COVID-19 SERVICES UPDATE: Information for all alert levels, Waka Kotahi services and more

SCAM ALERTS: Report a phishing scam or learn about the latest phishing emails

ONLINE SERVICES: We currently have an issue with receiving some payments and are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.

EASTER WEEKEND – PLAN AHEAD: Heading away for the long weekend? Check our holiday journeys tool(external link)

SCAM ALERTS: Refund email and Vehicle licence (rego) renewal phishing emails


The Environment and social responsibility (ESR) screen [PDF, 166 KB] shall be undertaken during the indicative business case phase of project development:

  • Completing the screen will identify opportunities and risks. 
  • The results are used to assess options for state highway projects.
  • Screen results will also signal where technical assessments are required and provide a written record to support the alternatives assessment required for statutory applications. 


  • Open and fill in the interactive pdf [PDF, 166 KB].
  • Complete the screen for each option to distinguish them from one another, or bundle options where appropriate.
  • You will need to consult with a number of information sources to complete the screen including Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency MapHub maps*. Suggested information to help complete the screen is listed in the screen.

Tools / information sources

Find out more about the purpose of each of the screen questions and how the information gained from answering them should help assess options and/or determine whether a preliminary technical assessment could be required.

Environment and social responsibility (ESR) screen explanation [PDF, 202 KB]


There are a number of MapHub map applications that can help answer the screen questions. Most are found under the Environment and culture section*(external link) and are discussed below under the relevant subject matter.

Other MapHub applications that may be of interest include:

  • Boundaries and offices - which contains regional and district council boundaries
  • NZ cycleways

Local Government documents will be a useful source of information, particularly district and regional plan maps. Most of these are available online.

NZ Local Government website(external link) has links to the council websites.

If site visits are not undertaken, use a suitably scaled aerial photograph. The Environmental and social risk map - natural environment map can be used as an aerial when the layers are clicked off.

Human health

There are a number of MapHub map applications that can help answer the questions. These can be found under the Environment and culture section(external link)*:

  • Designated airsheds (HH1 and HH2)
  • Highly sensitive receivers (HH3)

Further information about the highly sensitive receivers on the map can be found by clicking on the sites.

To help answer HH4 look at current landuses, consider past landuses and refer to the Hail list Opens in a new window available on the MfE website.

Contact the regional council. The regional council will typically hold information on historic land use that may have resulted in contaminated land.

Natural environment

To answer the natural environment questions you will need to access information from the local and regional council. You can access district and regional plans on this website:

Comprehensive list of council boundaries and links to council websites(external link)

Use this information to find the following.

Schedules and maps indicating [1] :

  • Outstanding natural features or landscapes
  • Significant natural features (eg geological or geothermal) or landscapes
  • Significant ecological areas
  • Protected trees or habitat
  • Natural hazards
  • Coastal marine areas

[1] Different councils use different terminology to describe important areas which have particular ecological, landscape or amenity features.

The Environmental and social risk map - natural environment includes the following themes:

  • Freshwater (including wetlands) and marine environments (only DOC marine areas) (to help answer NE2 and NE3)
  • Land cover and scenic routes (essential to answer NE5)
  • Threatened and protected terrestrial environments (including the DOC estate boundaries)
  • Natural Hazards (essential to answering NE4)

Use these maps to answer the natural environment questions and provide information about the types of potential environmental impacts.

After answering question NE1, NE2 and NE5 this will give a good indication of potential ecological impacts. Council maps and schedules may identify areas of known significance for biodiversity or known habitats of uncommon or threatened species.

Other resources and databases to help identify if the option could affect areas of terrestrial or aquatic habitat or flora and fauna include:

The Department of Conservation website(external link)

NZ Birds Online(external link)

NZ Plant Conservation Network - plant distribution database(external link)

Water Conservation Orders(external link)


Cultural and historic heritage

This area is multi-dimensional comprising built and archaeological heritage and places of significance to Māori. Heritage places/areas may also have multiple layers of recognition and additional protection mechanisms such as heritage covenants (and occasionally) heritage orders. There is no single source of information.

The main places to search for information are explained below and include:

  • Consulting with mana whenua
  • Using the Waka Kotahi GIS mapping tools and Heritage Inventory
  • NZ Heritage List/Rarangi Korero (formerly the Register) managed by Heritage NZ
  • NZ Archaeological Association (NZAA) Archsite Recording Scheme
  • Local government District Plan Heritage Schedules
  • Consulting with Heritage NZ and Local Council planners

Places of significance to Māori

For places of significance to Māori it is essential to consult with all iwi that have mana whenua. Contacts for iwi, hapu and whanau in the area of the proposed works will be available from the local Council or Te Puni Kokiri(external link).

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s own GIS tools and resources

The Environmental and social risk map - cultural heritage (MapHub*) contains scheduled and listed archaeological sites, Heritage NZ buildings and structures. For further information about these, contact Heritage New Zealand or NZ Archaeological Association.

A GIS based cultural and historic heritage risk map that covers NZ’s entire state highway network is in the early stages of development. Alongside this tool is a draft heritage inventory of all known items of heritage value. More information can be found here:

Cultural and historic heritage

These tools draw on information from a number of databases including the NZ Heritage List, the NZAA Archsite record and District Plan Heritage Schedules. As these tools are under development they are indicative and assumptions from the data should be verified by experts in archaeology, heritage conservation and by tangata whenua.

In particular note that the NZAA location data for the archaeological sites is a general reference, and should be regarded as a guide only. The coordinates in the ArchSite database are, at best, only accurate to 100m of the actual site location. The full extent of recorded sites is often not known and the single point coordinate provided by ArchSite is often based on visible surface features only. This does not necessarily represent the true subsurface extent of a site. Likewise the quality of the site descriptions is varied, ranging from highly detailed summaries provided by professional archaeologists to simple references by amateurs or the general public.

The most developed and tested cultural risk mapping system is available for Canterbury and the West Coast regions. This tool has been developed in partnership between Waka Kotahi, Ngāi Tahu and Heritage NZ.

Consultation with Heritage NZ

Early engagement with Heritage NZ can save time and money to identify known places/areas of heritage significance as well as potential areas of interest. There are recent updates to the legislation governing the regulation of authorities, administration of the NZ Heritage List, and the introduction of the Landmarks List (Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga Act 2014). An MoU between Waka Kotahi and Heritage NZ reflects the intention for an effective and efficient working relationship between these two Crown Entities.

Consulting with local council

Many district plans and their associated heritage schedules have been reviewed over the last decade reflecting changes in the RMA and other statutory legislation such as the Building Act. A discussion with local council planners assists the identification of places of known heritage value and potential interest.


Knowledge of the surrounding area is required to complete the social screen questions, preferably from a site visit. In addition use:

  • Local maps showing community and recreational facilities in the study area (sports facilities, libraries, commerce, retail, health, education, open space, recreation, etc.)
  • Any existing information on travel patterns and mode for the local community
  • Local policy and strategic documents outlining community aspirations for the study area (eg long term council community plan)
  • Socioeconomic information from census mesh blocks to identify any potential vulnerable communities in the study area.

Urban and landscape design

The Environmental and social risk map - natural environment (land cover and scenic routes) contains the themed highways (question ULD3). National Cycleways and rail assets can be found in the 'Access and Use' section of MapHub*.

Ideas for enhancing infrastructure and improving access to different modes of transport can be found here:

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s urban design guideline Bridging the gap

These guidelines along with the Landscape guidelines contain useful information about opportunities to enhance urban character, landscape character and visual amenity as well as essential guidance for mitigating urban and landscape impacts.

Risk map

The environmental and social risk map displays the location of a number of social, cultural and environmental variables. Basic information about these variables is also provided.

You can view the map via the MapHub site(external link)*

The map was created to help answer the environmental and social responsibility screen. The layers of information have been organised according to the screen questions: social, natural environment, human health, and culture and heritage. The map is intended to indicate the general location of the variables. The exact location of the variables should be confirmed by referring to the original information source.

The information shown on the map represents information supplied by the local authorities, regional councils and other government agencies at the time the map was updated. Therefore some data sets are incomplete. For example, we were able to collate data on key native ecosystems from some local authorities, but not all – this does not mean they don't exist in regions where they are not shown, but simply that no spatial data was available at the time of producing the map. Other examples of an incomplete dataset include educational facilities, which do not include kindergartens and medical sites, which do not include private hospitals. In addition, some of the natural environment features are represented as points on the map rather than an area representing the true geological boundary.

Please refer to the metadata document for further information on each layer.

Use instructions

The environmental and social risk map toolbar allows you to: view the map legend, turn layers on and off, change basemaps, measure distance, view details about the map or print. Hover your mouse over the symbols to see which is which. The toolbar also contains a search bar to locate your area of interest; you can input both addresses and locations.

Use the layers tool to add or remove layers and use the measure tool to estimate the distance of any feature from the point of interest. To find out more about a map feature, click on the feature to open a popup box with the feature's attributes. If there is more than one feature, you will need to scroll through the features using the arrow in the top right corner. The source should be checked to validate the information provided by the map.

Map navigation

There are several ways to zoom in and out on the map. You can double click or use the scroll wheel on your mouse which will zoom in or out from the position of your cursor. Alternatively, use the zoom in and out buttons found in the top left corner of the map. To pan around the map, use the mouse to click and drag; alternatively you can use your keyboard arrows. Holding down shift and using the mouse to click and select an area will zoom to that location.

Use the basemap tab to select an alternative basemap, eg aerial imagery. The measure tool has the ability to measure both distance and area.


Whilst due care has been taken in providing the information on this site, all information should be considered to be illustrative and indicative only. Waka Kotahi does not accept any responsibility for any actions taken in reliance on, or consequences arising from the use of, any information provided on this site. Users must exercise their own skill and care in the use of the information, and carefully evaluate the accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance of the material on this site for their purposes.

For further information contact

*Note: To access MapHub website, a login is required. Please contact the Project Manager for your project if you require login details.