This dataset is the definitive set of regional council boundaries for 2012 as defined by the Local Government Commission and/or the territorial authorities themselves but maintained by Statistics New Zealand (who are the custodian).
The region is the top tier of local government in New Zealand. There are 16 regions of New Zealand (Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002). Eleven are governed by an elected regional council, while five are governed by territorial authorities (the second tier of local government) who also perform the functions of a regional council and thus are known as unitary authorities. These unitary authorities are Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, Gisborne, Tasman, and Marlborough District Councils. The Chatham Islands Council also perform some of the functions of a regional council, but is not strictly a unitary authority. Unitary authorities act as regional councils for the purposes of a wide range of Acts and regulations. Regional council areas are based on water catchment areas. Regional councils are responsible for the administration of many environmental and public transport matters.
Regional Councils were established in 1989 after the abolition of the 22 local government regions. The local government act 2002, requires the boundaries of regions to confirm as far as possible to one or more water catchments. When determining regional boundaries, the local Government commission gave consideration to regional communities of interest when selecting water catchments to included in a region. It also considered factors such as natural resource management, land use planning and environmental matters. Some regional boundaries are conterminous with territorial authority boundaries but there are many exceptions. An example is Taupo District, which is split between four regions, although most of its area falls within the Waikato Region. Where territorial local authorities straddle regional council boundaries, the affected area have been statistically defined in complete area units. Generally regional councils contain complete territorial authorities.
The unitary authority of the Auckland Council was formed in 2010, under the Local Government (Tamaki Makarau Reorganisation) Act 2009, replacing the Auckland Regional Council and seven territorial authorities.
The seaward boundary of any costal regional council is the twelve mile New Zealand territorial limit.
Regional councils are defined at meshblock and area unit level.
Regional Councils included in the 2012 digital pattern are:
Regional Council Code
Regional Council Name
Bay of Plenty Region
Hawke's Bay Region
West Coast Region
Area Outside Region
As at 1stJuly 2007, Digital Boundary data became freely available.
Point Of Contact
Electronic Mail Address
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Topic Category Code
Version 6.2 (Build 9200) ; Esri ArcGIS 10.8.1.14362
Data Quality Info
DQ _ Data Quality
LI _ Lineage
Regional council boundaries are based on the meshblock pattern. Non-alignment of meshblock and cadastral boundaries are one of a number of reasons for meshblock boundary adjustments. Other reasons include requests from local authorities, Local Government Commission, Electoral Representation Commission and to make Census of Population and Dwellings enumeration processes easier. Once all changes are prepared, Statistics NZ then passes the requests for changes to the meshblock pattern onto LINZ for the electronic changes to take place. To Derive the area unit boundaries clipped to the coastline, meshblock polygons were dissolved to include or exclude land/water attributes attached to each meshblock. From the meshblock pattern, higher geographies, including the 2011 Regional council pattern were dissolved using the dissolve tool in the Arc GIS suite to create multiple output datasets.