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Taumata Taiao guides project teams through the process and requirements that give effect to Waka Kotahi environmental and sustainability policies, other strategic objectives, outcomes and legal requirements during the development and management of the land transport system. 

Z/19 Taumata Taiao – Environmental and Sustainability Standard [PDF, 1.4 MB]

It applies throughout the lifecycle of Waka Kotahi infrastructure delivery, from business case development to delivery, including maintenance and operations.

Business Case Approach guidance

A diagram showing how Z/19 Taumata Taiao - Environmental and Sustainability standard runs through the whole land transport infrastructure delivery process, from point of entry to post-implementationView larger image [JPG, 123 KB]

Who needs to use the standard

All Waka Kotahi project teams for land transport infrastructure projects or maintenance activities need to implement the standard, its requirements, associated guidelines and specifications.

Approved organisations (AOs) are also encouraged to implement the standard, its requirements, associated guidelines and specifications for activities that are funded by the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) or which receive funding administered by Waka Kotahi.

Departures from the standard

If project teams wish to request a technical departure from the requirements of the standard, the standard includes a formal process for them to follow.

Request for technical departure template [DOCX, 135 KB]

What does the standard cover

The standard covers the following areas:

  • climate change (greenhouse gas emissions and climate adaptation)
  • biodiversity (ecology, soil and water, coastal, landscape)
  • social values (people and communities)
  • public health (air quality, noise and vibration, contaminated land, wellbeing)
  • cultural heritage
  • built environment (urban form, urban design, urban mobility)
  • sustainable modes of transport
  • resource efficiency and waste minimisation.

Diagram showing how Z/19 Taumata Taiao - Environmental and Sustainability Standard is supported by other tools, specifications and guidelines

As shown in the diagram above, Taumata Taiao incorporates and is supported by a series of guidelines, specifications and tools, which set out the detailed process and requirements for specific technical areas.

Environmental technical areas

Environmental screen

A key deliverable of Taumata Taiao is the environmental screen, a checklist of questions designed to identify whether an option could have environmental and sustainability opportunities and sensitivities.

Environmental screen

About the name

The standard's new name of Taumata Taiao was gifted by Te Mātangi, our Māori Partnerships Team. The new name acknowledges the connection of the standard to Toitū Te Taiao – Our Sustainability Action Plan and Tiakina Te Taiao – Our Sustainability Monitoring Report.

Toitū Te Taiao – Our Sustainability Action Plan
Tiakina Te Taiao – Our Sustainability Monitoring Report 

Taumata means supreme, highest or most elevated, and taiao commonly means environment (it can also be used to describe the natural world and nature).

Together, this name puts te taiao, the environment, at the forefront of the mahi we do at Waka Kotahi, because the way we look after the environment is the way it looks after us. Everyone involved in building and maintaining the land transport system needs to ensure they are fulfilling their obligations as kaitiaki, and planning for future generations to do the same.

The concept of kaitiakitanga outlines our responsibility to look after the environment, including people, in a respectful and sustainable manner. Taumata Taiao reminds and encourages us to do the same by sharing our knowledge and helping others to uphold our environmental management principles.

Further information

For further information contact environment@nzta.govt.nz