Contact Us

DJ MATHESON Christchurch 027 444 9774 EMAIL DJ
MARTIN WILSON Wellington 027 449 5408 EMAIL MARTIN
MARK FREEMAN Wellington 021 898 725 EMAIL MARK
ALEX WILMSHURST Nelson/Kaikoura 027 488 2849 EMAIL ALEX
GARETH HALLAM Christchurch 027 208 0592 EMAIL GARETH
MURRAY THESSMAN Wellington 027 262 4333 EMAIL MURRAY
ANDREW LILLIG Wellington 027 542 0536 EMAIL ANDREW
LEONIE STEAD Christchurch 027 550 0667 EMAIL LEONIE


15 Bute Street, Wellington
PO Box 27467, Wellington 6141

04 801 5336 enquire


26 Thackers Quay, Woolston,
Christchurch 8023

03 384 0336


Find out about our latest projects and success stories right here on our newsfeed

10th May 2018

Abseil puts stamp on NZ postage system

Earlier this month NZ Post released a new stamp series celebrating the combined effort and work done reconstructing SH1 and the maintrunk line after the 11 November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake. Abseil Access were honoured and humbled to have James Malone’s photo of Dean Griffiths loosening rocks somewhere north of Kaikoura as one of the featured stamps.

The stamp series incidentally coincides with Abseils ‘evacuation’ from our  biggest project in our 25 year history, SR30. This slip above SH1 south of Kaikoura was one of the biggest, gnarliest, messiest and dangerous slips – ever! In the process of stabilising the slip and making both the road and railway line below safe we put over 72,000 (that’s more than 8 years!) working hours and used 9 kilometres of wire mesh. For the technically minded, 570 self drilling anchors were used as well as 60 anchors pull tested.

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26th March 2018

Rocky Bal-Boulder goes down

At 800 tons Rocky Bal-Boulder is/was the biggest single boulder hanging over SH1 Kaikoura. Yes, even bigger than Million Dollar Boulder (see 2017 news story). The boulder was drilled with 94 holes by our blast team who then loaded it with 40kg of high explosive, the codes were entered and the button pushed. A successful blast with good fragmentation. NZTA even made a movie about it, but not staring Sly Stallone.

Rocky blast

The closure of State Highway 1 both sides of Kaikoura after ex-cyclone Gita had a silver lining for the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) team: they had a chance to blow up a large boulder while no one was on the road. Check out this amazing footage.

Posted by NZ Transport Agency – South Island on Thursday, March 1, 2018

26th March 2018

Fifty Shades of Bridge

In his defining bridge building opus, Fifty Shades of Bridge, written to celebrate Abseil Access’s fiftieth bridge build earlier this year, Abseil Access director Martin Wilson wrote: “No bridge is the same, they all create a unique challenge… bridges are the best of times, they are the worst of times.” No one would agree more than Abseil Access project manager Cal Rattenbury, who with his team (pictured) has just completed the third bridge on the Pike 29 Memorial Track through the Paparoa National Park.

The three builds have all gone to plan so far. However, three days before they were to finish the Upper Pororari River suspension bridge the team was stranded by flash floods, losing their camp and some vital equipment. “This was a few days before Cyclone Gita was due to strike” says Cal, “at the same time Matt Thom & James Eagle witnessed an 1000m3 slip cut right through the the track that linked Watson Creek Bridge (pictured) and Upper Pororari bridge site”. To be on the safe side the team was evacuated to Hokitika during cyclone Gita.

The three built bridges all span approximately 50 metres and are fit to carry five people at a time. Abseil Access is due to start work on the final fourth bridge, ‘Waterfall Creek’ on the western side of Hawera Peak near the Pike River mine site in October this year. The final bridge is expected to be the “gnarliest and most challenging” says Cal.


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20th December 2017

SH1 Kaikoura

NCTIR did it, the road is open, the trains are on time, the whales are happy, the seals are safe, the holiday is starting, and Abseil Access have been part of it all. Blasting, drilling, scaling, netting, rescues, sweat and tears for 12 months, check out the video…

10th November 2017

Abseil Access to sponsor NZGS Symposium 2017

The New Zealand Geotechnical Society 2017 conference is coming up 24-25 November in Napier, and we are proud to be one of the sponsors of this event.

This years theme – What In Earth Is Going On: balancing risk reward, regulation and reality – will be a hot topic at our stall no. 12, along with tall tales of brave rock-scaling in the face of natural and perceived hazards, technical info on our rock drills and the latest & greatest grout mixing & pumping equipment.

We’ll have plenty of technical company information to hand-out, along with a variety of free-bees and a bottle of scotch to win for the best entry in our colouring-in competition!

See you there!

9th November 2017

Johnsonville rail line undercut.

The winter rains brought havoc to the Wellington region. One slip threatened to undermine the Johnsonville rail between tunnel 4 and 5. Abseil Access set to work, alongside Aurecon, to fix it up urgently. 77 GRP anchors up to 8m deep and wire rope re-inforced MacmatR were installed within 3 months. Job done.

3rd November 2017

Million dollar boulder

The “Million Dollar Boulder” on Kaikoura slip 7 is finally down at road level. After 6 months of harassment by helicopters, sluice buckets, abseilers and geotechs the 300 ton boulder is finally given the big Amex shove. 120 kg of Orica Amex strategically positioned behind the boulder (by aerial antics) followed by the push of a tiny button was all that was required to shatter and dislodge the monster. The next blast, in a few weeks time, is “Rocky Balboulder” 800t…


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10th October 2017

Kaikoura Colour in Competition

Abseil Access workers have been pivotal to the opening of access routes to and from Kaikoura. SH1 south of Kaikoura and SH7 from Hamner opened earlier in the year. Now, nearly a year away from the anniversary of the earthquake, the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) are confidant the devastated Picton – Kaikoura State State Highway One will open before the year is out. The combined work of over 30 Abseil Access workers, along with other geotechnical teams, with the support of NZTA, NCTIR, Opus, the helicopter pilots and the Kaikoura locals themselves – the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed nigh.

To celebrate we have got artist Stephen Templer to draw our inaugural Abseil Access colour in competition. We invite everyone – young and old – to print out a PDF  of the Kaikoura Scene and go for it with your colouring in implements.

THERE ARE THREE $100 PRIZES FOR: Best under 12, Most Wacky and Best Over All. Get wild, like colouring in a zoo, and when you are done, send a printed copy to: ‘Colouring in Comp’, Abseil Access, PO Box 27647, Wellington 6141 or email a scan to The best overall will be printed in the 2018 Abseil Access Calendar. The deadline is the anniversary of the Kaikoura Earthquake, 14 November.

Click here to print out a PDF: colour in kaikoura

20th July 2017

Rapid response to Ngauranga Gorge slip

The SH1 Ngauranga Gorge slip on 11 July caused epic disruption to commuters and affected the whole Wellington region. Our team was there in a flash and continued to scale and stabilize the area all day and into the night. Further works were required before all lanes could be opened including the drill and blast of a 10m3 boulder that hung above the traffic. Abseil Access pulled out all the stops to supply night and day shift for 5 more days, installing 12 top anchors and hanging 600m2 of rockfall mesh. All lanes opened in less than 1 week and job finished in 8 days.

A solid team effort from Capital Journeys, Fulton Hogan, Opus, NZTA, Websters, Command Aviation and of course our devoted Wellington crew.



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12th May 2017

Strongest shotcrete wall ever

The project on North Island Main Trunk line at Utiku for Kiwirail is complete. Over a 5 week period the geo team installed 51 GRP soil nails into the undercut face and then applied a fibre reinforced shotcrete layer on top of a layer of tecco rock fall mesh. The 35mpa shotcrete had sufficient Forta-Ferro fibres to ensure the shotcrete attained an RDP toughness of 400J. Face drains, drilled drains and a sub soil drain along the top ensure the area is kept dry. Tidiest geo project ever!

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