General questions

  • Why is Waka Kotahi setting up an innovation fund?

    We need to find new and quicker ways to respond to the challenges facing the land transport sector such as climate change, reducing emissions, reducing impacts from the construction, operation, and maintenance of the transport system, encouraging mode shift, improving road safety outcomes, and providing accessible and equitable transport for New Zealanders.

    New thinking is going to be needed to address these challenges and we know that many of the great ideas and innovations that will help to solve these concerns will come from the private sector (for example, start-ups, businesses, communities, iwi, innovators, and research institutions). We need to realise the benefits of these great ideas and innovative transport solutions as early as possible.

    Hoe ki angitū has been set up to support private sector innovators and create an environment that encourages greater collaboration to seek solutions for these challenges. It will help create partnerships across central and local government and the private sector, to accelerate and drive innovation into our transport system.

    Close Back to top
  • How is innovation defined?

    For the purposes of Hoe ki angitū, we define innovation as taking an open-minded approach to pursuing improved outcomes and solutions. These will result in new ways of responding to our transport problems and enhance social and economic outcomes whilst adding value to the wider transport system.

    While digital technology is likely to be a big part of new innovations we are just as interested in applying traditional knowledge in new ways.

    Close Back to top
  • Why is the Fund only open to private sector innovators?

    We know that many of the great ideas and innovations that will help to solve our transport challenges come from the private sector (for example, start-ups, companies, communities, iwi, innovators, and research institutions). We need to realise the benefits of these great ideas and innovations as early as possible. We want to tap into and accelerate the incredible talents out there to help us solve the big problems we face.

    Close Back to top



  • Does my application have to be perfect?

    No. We are happy to work with you to develop or refine your proposals so that we can consider them properly. We are more interested in the potential of the proposal than whether all aspects of the proposal have been fully set out.

    Close Back to top
  • Can I apply to Hoe ki angitū to carry out research?

    Yes. We recognise that research can be an essential part of developing an innovation, both to help with the development process and then to understand its impacts. However, the aim of Hoe ki angitū is to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative transport solutions and we aim to support innovations that will deliver solutions as early as possible. We therefore tend not to fund proposals that are primarily focussed on conducting research, or where the primary outcome is the development of a research report.

    Close Back to top

The assessment process

  • How are Hoe ki angitū proposals assessed?

    Proposals go through several rounds of assessment before being funded. An initial eligibility assessment is carried out to ensure that proposals meet basic legal requirements and meet the challenge. If eligible, the proposals are then assessed by subject matter experts against five assessment criteria. These are:

    • Innovation – how innovative is the solution? What is the impact the proposal might have for the New Zealand transport system?
    • Strategic fit – how does the innovation solve the problem identified in the challenge?
    • Te Ao Māori – how will Te Ao Māori principles be included and integrated in the development of the innovation?
    • Feasibility – how likely is it that the funding and/or support received will accelerate the development of the innovation?
    • Methodology – what is the approach and plan to deliver the innovation?

    At any time before or during the assessment process the Innovation Team may work with you and request further information from you to better understand the proposals, including through face-to-face meetings. If needed, external experts are also consulted before final decisions are made.

    The proposals that are recommended for funding are then considered by a panel made up of senior Waka Kotahi staff and external experts in innovation.

    Close Back to top
  • How does Hoe ki angitū incorporate Te Ao Māori?

    Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency recognises and respects Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and will work with Māori as partners to build strong, meaningful and enduring relationships to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

    We have an important role to play in finding opportunities to better respond to Māori aspirations while delivering transport solutions. We can contribute by working with Māori and other government agencies to support Māori to achieve their aspirations.

    We have been intentional in seeking to honour Te Tiriti, making Te Ao Māori one of the assessment criteria. The Fund actively encourages iwi and Māori businesses to take part.

    Te Ara Kotahi (our Māori Strategy) provides strategic direction to Waka Kotahi on how we work with and respond to Māori as the Crown’s Treaty partner, and what this means for how we do business.

    Te Ara Kotahi | Our Māori Strategy [PDF, 985 KB]

    Close Back to top


  • How much funding can I apply for?

    There is a set amount of funding allocated to each challenge round. If there are many good ideas submitted, you may not receive the full amount you have applied for.

    In the first two rounds we provided funding to applicants ranging from $30,000 to $500,000. Most successful applicants have requested amounts between $100,000 and $300,000. A full list of the successful applicants and the amounts received can be found here

    Successful applications:

    Round One recipients

    Round Two recipients(external link)

    Close Back to top
  • Can I apply if I already have a grant from another government fund?

    Yes. Waka Kotahi will consider proposals that have received funding from other government sources, but this will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the type and scale of funding received. Applicants should be aware that other funds may not allow funding from multiple “innovation” funds.

    Applicants will be asked to disclose other sources of financial support as part of the application process.

    Close Back to top
  • Am I required to finance part of the proposal?

    No. You are not required to finance part of the proposal to receive funding, but additional funding from yourself, or other parties, is welcomed and may improve the strength of your application.

    Applicants should note that you may not receive all the funding you request and so you may need additional sources of funding to complete your proposal.

    Close Back to top
  • How many weeks of funding can I apply for?

    Hoe ki angitū is intended to accelerate an innovative project or fund a specific stage of development to get an innovation through to its next stage. For this reason, funding is intended to provide support for up to 16 weeks of activity. The work itself can be phased over a period of up to twelve months, but the funding is not intended to fund an entire innovation process.

    Close Back to top
  • Can I ask for contingency funding?

    No. We appreciate that there are uncertainties in budgeting, but we expect you to take some share of the risk and therefore we do not normally agree to provide a separate amount for contingencies. If contingencies do arise, and there are genuine reasons to do so, we may be able to renegotiate funding though a variation in the funding agreement.

    Close Back to top
  • How will the funding be paid?

    If your application is successful, you will be asked to enter into a funding agreement with Waka Kotahi that will set how much funding you will receive, what you will deliver and when you will receive funding.

    Funding is usually provided in instalments with the timing depending on what the funding will be used for and the milestones and deliverables that have been agreed and set out in the funding agreement. The final payment is conditional on submission of a report to Waka Kotahi about the work undertaken with the funding.


    Close Back to top
  • Can I apply for funding for capital items (Capex)?

    The Fund is not intended to enable the purchase of large capital items, but this can be discussed on a case-by-case basis, especially for items that are integral to the development of the innovation. Capex is normally only funded where the purchase is necessary to accelerate the innovation to its next stage of development.

    Close Back to top

If your application is successful

  • What happens if I’m successful?

    If you are successful, you will be assigned a member of the Innovation Team who will work with you to agree milestones and deliverables for the period of funding that will then be set out in the funding agreement.

    As well as meeting the agreed milestones, at the end of the funding period you will be asked to showcase your innovation to demonstrate how it has developed, share learnings, and provide feedback on Hoe ki angitū. This will include preparing a written report for Waka Kotahi. With your agreement, either the whole report or its executive summary will be published on the Waka Kotahi website.

    Feedback from applicants, including through these reports, is important to enable Waka Kotahi to improve and refine the programme so that is designed in a way to best support the private sector and achieve the objectives of Hoe ki angitū. 

    You may also be invited to present the outcomes of your proposals at conferences, webinars, and other similar opportunities including those organised by Waka Kotahi to promote Hoe ki angitū.


    Close Back to top
  • If I don’t meet milestones will my funding be impacted?

    Possibly. If your proposal is successful, you will enter into a funding agreement with Waka Kotahi that will set out agreed milestones and deliverables. If you are unable to meet these milestones and deliverables your funding may be impacted.

    We acknowledge there are many external challenges, including those associated with COVID-19 outbreaks and supply chain issues and this may impact what initially has been agreed.

    In some circumstances we may ask for funding to be returned if work is unable to be completed, but we would prefer to work with you to enable deliverables to be met, or to agree new deliverables.

    We expect you to provide a final report even if the work cannot be completed.

    Close Back to top
  • If my innovation doesn’t achieve the outcomes expected, what are the consequences?

    Hoe ki angitū is intended to support new and untested innovations and we realise that not every project will achieve its goals. If you meet the conditions of your funding agreement, but the expected outcomes are not achieved, there will be no consequences.

    If you are unable to complete all of the agreed milestones we may ask for any unspent funding to be returned.

    We expect you to still provide a report on your work, even if the work does not achieve the expected outcomes, so that we can learn from the experience.


    Close Back to top
  • What additional support will be available?

    Both financial and non-financial support will be available to successful applicants. Non-financial support includes access to data, transport expertise, help to navigate Waka Kotahi and land transport regulation, as well as the identification of suitable environments for real-world testing of solutions.

    Close Back to top