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NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi

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NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi
Agency overview
Formed1 August 2008; 15 years ago (2008-08-01)
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionNew Zealand Government
HeadquartersVictoria Arcade, 50 Victoria Street, Wellington
Minister responsible
Agency executives

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA)[2] is a New Zealand Crown entity tasked with promoting safe and functional transport by land, including the responsibility for driver and vehicle licensing, and administering the New Zealand state highway network.[3] Waka Kotahi means 'one vessel' and is intended to convey the concept of "travelling together as one".[2]

History and leadership[edit]


The agency was established on 1 August 2008 by the Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008, merging Transit New Zealand with Land Transport New Zealand.[4][3]

Leadership changes, 2008–2019[edit]

NZTA's board was criticised by the National Party-led opposition in July 2008 as being "stacked" with political appointees of the Labour Party-led government.[5] A National Party-led government was formed after 2008 New Zealand general election, and a number of board members were reappointed or replaced.[6]

In January 2019, three members of the board of directors resigned, about six weeks after the resignation of chief executive Fergus Gammie. They were Adrienne Young-Cooper, Chris Ellis and Fran Wilde. Minister of Transport Phil Twyford said the agency had been "going through a massive change process", with its compliance work in the issuing of vehicle Warrant of Fitnesses under review.[7]

Mark Ratcliffe, former head of telco Chorus, was appointed interim chief executive.[8] Nicole Rosie, former CE of WorkSafe New Zealand, replaced him as chief executive mid-February 2020.[9]

On 26 April 2019, chairman Michael Stiassny announced his resignation.[10] On 11 June 2019, Brian Roche commenced his second term as chairman of NZTA;[11] Roche had previously been the inaugural chairman from 2008.[12]

Waka Kotahi, 2019–2023[edit]

In August 2019, Waka Kotahi changed the order of its name to emphasize its Māori language name "Waka Kotahi." The logo was also changed to reflect this change of order.[13]

Kane Patena was appointed the first Director of Land Transport for Waka Kotahi from 1 April 2021.[14]

In early November 2023, Waka Kotahi suspended its NZ$305 million Transport Choices Programme where local councils would receive funding to encourage walking, cycling and public transportation. Waka Kotahi suspended this programme amidst coalition talks to form the National-led coalition government following the 2023 New Zealand general election.[15]

Reversion to NZTA, 2023–present[edit]

In December 2023, the New Zealand Minister of Transport Simeon Brown ordered that the agency was to give primacy to its English name.[13][16]

In mid-December 2023, Transport Minister Brown ordered the NZTA to halt halt funding and work on various local council projects to promote cycling, walking and public transportation.[17] Notable projects affected by the Government's transportation policy change included the "Let's Get Wellington Moving" programme.[18]

On 11 March 2024, Simon Bridges was appointed a member and chairperson of the NZTA board for a three-year term.[19]

On 15 May, RNZ reported that NZTA had paid consultant PwC to design two new vehicle-spotting technologies at a cost of NZ$130 million only to abandon the project after the technologies were found not to work.[20]

On 16 May 2024, NZTA confirmed that it would slash over 120 jobs as part of government cutbacks. 109 of the affected roles came from the former Clean Car Discount, Climate Emergency Response Fund, and Let's Get Wellington Moving projects, which had been cancelled by the National-led coalition government. In early May 2024, NZTA also announced it would cut another 12 roles from its Customer and Services and Digital teams to meet the Government's 7.5% cost cutting target.[21]

Public data access[edit]

NZTA stores registration, licensing and warrant of fitness details for any road-registered vehicle within New Zealand, including cars, motorbikes, trailers, trucks and earthmoving or agricultural machinery. Any member of the public can query NZTA's database by making a request using the licence plate or VIN at an NZ Post outlet, or by using a vehicle checking website.[citation needed]

Road signage[edit]

Road signs in New Zealand fall under the authority of NZTA and are prescribed in the Traffic Control Devices (TCD) Manual.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (28 October 2021). "Pūrongo ā-tau a Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency annual report" (PDF). Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Visual identity guidelines" (PDF). NZ Transport Agency. 23 October 2009. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013. Our name is the NZ Transport Agency. Please don't spell out New Zealand or give 'the' a capital 'T'. Waka Kotahi is the Māori name [...] NZTA is our abbreviated name., superseded by "Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Brand Manual" (PDF). 24 February 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016. "Our name" section A.2 page 5
  3. ^ a b "Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008". New Zealand Legislation. Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  4. ^ "New Transport Agency chief appointed". Land Transport New Zealand. Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  5. ^ "Nats slam transport 'stooges'". The New Zealand Herald. 26 July 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  6. ^ "NZTA Board appointments announced". Press Release: New Zealand Government. 22 July 2011. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Three NZTA directors resign in wake of fall-out over enforcement issues". Stuff.co.nz. 26 January 2019. Archived from the original on 26 January 2019. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Troubled NZTA names interim chief executive". Stuff.co.nz. 20 December 2018. Archived from the original on 27 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  9. ^ "New Chief Executive appointed for Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency | Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency". nzta.govt.nz. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Transport Agency chair Michael Stiassny steps down saying he's done his job". Stuff.co.nz. 26 April 2019. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  11. ^ Twyford, Phil (12 June 2019). "Sir Brian Roche appointed to chair NZTA Board". The Beehive. Archived from the original on 13 June 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  12. ^ Laing, Doug (1 January 2017). "New knight grew up in Hastings". Hawke's Bay Today. ISSN 1170-0777. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Minister instructs Waka Kotahi staff to use English name first". 1 News. TVNZ. 4 December 2023. Archived from the original on 8 December 2023. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  14. ^ "New Director of Land Transport to strengthen regulatory oversight". Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  15. ^ "Waka Kotahi puts funding for cycling, walking and public transport initiatives on hold". Radio New Zealand. 4 November 2023. Archived from the original on 6 December 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  16. ^ "Waka Kotahi to use its English name first after pressure from government". Radio New Zealand. 8 December 2023. Archived from the original on 10 December 2023. Retrieved 10 December 2023.
  17. ^ Martin, Robin (16 December 2023). "Minister pulls brakes on cycling and walking initiatives". Radio New Zealand. Archived from the original on 16 December 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  18. ^ "Let's Get Wellington Moving grinds to a halt". Stuff. 17 December 2023. Archived from the original on 16 December 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  19. ^ "Appointment to the New Zealand Transport Agency Board". New Zealand Gazette. 11 March 2024. Retrieved 15 March 2024.
  20. ^ Pennington, Phil (15 May 2024). "Waka Kotahi pays PWC to meld together technologies, then again to pull them apart". RNZ. Archived from the original on 15 May 2024. Retrieved 16 May 2024.
  21. ^ "NZTA to cut more than 120 jobs, as MPI confirms 391 roles going". RNZ. 16 May 2024. Archived from the original on 16 May 2024. Retrieved 16 May 2024.

External links[edit]