Case Study – Rail

Auckland City Rail Link

Building customer stewardship highlights:

  • New Zealand’s largest transport project sets a global benchmark for its customer stewardship approach to integrating indigenous culture into the design and delivery of this city transforming project.


Auckland City Rail Link (CRL) is a 3.45km twin- tunnel underground rail link whose construction is due to be completed in 2024. It is New Zealand’s largest transport infrastructure project and includes the redevelopment of Mount Eden Station and development of new underground stations at Wellesley and Victoria Streets, with extension of
the existing rail line through Britomart Station to Albert, Vincent and Pitt Streets.


Customer Stewardship Challenge

The challenge for the CRL project team was to develop the project in a way that fits with the culture, beliefs and traditions of the Mana Whenua, the Māori tribal groups who have these rights in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.
The potential was for the project to not only deliver from a technical engineering perspective, but to contribute socially to the community.



Significantly deeper customer engagement led to better long term outcomes

  • Identified the aspiration to be exemplary in the practice of sustainability – encompassing the four well-beings (environmental, cultural, social 
and economic) with Māori tribal groups (Mana Whenua).
  • Mana Whenua have these rights in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland and have acknowledged the project as fitting with and supporting kaitiakitanga, which translates to guardianship or protection.
  • With an estimated 1600 jobs on offer at peak construction, CRL is targeting employment for Māori, Pasifika and youth along with others who are marginalised in the workforce.
  • To be successful, companies wanting to win contracts for construction will need to demonstrate how they are going to help CRL achieve its social outcomes strategy.

This case study was prepared as part of a thought leadership program at the Better Infrastructure Initiative, John Grill Centre for Project Leadership, University of Sydney in 2017-18.