Skip to content

Access keys for

  • h Home
  • m Menu
  • 0 Show list of access keys
  • 2 Skip to content
  • 3 Skip to top


Back to Resources

#19-02 Revision of the NZ Transport Agency Standard P45:2019 accidental archaeological discovery protocol (ADP)

Published: | Category: Technical advice note | Audiences: Road controlling authorities, Road traffic engineers & consultants, Roading contractors

This notice advises that the procedures for managing accidental discoveries of archaeological heritage finds have been revised.  The new standard applies from February 2019 and must be used by all staff developing new physical works contracts.

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: 20 February 2019
  • Reference: 19-02
  • Version: 1
  • Contact:


This notice advises that the procedures for managing accidental discoveries of archaeological heritage finds have been revised. The new standard applies from February 2019 and must be used by all staff developing new physical works contracts.

The previous archaeological discovery procedure (Z/22) was out of date in terms of statutory and organisational references and in regard to best practice. Drivers for the revised specification include the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 (which replaced the Historic Places Act 1993) and revised guidelines released by Heritage New Zealand for the care of koiwi (human remains).

The development of this specification has been informed by experts in archaeological and cultural heritage processes. P45 will ensure that accidental archaeological discoveries continue to be managed in a compliant, consistent and efficient manner on a nationwide basis.

General Information

P45 is for managing accidental archaeological discoveries i.e. how to deal with archaeological remains, taonga or koiwi if they are unexpectedly found during any ground disturbing maintenance or project works when an archaeological authority was not required. It includes how to secure the site, who to contact including the Heritage New Zealand regional archaeologist, the Police, Coroner, appropriate iwi representative, who to talk to about continuing works outside the find area, and how permission to continue works will be granted.

P45 is also designed to recognise and provide for the protection of cultural and historic heritage and the special relationship of Maori in regard to their land, water, sites, wahi tapu and other taonga. The specification also provides consistency with Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan requirements.

This document will be of relevance to project teams where any project / contract / maintenance involves:

  • repair & maintenance works within the existing asphalt or modified ground; or
  • a low risk of archaeological sites as assessed by an archaeologist; or
  • seeking an approval under the Resource Management Act.

P45 can also be incorporated into other documentation where an ADP is required. For example, P45 may be proposed as a condition within a Notice of Requirement or resource consent application for Resource Management Act (RMA) applications. Examples of how P45 could be utilised include:

a. Where no archaeological authority is required from Heritage New Zealand, as a condition of consent or designation.
b. As a ‘holding place’ (condition or advice note) for a future archaeological authority decision by Heritage New Zealand (with P45 falling away when an authority is granted);

This means that an RMA decision can be made with comfort that archaeological heritage values are being considered before a Heritage New Zealand decision is made. This is often the process for complex transport projects where the detailed design work necessary for a Heritage New Zealand decision may come after the granting of resource consent.

P45 is not a default for situations where an archaeological authority is required under the Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga Act.

Overall, development of P45 supports the Agency’s commitment to cultural and historic heritage.

Version Changes

P45 replaces the existing minimum standard Z/22 for dealing with accidental archaeological discoveries. P45 sits within the NZTA Standard for Environmental and Social Responsibility (Standard Z/19), which forms the basis of the technical appendices in all NZTA physical works contracts. The Standard is a practical application of legal and policy requirements in roading activities and should be referenced in physical works contract documents going forward.

Effective Date

As there is a need to ensure current practices meet legislative requirements, all teams currently carrying out physical works should make themselves aware of the changes straight away. All new physical works contacts shall include this specification as a requirement.


Email notification and a link to P45 have been provided to internal and external stakeholders. If you have not received this and would like to do so, please forward your details to

Some seminars have been conducted and others are planned for 2019. If your group is interested in participating in a seminar, please contact

To support the ADP a digger driver glove box card, and a "how to manage archaeological potential in transport infrastructure projects" information sheet have been developed. If you want to receive copies of these please contact

Publication details

Author: NZ Transport Agency
Published: January 2019
Previous reference: Z/22 Accidental Discovery Protocol
New reference: P45 Accidental Discovery Protocol
ISBN/ISSN: 978-1-98-851245-7
Version: August 2018
Found at: [PDF, 883 KB]

Further information

To submit documents or if you have any questions or feedback, please contact the Environment Team at

David Darwin                            Vanessa Browne