The New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) provides an opportunity to challenge the status quo and try new delivery methods to share the learnings between projects and wider Waka Kotahi. Delivery improvements ensure best practice standards and polices are in place to provide consistent key delivery improvement outcomes across all projects within NZUP programme.

Delivery improvement outcome areas

Waka Kotahi Delivery Improvement aspiration is a thriving NZUP living our values and lifting performance in six key outcome areas:

  • zero harm
  • customer at the heart
  • best value solutions
  • enduring partnerships
  • sustainability
  • living our values and behaviours

Zero harm

Waka Kotahi seeks to establish a clear aspiration to a zero harm NZ Upgrade Programme and a focus on, and commitment to, the physical and mental well-being of everyone associated with projects.

Customer at the heart

Waka Kotahi seeks to see NZ Upgrade Programme projects delivered with the customer at the heart of our thinking, planning, delivery and product.

Best value solutions

Waka Kotahi seeks to see a significant shift in delivery efficiency performance over the next 5 – 10 years by providing suppliers with clarity on desired outcomes, enabling a whole-of-industry response.

Enduring partnerships

The NZ Upgrade Programme presents an opportunity for Waka Kotahi to build on recent progress with respect to developing genuine, enduring iwi partnerships while meaningfully supporting local communities and iwi groups.


Waka Kotahi seeks to leverage the NZ Upgrade Programme to maximise benefits for the natural landscapes surrounding our projects.

Living our values and behaviours

Waka Kotahi seeks to genuinely embed our collective values and behaviours across all aspects of NZ Upgrade Programme and within delivery of each project.

Project balanced scorecards

Waka Kotahi wants to use utilise the opportunity to transform performance in the Delivery Improvement Outcome areas over the next 5 – 10 years by working collaboratively with its key suppliers.

NZUP has developed a Project Performance Scoreboard (BSC) as a framework through which the Delivery Improvement objectives and our thriving NZUP vision can be given effect.

The Balanced Scoreboard (below) demonstrates a vision of a thriving NZUP in which the Waka Kotahi values are lived within projects through pursuit of breakthrough against the six outcome areas. These outcome areas form the six Key Result Areas (KRAs) for projects with corresponding Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The corresponding KPIs each include base expectations which are reflected in the Minimum Requirements (MRs) as well as providing an opportunity to define breakthrough performance through co-designed innovation.

KRAs NZUP goals Focus areas for initiative goals
Zero harm

Waka Kotahi recognises its opportunity to improve health, safety and wellbeing outcomes for its people, partners and community through our work. Beyond compliance, we can drive safety and wellbeing from through Infrastructure planning and design, right through to operations and maintenance.

Improve safety, wellbeing, mental health outcomes, and improvement in lead indicator use to drive results

Customer at the heart During delivery of the project, exemplar considerations for the experience of neighbouring communities and road users will be prioritised.

Neighbour satisfaction, journey time and experience

Best value solutions Constantly striving to improve productivity, effectiveness, efficiency and value for cost; projects lead the way in creating the new and improved business as usual.

Digital practices embedded to drive delivery improvement outcomes, reduced delivery timeframes

Enduring partnerships Fostering meaningful, genuine, and supportive Iwi and hapu, community, and stakeholder partnerships that continue beyond the lifecycle of the project.

Work with iwi and hapu to realise the most positive partnership possible, partner and stakeholder satisfaction

Sustainability We care for the natural environment for all generations, recognising the importance and urgency of reducing emissions, and supporting the rejuvenation of the environment and biodiversity.

Aim for 20% (stretch) carbon emissions reduction, environment and biodiversity: mitigate, shift, improve

Living our values and behaviours We build a better sector culture through our projects with diversity, equality, and inclusion.

Project culture leaves a positive legacy for sector, uplift of tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers, commitment to the diversity agenda

Key stories of Delivery Improvement

Delivery Improvement Initiative: Applied contractual requirement for early installation of noise walls

Project: SH1 Papakura to Drury

When considering neighbouring residents to the SH1 Papakura to Drury project, reduction of noise, vibrations and fatigue were considered among the greater community concerns with the project. In response, the project team added a separable portion within the construction contract for early installation of noise walls.

Installing noise walls at an earlier stage is a delivery improvement initiative that will be used as a learning for future projects to consider. The noise wall helps improve resident wellbeing in the neighbouring properties, by reducing operational and construction noise, as well as vibrations from the works. The noise wall also acts as a visual screen from construction and the live motorway.

One resident provided feedback to the project team saying they could no longer use construction noise as an alarm, with other residents claiming to now enjoy a cup of coffee in their backyard with the noise heavily reduced.

Bringing forward the timing of noise wall installation also had a knock-on effect to an earlier upgrade of the stormwater system, leading to better stormwater runoff for the properties.

Delivery Improvement Initiative: Wellbeing Support and GROOV

Project: O Mahurangi Penlink

The O Mahurangi Alliance has launched the GROOV app with the team to help support wellbeing on the project.

The construction industry loses more workers to suicide than any other industry in Aotearoa New Zealand. Ensuring staff are supported and know they can and should prioritise their wellbeing is critical to the Alliance and to Waka Kotahi.

The Alliance chose to work with GROOV, a platform that helps organisations to build resilience and wellbeing into the core of their business. In March 2023, Sir John Kirwan and his team came and spoke to the Alliance about how they can make small changes to improve mental health and wellbeing. The programme is based on six pillars – Chill, Do, Connect, Move, Celebrate and Enjoy, and links to Te Whare Tapa Wha.

To support staff prioritising their wellbeing, the Alliance has also launched a wellbeing ritual. The ritual is for people on site and in the office, and means that on the last Friday of every month, staff finish at 2pm. Wellbeing looks different for each project. On this Alliance, having no weekend work was not an option, but this simple ritual helps to show staff that their wellbeing is supported.

Driving a step change - Micro-nurseries constructed

Project: Takitimu North Link

Driving a step change – Micro-nurseries constructed

More than 900,000 plants will be grown and planted alongside the new road as part of the Takitimu North Link project. Tāngata Whenua (Ngāi Tamarawho, Ngāti Hangarau, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Pango, Pirirākau and Ngāti Taka) are excited with the launch and construction of their first whānau micro-nursery to grow plants for the project.

The planting initiative utilises the Contractor’s Te Ahikāroa Taonga Planting Framework, which provides for a meaningful relationship between the Contractor and tāngata whenua, to assist in the sustainable capacity and capability building of their people. The framework provides for hapū whānau to grow plants for the project and restore the mauri and health of the whenua from a te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori lens.

The significant investment in the NZUP provides an opportunity to improve and drive the step change in how we deliver projects. The plantings will help to offset some of the carbon emissions and contributes to the Waka Kotahi vision of a low carbon, safe and healthy transport system.

The below photo is from a visit to one of the micro-nurseries in December 2022