on these matters is welcomed.  If you have any other cadastral survey issues that you want support with – or want the ICS to escalate – then please contact a Committee Member or the Secretary -
CSNZ have identified a growing issue with Licensed Cadastral Surveyors presenting poor cadastral definitions and datasets.   

Neale Faulkner (CSNZ Chair) is leading a group of stakeholders with a goal to produce an industry standard template that could be adopted by firms and surveyors as part of their dataset QA process.  Stephen Koning is the ICS Representative on the Project, and he will report on progress to Members via the ICS Express as necessary

At the recent ICS-LINZ Relationship meeting, Mike Morris the Principal Cadastral Surveyor (Survey Operations, Property Rights) gave a presentation about Cadastral Dataset Compliance.

Mike provided a great overview of the CSD processing process, including:
  • the allocation of work, training and competence of the Property Rights Analysts (PRA’s)
  • an explanation of the routine and complex work streams and the risk-based validation process
  • an overview of the compliance trends
    • requisition rate dropped to 39% (from 47% in 2016-17)
  • requisition statistics and analysis
    • common items
    • getting LINZ to help us to improve compliance
    • what do the codes mean?
  • suggestions and resources to minimise non-compliance
[A link to the full presentation can be found here.]  

Of course, all Licensed Cadastral Surveyors submitting datasets will (should!) have some level of internal checking or quality assurance review process.  And of course, all LCS’s aspire to obtain a zero-requisition rate target. 
But we also know that perfection can be a tough goal to obtain when it comes to the integration of cadastral survey data into a reasonably rigid Landonline machine – especially so when the subject survey area includes things like old underlying surveys of variable quality; variable integrity of more recent datasets; irregular boundaries; and ground movement etc. 

The reasonable goal is a balance between a sufficiently thorough check to ensure there are no definition deficiencies or gross errors, and that the basic dataset metrics (adoption source; mark type; observation class etc) are captured as accurately as possible – and that checking and review should not be affected by commercial pressures.  


The ICS has been monitoring the survey dataset processing times.  Anecdotally, we have been receiving reports from members that processing is taking longer than the reported range, with CSD’s sitting in the queue awaiting examination for the first 10-15 days after lodgement.

We have been in communications with LINZ Survey Operations (Property Rights) to record our concerns over the blowing out of dataset processing times.  LINZ have advised that they are trying to address the issue that has resulted from a large pre-Covid backlog; a Covid lockdown bulge of lodgements; and the continuation of a post-lockdown surge in submissions.

Surveyors who legitimately require their submitted dataset to be processed without extended delays are reminded of the “urgency request” process that is available on submission: -
  • If an extension beyond the current processing time will cause issues for your Client or project, please email or create an e-Survey request ‘Survey_Request for Urgency’.
  • It is important to set out the reasons for your request including any critical dates.  Urgency applications will be assessed on a case by case basis by a Survey Team Manager.
  • Survey users should submit an electronic request via Landonline or phone the 0800 ONLINE (0800 665 463) number for urgency requests.

LINZ have introduced a split reporting metric this month where “routine” datasets processing time is reported separately from “complex” datasets.  Refer to the following link to see the LINZ Schedule of “Dataset Complexity by Survey Purpose” split of Routine and Complex dataset types.

The summary graph below reports the shortest and longest processing working days:

The Surveyor-General has released the Decision Report in late October – []

In addition to the changes listed in the report there are also a number of smaller cosmetic changes to the final Rules.

The report covers off a number of issues raised by the ICS.   Of interest is that LINZ have added a mandatory requirement to include relevant field information in the CSD.  LINZ have also taken on board our feedback and removed the requirement to right-line water boundaries where there has been avulsion or artificial diversion.

LINZ are currently finalising the drafting of the Rules and intend to publish them in early 2021 as previously signalled.  The Rules are planned to come into effect in June 2021 to coincide with implementation of the necessary Landonline changes.  Unlike previous implementations, these changes include enabling a transition period when Landonline will be able to receive Cadastral Survey Datasets under both the 2010 and 2021 Rules. 

LINZ will provide an update on these timeframes in early 2021.

The November 2020 LINZ “Landwrap” publication reported on the progress on rebuilding Landonline survey functionality.  This is a component of the “STEP” (Survey and Title Enhancement Programme) that will progressively rebuild Landonline.
LINZ now has a high-level plan to deliver a range of improvements.  In the next 6-12 months LINZ will have the first survey release of the new system placed in the hands of a small pilot group.  A small group of practising surveyors will test the system to make sure it has value before it is released more widely.  The first release will build a base from which other functionality can be built and will allow people to:
  • Create a survey
  • Upload a survey using a LandXML file
  • Complete survey capture
  • Run validation
From this point surveyors working in the new system will switch to current Landonline to complete plan generation, schedule/memorandum references, and submit their survey.

As LINZ build the new system, they are keen to work with more surveyors, as initial testing of design ideas with a few surveyors and their feedback has been invaluable.  If you’d like to be involved in the design of the new system, LINZ would like to hear from you.  Please email Nick Stillwell, the surveyor representative in the Rebuilding Landonline programme –

Stuff – Environment:  29-Oct-2020
The Crown is facing a legal battle after asbestos was discovered on the property of former Prime Minister John Key's old Christchurch primary school.
The land was sold in 2014 and earmarked for residential development before the discovery of asbestos containing material brought plans for the new subdivision to a screeching halt.
Earthworks began about May 2015, with the land being stripped and soil stockpiled.  A large amount of fill was brought on to the site and significant earthworks were undertaken before asbestos was found in November 2015. The asbestos-containing material had been spread across a large area by that point.
The source of the asbestos is still to be determined, but possible culprits include the glasshouses that were on the property decades ago, the school buildings, contaminated fill imported onto the land as part of the earthworks, or the transfer of contaminated fill from a contiguous property that was being developed around the same time.

Stuff – The Press:  28-Oct-2020
Land in Akaroa’s inner harbour looks set to be used for a $63 million irrigation scheme to discharge treated wastewater.
A hearings panel has recommended Christchurch City Council go ahead with a plan to plant 40 hectares of native trees in Robinsons Bay and Takamatua and use treated wastewater stored in two new large storage ponds to irrigate them.
The council will consider the recommendation and make a final decision in December.
Akaroa’s wastewater is currently sent into the harbour via a 100 metre pipe, but the practice is considered “culturally repugnant” by Ngāi Tahu and about five years ago Environment Canterbury refused to grant the council another long-term consent.

Retaining and growing the membership of professional organisations can be a constant challenge.  Particularly in these current “Covid” times, where personal and employment changes can influence the decisions of an individual when it comes to renewing their commitment to voluntary societies.

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) recently published a “membership renewal strategy” that was based on a membership marketing benchmark report that explored membership retention issues and ways to address each issue.  Interesting reading – and the reasons for members ‘moving on’ were shared reasonably evenly between:
  • Budget cuts/economic hardship of the member or their company
  • Leaving the industry
  • Forgetting to renew
  • Lack of value – perceived or otherwise
  • Lack of engagement with the organisation
Although some of the “how to fix it” suggestions may not apply directly to the ICS, we noted a common component of the many solutions boils down to communication

We earnestly hope that our efforts to maintain a good level of communication with our members by various methods (eg: the monthly Express; annual workshops; and direct email notifications when necessary) form the basis of an acceptable level of communication, and therefore a level that offers acceptable value-for-money equation.

If you have any suggestions for improvement or new ideas, we will always be receptive to them!   As a voluntary organisation, we rely on the energy of our membership to maintain relevancy and purpose.

Our planning for the 2021 AGM and Technical Workshop has now started.

If you have some ideas for topics or speakers – then please pass these onto the Secretary (
In a continuation of our current theme, we highlight and reproduce brief biographical details of New Zealand Surveyors who have served the cadastral profession with esteem and whom deserve to be remembered occasionally for their overall contribution to the profession.
This month’s “old Surveyor” is one ARTHUR DUDLEY DOBSON (1841-1934) 

Portrait of portrait of Arthur Dudley Dobson aged 90 years (
Arthur Dobson was born in London in 1841 and was the son of a surveyor and railway engineer (Edward Dobson 1816-1908), with an uncle who was also a surveyor (Alfred Dobson 1824-1887).

His older brother George was also a surveyor – who had the misfortune to be murdered in a case of mistaken identity in 1866, by outlaws who thought he was gold buyer EB Fox with a load of bullion. - but that is another story.

Arthur was apprenticed with his father, who was the Canterbury Provincial Engineer, and assisted in the early settlement projects of the Canterbury province including determining the depth of the mud in Lyttelton harbour and surveying the Rangiora main road and drain which resulted in reclaiming 81km² of swamp land.

Arthur’s early career also involved undertaking geological survey work with Julius von Haast, including a survey of Banks Peninsula and the line of the Lyttelton Railway Tunnel and the Southern Alps and glaciers.

Other major survey works included a significant topographical survey of the Mackenzie Country and surveys on the West Coast from the Grey River to Abut Head (west of Whataroa).  He also discovered Arthur’s Pass (named after him) in 1864 in conjunction with his brother (Edward Henry) and after being told by the West Coast Chief Tarapuhi of a route that Maori hunting parties used.

He became Assistant Provincial Engineer for the Nelson Province in 1866, where he married and started a family, and during which time he explored the Motueka and Karamea districts.  He became the District Engineer for the West Coast goldfields in 1869.  In 1871 he became the Chief Surveyor of the Nelson Province, and put in charge of railway construction in Westport, and mapping the Westport Coalfields.

He worked in Victoria (Australia) from 1885 due to the depression changing his circumstances and returned to New Zealand in 1889 to take over his father’s business.

He concluded his career in Christchurch as the City Engineer from 1901 to 1921 and was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1931.

Picture:  Dobson Memorial – Arthur’s Pass - Image by Thomas Taylor & Laura Ramsey Travelblog

  • Wikipedia
  • The Pioneer Land Surveyors of NZ – Part IV Biographical Notes (2005 – NZIS – Compiled by Derek Brown)
  • Autobiography - “The Reminiscences of Arthur Dudley Dobson”, Whitcombe and Tombs, 1930.
If you want to suggest a particular Surveyor that deserves remembering through this forum then please send your suggestion (and any details you may have) to .
17 November 2020 South Island Damage Prevention Workshop (beforeUdig) - Timaru
17-18 February 2021 National Freshwater Conference – Te Wharewaka O Poneke, Wellington
22-23 February 2021 Urban Futures – AUT Events Centre, Auckland
June 2021 Rules for Cadastral Survey 2020 Enacted (target date)
1-3 August 2021 12d Technical Forum – Brisbane, Australia
August 2021 ICS AGM and Technical Workshop – Location to be confirmed
“An erudite fool is a greater fool than and ignorant fool” – Moliere (French Playwright, Actor and Poet 1622-1673)
Thanks to LPMS for their ongoing support of the ICS Express. To get your advertisement in the Express, contact the Secretary.
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