Ronald Hicks Memorial Award sponsored by Mott MacDonald

The Ronald Hicks Memorial Trust Fund was established in 1984 to recognise and commemorate the contribution that Ron Hicks made to water and wastewater management in New Zealand from the mid-1950s until his death in 1983. Ron joined the Auckland Metropolitan Drainage Board from the UK as Chief Chemist at the time when the Manukau Sewerage Purification Works was under development. He became widely respected as an international authority on domestic and industrial wastewater treatment practices, and it was through his efforts from 1957 to 1959 that the NZ Sewage and Industrial Wastes Association, the forerunner of Water New Zealand, was formed. Ron Hicks legacy is remembered annually through the Ronald Hicks Memorial Award made to the author(s) of an article or paper considered significant in solving or clarifying sewage treatment or water pollution problems in New Zealand.

The Trust Fund is administered by three trustees who together comprise the judging panel for the award. The current trustees are:

  • Mark Milke, Christchurch (Chairman)
  • Nick Dempsey, Auckland
  • Paul Barter, Nelson


Nominations for articles or papers considered significant in solving or clarifying sewage treatment or water pollution problems in New Zealand can be submitted to the Chair for consideration by the trustees. These should include:

  • a copy of the article or paper,
  • the name(s) and address(es) of the author(s) and,
  • a brief justification of the significance of the contents.

Where the nomination is by a third party, their name and address should also be provided.

Any queries regarding this Award should be made to the Chairman in the first instance.

Nominations for consideration should be addressed to the Chairman of the Memorial Trust:

Prof Mark Milke
Department of Civil & Natural Resources Engineering
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Phone: 03 364 2248

Nominations are open to the Water industry, membership of Water New Zealand is not required. 


This award will be made to the author(s) of an article or paper considered significant in solving or clarifying sewage treatment or water pollution problems in New Zealand. Awards may take the form of cash, books, equipment, etc, as seen appropriate to the Trustees in each case.

Special thanks

Water New Zealand acknowledges the services of the Trustees, namely Chairman Dr Mark Milke, from the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury; Paul Barter from the Cawthron Institute and Nick Dempsey from Mott MacDonald. The Trustees comprise the judging panel.

Water New Zealand and the trustees would like to acknowledge Mott MacDonald for its generous sponsorship of the award. 

2019 Recipient - Martin Neale and Andrew Schollum of Puhoi Stou, Kris Fordham of CIVIX LTD. and Nick Brown of Auckland Council

for the paper presented at the 2018 Stormwater Conference entitled; Safeswim: A sea change in assessing beach water quality risk 

The paper provides an overview of the SAFESWIM programe which greatly improves communication to the public of the risks of swimming at Auckland’s beaches, with consequential improvements in health.SAFESWIM incorporates diverse information souces within risk prediction methods, and uses advances in programming and communication technology to provide real-time information on risk.This world-leading platform has had a great impact already on the public’s view towards the risk of beach use, and has applied a spotlilght to the need for infrastructure investment to reduce pollution. This large innovative project was developed quickly with a wide team.In addition to the 4 awardees, important contributions were made by Surf Livesaving Northern Region, Auckland Regional Public Health Service, University of Auckland, NIWA, Morphum Environmental, DHI, Mott MacDonald, and Translate Digital, with particular acknowledgement due to Craig McIlroy at Auckland Council.

The 4 award recipients have agreed to donate their $1000 prize to Surf Livesaving Northern Region.

Ronald Hicks Recipients

2018 Nick Marquez, Beca (Sydney) Challenges in developing a treatment solution for Poly-fluorinated Alkyl Substances—an emerging contaminant
2017 Hugh Ratsey, The Wastewater Specialists Upgrading Waste Stabilisation Pnds: Reviewing the Options
2015 Rainer Hoffmann, MWH, Stuart Hildreth, Sicon Ferguson and Christopher Salkeld, Sicon Ferguson New Zealand’s First Full-Scale Biosolids Solar Drying Facility
2014 Rob Fullerton Full Scale Tubular Bioreactor for Hydrogen Sulphide Removal
2013 Peter Browne Overcoming Rotorua Lakes Ecological Challenges
2012 Paul Weber, Mark Pizey, Fiona Crombie, Glenn Rutter, Phil Lindsay, Dave Thomas, Don Elder, Joe Wildy, Tony Cooper and Phil Rossiter of Solid Energy Addressing the Environmental Effects of Mining on the Ngakawau River
2011 Chris Tanner, James Sukias and Charlotte Yates of NIWA Hamilton Multiyear Nutrient Removal Performance of Three Constructed Wetlands Intercepting Tile Drain Flows from Grazed Pastures and NZ Guidelines: Constructed Wetland Treatment of Tile Drainage
2010 Jurgen Thiele of Waste solutions, a division of CPG (NZ) Ltd, Dunedin Municipal sludge digester upgrade for biofuel production.
2009 Megan Devane, Brent Gilpin, Beth Robson, Fariba Nourozi and David Wood Decision analysis trees for identification of faecal sources in water
2008 Giles Altner
2007 No Award
2006 John Moore, Cliff Tipler and Graham McBride Comparing Human Health Risk Outcomes for the proposed Christchurch City Ocean Outfall: A quantitative Approach.
2005 Louis Schipper from the Dept. of Earth Sciences at Waikato University and Stewart Cameron from the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences in Taupo Denitrification Beds: Final Nitrogen Removal from Wastewater.
2004 Joint Award

David Ray, Editor and fellow co-authors for their authorship of:

New Zealand Municipal Wastewater Monitoring Guidelines. Published by the NZ Water Environment Research Foundation in October 2002

Andy Shilton and Jill Harrison for their authorship of:

Guidelines for the Hydraulic Design of Waste Stabilistation Ponds. Published by the Institute of Technology and Engineering, Massey University in 2003.

2003 No Award
2002 Paul Barter of the Cawthron Institute Investigation of pond velocities using dye and small drogues: A case study of the Nelson City waster stabilisation pond.
2001 Rob Davies-Colley of NIWA; Andrea Donnison of AgResearch and David Speed from the School of Chemistry, Queens University of Belfast, Ireland Towards a mechanistic understanding of pond disinfection. The paper was presented to the 4 th International Conference on Waste Stabilisation Ponds held in Marrakech, Morocco in 1999.
2000 Chris Tanner and James Sukias of NIWA, Hamilton and Colin Dall form the Northland Regional Council Constructed wetlands in New Zealand - Evaluation of an emerging Natural wastewater treatment technology.
1999 Humphrey archer and Stuart Donaldson Low cost upgrading of oxidation ponds for public health protection
1998 Adrian van Niekerken and Doug Drinkwater of Rangitikei District Council For the paper they presented at the NZWWA Annual Conference in 1996 titled Managing stressed oxidation pons by remote control.
1997 Taupo District Council For their project which resulted in their sewage effluent no longer being discharged to the Waikato River, but sprayed across pasture which is then cut and sold, bringing in a substantial income. The article that described this process appeared in the September 1996 Journal.
1996 Paul Bickers (MIRINZ) for his research towards his M Tech The aerobic treatment of reverse osmosis permeate and its reuse in the dairy industry.
1995 No Award
1994 Ray Hedgland of Fraser, Thomas Ltd Taumarunui Sewage: A culturally acceptable treatment solution.
1993 Joint Award

James Cooke of NIWA

Nutrient transformations in a natural wetland receiving effluent and the implications of waste treatment.

Bryce Cooper of NIWA

Coupling wetland treatment to land treatment: An innovative method for nitrogen stripping.

1992 Graeme Keeley and John Skipper of Canterbury Frozen Meat Co Ltd The use of aerobic thermophilic composting for the stabilisation of primary meat waste solids.
1991 Adrian Goldstone and David Peterson of Cyrus Gold (NZ) Ltd & Harrison Grierson Consultants Ltd Development of treatment and discharge strategies for the Golden Cross Mine.
1990 Ian Gunn, Public Health Engineer, Auckland University Evapotranspiration for on-site residential wastewater disposal the New Zealand experience.
1989 Joint Award

Bryce Cooper, Scientist of DSIR Water Quality Centre, Hamilton

Developing management guidelines for river nitrogenous oxygen demand.

John Quinn and Paul McFarlane, Scientist for work they conducted while at Massey University, resulting in their paper.

Epilithon and dissolved oxygen depletion in the Manawatu River: Simple models and management Implications.

1988 Joint Award

John Fitzmaurice of Humphrey Archer and Rob Fullerton of Steven, Fitzmaurice & Partners

Anaerobic contact Wastewater Treatment, Tirua Casein Complex, NZ Co-op Dairy Co.Ltd.

Martin Ferner, John Harding and Rob Green, Civil Engineers of Levin Borough Council and the others of BCHF Ltd, Wellington

Levin Borough Land Based Effluent Disposal System.

1987 David Adamson, Civil Engineer of Taupo District Council New technique for sewage treatment, describing the selection, design and commissioning of a sequential batch reactor sewage treatment plant at Acacia Bay on Lake Taupo.
1986 Cliff Tipler, Civil Engineer of Steve Fitzmaurice & Partners, Christchurch The controlled discharge of chemically treated meatworks effluent to the Waimakariri River.
1985 Robert Wilcock, Scientist of DSIR Water Quality Centre, Hamilton Describing studies on reaeration in selected New Zealand rivers using methyl chloride as a gas tracer.