At Waka Kotahi we have an important role in caring for the environment. Our environment includes our people, places and planet. It’s affected directly and indirectly by the activities we undertake, so we take our responsibilities seriously. Toitū sets out our approach to demonstrating our environmental and social responsibility in everything we do.

Toitū Te Taiao

The land transport system impacts our environment but is also impacted by our environment. Our draft ten-year plan, Arataki – Our Plan for the Land Transport System 2021–2031, recognises this with ‘tackling climate change’ one of five step changes we will be making.

Arataki – Our Plan for the Land Transport System 2021–2031

Toitū Te Taiao, our new sustainability action plan, supports Arataki by setting out the actions we will take to tackle climate change and create a sustainable land transport system.

Toitū Te Taiao – Our Sustainability Action Plan [PDF, 6.3 MB]

Our vision is for a low carbon, safe and healthy land transport system. Toitū Te Taiao sets out how we will achieve this by reducing land transport emissions, helping to improve public health, reducing environmental harm and reducing our own corporate emissions.

This type of change will take time so we must start now if we are to meet our 2050 targets. Toitū is a long term, significant change programme that will be delivered in partnership with many others.

Tiakina Te Taiao

An underpinning action in Toitū Te Taiao was to establish a sustainability monitoring framework and report. Measuring and monitoring our progress is essential for showing how we are delivering on our commitment to care more for our environment (people, places and planet).  

Tiakina te Taiao is our annual sustainability monitoring report, a significant step for Waka Kotahi and one we are proud of.   

Tiakina Te Taiao – Our Sustainability Monitoring Report

Te Hiringa o Te Taiao

We have developed a resource efficiency strategy, Te Hiringa o Te Taiao, and supporting policy to deliver on our commitment to use resources sustainably with minimal environmental impact. Te Hiringa o Te Taiao will help us to reduce the environmental impact our work has, and the operational and embodied carbon emissions created in our projects and maintenance work.

Resource efficiency captures energy consumption, waste, and use of virgin and recycled materials. We want to lower our energy usage and emissions, increase our use of recycled materials, cut the amount of waste we produce and minimise the use of virgin materials. Te Hiringa includes actions and milestones for the short to medium term to deliver on the Strategy objectives. This includes developing and implementing a policy to embed resource efficiency in all our construction and maintenance activities.

The development of Te Hiringa o Te Taiao is a headline action within Toitū Te Taiao, our Waka Kotahi sustainability action plan.

Te Hiringa o Te Taiao – Our Resource Efficiency Strategy [PDF, 5.4 MB]
Resource Efficiency Policy for Infrastructure Delivery and Maintenance

If you have any questions, please contact us on

What’s in a name?

A literal translation of Toitū Te Taiao could be ‘sustain the planet’.

Toitū has two meanings:

  1. to be undisturbed, untouched, permanent, entire and
  2. to be sustainable.

Taiao is more commonly used as ‘environment’ but could also mean (natural world, nature, country, Earth).

From a Māori world view, our environment is more than simply the land around us; it includes the people of the land.

Mēnā kei te ora te whenua / Wai kei te ora ngā Tangata (when the land / water is healthy the people are healthy).

While Toitū Te Taiao has a strong focus on how our land transport system impacts our land and biodiversity, it links strongly to our people and culture as well.

The significance of Toitū Te Taiao for all New Zealander’s is reflected in the gifting of a Karakia and Mihi to the work.

This Karakia and Mihi were gifted to reflect the aspirations and desires of Toitū Te Taiao – Our Sustainability Action Plan, with the goal to leave our planet in a better space for our grandchildren. It calls upon us all to do our part in the protection of the earth and the waterways and seeks celestial knowledge to help support our physical actions to uplift the mauri of the Taiao (environment).

  • Karakia

    Mai e te tipua

    Mai e te tawhito

    Mai e te kāhui o ngā ariki

    Mai e tawhiwhi ki ngā atua,

    Tēnei ra te mauri nui, te mauri roa, te mauri tapu

    te mauri ka whakapiki, te mauri ka whakakake

    Te mauri o Rangi e tu iho nei

    Te mauri o Papatuanuku I takoto nei

    Te mauri tapu o nga wai Māori, Te mauri tapu o nga wai tai

    Kia tau te mauri ki runga ki ēnei taura, ki ēnei tauira

    Tēnei te matatau ka eke, whakatū tārewa ki te rangi

    Uhi wero, tau mai te mauri

    Haumi ē, hui ē, taiki ē!

    Te Waka Kotahi invokes the inspiration and guidance from the universe and the gods.

    We invoke every encapsulating life force, the ever presence life force, the sacred life force, the life force of our sky father and our earth Mother.

    The life force of the water of life, the life force of the sea water, these life forces consume us.

    Let us attain the sacred knowledge from the highest heavens to look after the mauri.

    Hold fast, hold strong, and let it be done!

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  • Mihi

    E tū tātou whakaiti nei i raro i a Ranginui, i runga i a Papatūānuku, e tītiro kau ana ki ngā maunga whakahi me ngā tini uri o Tane.

    Ka hoki nga mahara ki te tini, te mano kua huri kaweka nei, he tangi apakura mo rātou katoa, haere I runga te Rangimarie.

    Hoki nei ki a tātou te hung ora tēnā tātou katoa.

    Anei he rautaki toitu mo te waka kotahi hei aratohu I o tātou mahi.

    Me mahi tahi tātou ki te tiaki te Taiao.

    Me to rourou me tōku rourou ka ora ai te Ao.

    Te Waka Kotahi, tukuna tō wairua kia rere.

    We stand humbly under the sky and on our sacred earth mother we look at the impressive mountains and the many different children of Tane.

    Our thoughts turn to the many who have departed this life, we sing a final lament to them all, farewell in peace.

    We return to all of us the living salutation to us all.

    Please find our sustainability plan a guide for our future work.

    As we work together to nurture and look after the world around us.

    With your basket of knowledge and our basket of knowledge we can make the world a better place.

    NZ Transport Agency let your spirit soar.

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