Engineering in New Zealand

Image of New Zealand
This summer program will enable students to experience the natural environment and some of the primary examples of the process industries in New Zealand. Students will have the opportunity to meet with engineering professionals who work in these industries.
Location: New Zealand
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led

  • Visit and earn about New Zealand's process industries
  • Visit energy industries and facilities relating to coal, natural gas, and refined petroleum products
  • Meet with engineering professionals in New Zealand
  • Experience the beauty of New Zealand through visits to volcanoes, hot springs and mud pools

Depart US: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Arrive in Auckland: Friday, May 20, 2016

Depart Wellington + arrive in US: Saturday, June 4, 2016

This program visits industries located on the North Island of New Zealand.

Auckland (5 days): The first few days of the program participants will explore the tourist sites in Auckland. Participants will visit with faculty and students from the University of Auckland’s Chemical Engineering Department. Participants will visit New Zealand Steel, the country's largest steel producer.

Rotorua (1 day): From Auckland participants will then travel to Rotorua to visit Scion, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute which focuses on research for wood products.  Additionally, participants will visit its fantastic hot springs, mud pools and geysers in Rotorua which is regarded as one of the world’s most spectacular geothermal wonderlands. Students will also have free time in Rotorua and they may wish to visit the Hobbiton Village from the Lord of the Rings movies on their own.

Taupo (3 days): The program will then travel to Taupo where participants will visit a Geothermal Plant in Wairakei and Laminex, a manufacturer of decorative surfaces and panel products. 

New Plymouth (3 days): From Taupo participants will travel to New Plymouth to visit the Methanex Natural Gas Facility and the Shell Todd Methanol Plant. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit the Egmont National Park where the dormant volcano of Mount Taranak lies.

Palmerston North (1 day): Participants will visit chemical engineering faculty and students from Massey University and Fonterra’s milk plant.

Wellington (2 days): Participants will also visit Callaghan Innovation and learn about research at New Zealand’s Research Institute in Wellington. Additionally, participants will visit New Zealand’s National Museum and Art Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa.

Program Overview

New Zealand is an isolated group of islands in the southwestern Pacific, renowned for their natural beauty and pristine environment. The landscape and natural resources are different from much of the rest of the world. At the same time New Zealand has a highly developed modern economy with a strong demand for scientists and engineers. The main manufacturing sectors of the economy are based on agriculture, and include a world-class dairy industry, a large forestry industry which is rapidly growing its added-value product base, and a world-famous wine industry. New Zealand is also well endowed with coal and natural gas resources, and is one of largest per-capita users of hydro-electric power in the world. Environmental protection is of prime importance for New Zealand and underlines some of the differences between the New Zealand economy and others in the developed world.

This faculty-led summer program in New Zealand will enable participants to experience at first hand not only the natural environment, but also some of the primary examples of the process industries in New Zealand as well as energy industries and facilities relating to coal, natural gas and refined petroleum products. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to meet engineering professionals who work in these industries.

All students must enroll in the following program course:

C&PE 651: Undergraduate Problems (3 hours)

Prior to the program, students will be assigned to research one of the site visits. They will be required to give an oral presentation about the site visit to the other program participants. In addition, the student will be required to submit a paper describing the visit.

Students will write a set of short reviews describing how their major area of study has been implemented in the industrial manufacturing and environmental maintenance at the sites they have visited. A final report comparing a product manufacturing method, fuel import/ export facilities raw material conversion or resource conservation in the U.S. and New Zealand will be due shortly after returning home.


Participants will stay in hostels or hotels in all program cities.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

The program is open to KU undergraduate and graduate engineering students majoring in Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and Petroleum Management students. Minimum 2.50 GPA required (exceptions considered only after submission of a petition).

Associate Professor and Director of the KU Petroleum Engineering Program, Russell Ostermann will lead the 2016 program.