pic whanagaui

10 August 2018 Kate Palmer

WSP Opus has been helping shape Whanganui and the wider region for 148 years and, with an increased headcount and new capability, will continue to create what matters for future generations for many more years.

Our rich history dates back to colonial New Zealand, when the Public Works Department was opening up the country’s notoriously difficult terrain through the combination of national road and rail networks. Over the years we’ve worked under several monikers; in 1988 the Ministry of Works and Development became a state-owned enterprise, and we transitioned from Works Consultancy to Opus. Now we’re known as WSP Opus, which combines our unrivalled New Zealand heritage with the power of global thinking. 

WSP Opus has a team of 25 professionals based in Whanganui. Our team has a strong connection to the history of our company and is also excited about creating what matters for future generations.

We are very proud of the diversity of services we can provide to our clients. Locally we have well respected Geotechnical Engineers, Planners, Civil Engineers and Designers. We have an ecologist in our team and staff that understand building asset management.

Our IANZ accredited materials testing laboratory is involved at the start of many projects as they go out and test to ensure that the ground is suitable for a proposed activity, including soil sampling to support our Contaminated Land team.

Relationships both with our clients and with the wider WSP Opus team are enhanced by the stable nature of our team, we have many staff that have been in the region for a number of years and their local knowledge is outstanding. Our more recent recruits bring new skills that complement our team.

We have played a key role in keeping our region connected by ensuring our state highways and local roads and bridges are safe and efficient. Notably we designed the Hihitahi realignment on SH 1 and many of the improvements on SH4 through the Parapara section. Closer into town we designed the riverbank repairs at Shakespeare Cliff and we are now involved with the current repairs downstream by the City Bridge.

Recently we have worked on projects ranging from the Alexander Library, to the monuments at Pākaitore and Pukenamu Queen’s Park. We are working for local authorities, developers, government departments and contractors, using a broad range of professionals both here in Whanganui and throughout WSP Opus to create what matters for future generations.


jennyJenny Harrison, Business Manager

“Whanganui is home for my family. I have been with the company for 23 years in Whanganui and due to the variety of clients and work that comes through the door, every day is different. It’s fantastic to be able to live in this great town and at the same time have the wider WSP Opus network to call on. Whanganui has a buzz about it and I am excited to be part of building our future.”

anthonyAnthony Rooke, Principal Engineer Bridge and Civil Structures Asset Management

“Having spent several years working overseas, we recently made the decision to return to New Zealand and are extremely happy to have settled in Whanganui. As a Civil Structures Asset Engineer, I am very proud to play a part in managing, maintaining and improving highway infrastructure critical to the continued economic success and development of our region and community.”

StevenSteven Brennan, Senior Engineering Technician

“I am a born, bred and proud Whanganui local and love the pace of life that it brings. I have spent most of my life here and have been involved in many projects locally and further afield. It’s great that I can enjoy all the benefits of living in Whanganui while working for a global company with all the opportunities that brings. I look forward to utilising my experience and knowledge in civil design across the region in the future. ”

melanyaMelanya Yukhnevich, Planner/ Ecologist

“I work across two different fields – ecology and planning. My work as an ecologist allows me to contribute to projects that improve our existing environment, while my work as a planner helps me to protect our environment for future generations. Having the wider WSP Opus group to call on for expertise and specialist support means I have ready access to valuable information to deliver great results for our local clients. Whanganui is a fantastic place to work and WSP Opus genuinely cares about its staff, clients and the communities in which we work.”

Picture above - WSP Opus staff inspecting Tangarakau Bridge on the Forgotten Highway. It’s also the site of Morgan’s Grave, named after the surveyor Joshua Morgan, who died on site in 1893 from appendicitis. Over the years WSP Opus staff have made a point of stopping to have “smoko with Joshua” in tribute to the glocal pioneer.