Geotechnical Engineer, Expert Witness in New Zealand Dies at 75

Peter R. Goldsmith, a prominent geotechnical engineer and expert witness in New Zealand, has died. He was 75.

headshot of Goldsmith

He had a particular aptitude for litigation cases, when with gentle but confident persuasive skills he pitted his arguments against other highly skilled courtroom players and was scarcely known to lose.

Goldsmith, Ph.D., P.E., Aff.M.ASCE, managed the engineering consultancy firm Fraser Thomas, in Auckland, for 23 years, and took a strong personal interest in developing business links between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. He was an extremely competent and well-respected engineering practitioner, admired for his uncompromising pursuit of quality and a fierce intellect. His skills in preparing and giving evidence in court meant he was the preferred engineering expert for many high-profile litigation lawyers. Many of these arbitrations involved international construction projects.

Goldsmith was a Life Member of ASCE. Besides his geotechnical work, he developed Fraser Thomas’ waste management work and was involved extensively in the consenting, design and ongoing development of multiple regional landfills within New Zealand.

His contributions to New Zealand engineering were recognized in 2001 by IPENZ (now Engineering NZ) when he was made a Fellow. He authored or coauthored 19 published papers on geotechnical topics.

Goldsmith took time to mentor many geotechnical and landfill engineers. His surviving partner, Lorraine, is also part of the Fraser Thomas establishment.


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