Thu 6 Dec 2018

Getting to know "the best country"

Yaswanth Katragadda will tell you size doesn’t matter.

Yaswanth (Yash) enrolled to study at WITT’s NZIHT campus in Hamilton in February 2015.

“My first impression looking at the size of the college building was a disappointment - but that impression didn’t last long,” he said.

The campus comprises a building containing office facilities, two large training rooms, a relaxation area, kitchen and a café-style eating area, and a computer equipped library.

It is also in the city’s central business district and a short walk from a lake.

He was soon sold on the quality of pastoral care as he completed his move from Andhra Pradesh, a province on India’s south-east coast. Yash was soon sorted with a bank account, tax code and accommodation.

“The best part of the college will always be the tutors who are industry experienced and/or highly qualified,” he said. “The course subjects and scope are designed to well suit the industry needs and expectations.”

In India, Yash had worked as an engineer at a large thermal power plant construction site, managing roadworks, sea structures and canals.

He arrived in New Zealand with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and completed a Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Highways) through NZIHT in Hamilton.

He said studying at NZIHT helped him secure his current position at Timaru District Council, “where I get to work with extremely talented people who are willing to pass on their wisdom”.

Yash was invited to pass on his own knowledge last month when he addressed the New Zealand Transport Agency Conference in Blenheim.

He discussed the potential value for roading of using graphene, discovered in 2004 and hailed for its extraordinary properties as having the potential to revolutionise the electronic, health and energy sectors.

Yash suggested a hybrid using graphene and Open Graded Porous Asphalt (OGPA) could be the way of the future for New Zealand roads.

About 6% of roads are covered with Open Graded Porous Asphalt, but despite the fact it scores highly for producing low road noise, reduced vehicle spray, increased wet skid resistance and less glare when wet, it is expensive and has a shorter life than standard asphalt.

A graphene –asphalt hybrid option has already been pitched in Europe and Yash says OPGA roads would be more economical if they had graphene.

Yash, who has a residents visa for New Zealand has familiarised himself with his new home. He is a keen traveller and has already climbed Mount Taranaki and completed the Tongariro Crossing and many tramps in the Abel Tasman and Fiordland National Parks and Mt Cook National Park.

He has no doubt the country is the best he has ever seen.