Associate Professor Rolando P Orense



Rolando P. Orense has extensive professional experience, both as an educator/researcher and as practicing engineer/consultant in the field of geotechnical engineering, particularly geotechnical earthquake engineering and ground disaster mitigation engineering.

He received his BSCE (cum laude) and MSCE degrees from the University of the Philippines and Doctor of Engineering degree from the University of Tokyo (Japan). Before joining the University of Auckland, he also served as instructor at the University of the Philippines and as associate professor at the University of Tokyo and Yamaguchi University (Japan). Moreover, while working with top-notched geotechnical consulting firms in Tokyo and Manila, he had worked on a variety of soil engineering projects in Japan, Singapore and the Philippines.

He is a registered professional engineer in the Philippines and in Oregon (United States). He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Chartered Member of the Engineering New Zealand (EngNZ).


1992 Dr. Eng Geotechnical Engineering, University of Tokyo (Japan)
1989 MS Civil Engineering, University of the Philippines
1985 BS Civil Engineering (cum laude), University of the Philippines

Research | Current

  • Geotechnical earthquake engineering / soil dynamics
  • Soil liquefaction and ground remediation techniques
  • Slope movements and landslide risk mitigation
  • Site and soil characterisation

Research groups

  • University of Auckland Geomechanics Research Group
  • University of Auckland Centre for Earthquake Engineering Research
  • TC-105 (Geomechanics from Micro to Macro) of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE)
  • ATC-3 (Geotechnology for Natural Hazards) of the Asian Regional Committee, ISSMGE

Teaching | Current

  • CIVIL 722 - Slope Engineering
  • CIVIL 725 - Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering
  • CIVIL 741 - Ground Improvement
  • CIVIL 756 - Capstone Project

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students:

  • Omer Altaf: Liquefaction-induced ground damage assessment through regional mapping and site-specific studies
  • Yu Wang: Numerical study on the seismic behavior of inclined piles in liquefiable soils
  • Baqer Asadi: Geotechnical characterisation of pumiceous soils for liquefaction assessment
  • Sam Bahmani: DEM simulation of crushable pumice sands
  • David Edkins: Development of seismic testing protocols for non-structural components
  • Sajjad Anwar: Densification and reinforcement ground improvement methods for liquefaction mitigation

Completed PhD Students:

  • Xiaoyu Chen (2020): Measurement of ground deformations during geohazards using magnetic trackers (currently with Mote)
  • Gislaine Pardo Tobar (2019): Mitigation of soil liquefaction with two sustainable materials: Biochar and Laponite (currently with Beca)
  • Milad Naghibi (2018): Electro-osmosis consolidation of soils (currently with Damwatch)
  • Sadeq Asadi (2018): Cyclic properties of natural soil containing pumice (currently with Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran)
  • Yasin Mirjafari (2016): Soil characterization using Screw Driving Sounding (currently with Tonkin + Taylor)
  • Samuel Harris (2013): The development of a site specific early warning system for rainfall induced landslides (currently with AECOM)
  • Farooq Khalid (2002): Experimental study on failure initiation in sandy slopes due to rainfall infiltration (currently with University of Engineering & Technology, Pakistan)

Completed ME students:

  • Avantio Pramaditya (2019): Soil improvement of areas prone to earthquake-induced liquefaction
  • Zhengfa Huang (2019): Inverse analysis of dynamic soil properties based on ground motion records
  • Julia Sit (2018): A review of methodology for seismic induced displacement of tieback quay wall
  • Jeremy Tan (2016): Liquefaction susceptibility of Christchurch soils using critical state soil mechanics
  • Yuan Hong (2015): Numerical investigation of liquefaction-induced building settlement
  • Yi Lu (2014): Liquefaction susceptibility of iron ores
  • Zhiyuan Zhang (2014): Ground treatment depth for residential areas in Christchurch
  • Syamal Ram (2013): Performance of sewer pipes with liner during earthquakes
  • Elby Tang (2013): Effectiveness of stone columns as a countermeasure for liquefaction-induced lateral spreading
  • Michelle Willis (2012): The use of vertical timber piles as a liquefaction countermeasure
  • Junya Ohashi (2009): Cyclic shear characteristics of partially saturated Masado soil
  • Hiroaki Kanda (2008): Fundamental study on development of on-line testing system for in-situ seismic response
  • Mitsutomi Ito (2008): A study of the 2006 Southern Leyte Landslide in the Philippines
  • Noboyuki Tsuda (2008): Research on the strength and deformation properties of Diliman tuff under different degrees of saturation
  • Takahide Arii (2008): Hydraulic properties of unsaturated ground undergoing two-phase flow
  • Sho Takahashi (2007): Cyclic shear strength of partially saturated decomposed granite soil “Masado” and deformation of embankment during earthquake
  • Suguru Shimoma (2003): Model tests on prediction of sandy slope failure due to rainfall
  • Andrew Zapanta (2001): Geotechnical properties of volcanic soils taken from recent eruptions


  • Global Achievement Award in Engineering Education, UP Alumni Engineers (2018)
  • Technical Development Award, Japanese Geotechnical Society (2015)
  • Best Poster Paper Award, 11th ANZ Conference on Geomechanics (2012)
  • Special Award, University of Auckland (2011)
  • Best Teacher Award, Yamaguchi University (2007)
  • Business Plan Award, Japanese Geotechnical Society (2005)
  • Engineering Award, Kisojiban Consultants Co. Ltd. (1997)
  • Best Research Paper Award, Japanese Geotechnical Society (1997)



  • Deputy Head of Department (Academic) (2020-present)
  • Deputy Leader, QuakeCoRE FP-2 (2015-present)
  • Associate Dean Postgraduate (2014-2017)
  • Leader, Geomechanics Programme (2012-2020)
  • Manager, Geomechanics Laboratory (2012-2020)

Areas of expertise

  • Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering
  • Soil Mechanics
  • Foundation Engineering

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Professional affiliations

  • International Association for Engineering Geology (since 2009)
  • New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (since 2008)
  • New Zealand Geotechnical Society (since 2008)
    • Member of Management Committee (2017 - )
  • Japan Society of Civil Engineers (since 2000)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (since 2000)
  • International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (since 1996)
  • Japanese Geotechnical Society (since 1990)

Editorial Board Membership

  • Soil Dynamics & Earthquake Engineering
  • Geotechnical Research (ICE)
  • Soils and Foundations (2014-2017)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Chen, X., & Orense, R. P. (2020). Investigating the mechanisms of downslope motions of granular particles in small-scale experiments using magnetic tracking system. ENGINEERING GEOLOGY, 26510.1016/j.enggeo.2019.105448
  • Kluger, M. O., Kreiter, S., Moon, V. G., Orense, R. P., Mills, P. R., & Mörz T (2019). Undrained cyclic shear behaviour of weathered tephra. Géotechnique, 69 (6), 489-500. 10.1680/jgeot.17.P.083
  • Pardo, G. S., Sarmah, A. K., & Orense, R. O. (2019). Mechanism of improvement of biochar on shear strength and liquefaction resistance of sand. Géotechnique, 69 (6), 471-480. 10.1680/jgeot.17.p.040
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ajit Sarmah
  • Asadi, M. S., Orense, R. P., Asadi, M. B., & Pender, M. J. (2019). Maximum dry density test to quantify pumice content in natural soils. Soils and Foundations, 59 (2), 532-543. 10.1016/j.sandf.2019.01.002
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Pender, Baqer Asadi
  • Asadi, M. S., Orense, R. P., Asadi, M. B., & Pender, M. J. (2019). Post-liquefaction behavior of natural pumiceous sands. SOIL DYNAMICS AND EARTHQUAKE ENGINEERING, 118, 65-74. 10.1016/j.soildyn.2018.12.009
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Pender, Baqer Asadi
  • Orense, R. P., Mirjafari, Y., & Suemasa, N. (2019). Screw driving sounding: a new test for field characterisation. Geotechnical Research, 6 (1), 28-38. 10.1680/jgere.18.00024
  • Bhattacharya, S., Orense, R. P., & Lombardi, D. (2019). Seismic design of foundations: Concepts and applications. London, U.K.: ICE Publishing. Pages: 468.
  • Asadi, M. S., Asadi, M. B., Orense, R. P., & Pender, M. J. (2018). Undrained Cyclic Behavior of Reconstituted Natural Pumiceous Sands. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 144 (8), 04018045-04018045. 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001912
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Pender, Baqer Asadi


Contact details

Alternative contact

Tel: 09-373-7599 Ext. 88437

DDI: 09-923-8437

Primary office location

Level 11, Room 1103
New Zealand

Web links