This dataset is the definitive set of territorial authority boundaries for 2022 as defined by the Local Government Commission and/or the territorial authorities themselves but maintained by Stats NZ (the custodian). A territorial authority is defined under the Local Government Act 2002 as a city or a district council. There are 67 territorial authorities in New Zealand. This total reflects the amalgamation of the seven territorial authorities (Rodney District, North Shore City, Waitakere City, Auckland City, Manukau City, Papakura District, and Franklin District) into one Auckland Council in 2010.Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. The 67 territorial authorities comprise 13 city councils including the Auckland council, 53 district councils, and the Chatham Islands Territory. Some territorial authority boundaries are coterminous with regional council boundaries but there are several exceptions. An example is Taupo District, which is split between four regions, although most of its area falls within the Waikato Region. When defining the boundaries of territorial authorities, the Local Government Commission bases considerable weight on the ‘community of interest’. Territorial authorities are defined at meshblock level. Statistical area 1 and statistical area 2 geographies nest within territorial authority boundariesThe following table describes significant changes to the territorial authority boundaries and functions:YearChanges1989New Zealand’s local government structural arrangements were significantly reformed by the Local Government Commission in 1989. Prior to reformation there were 205 territorial local authorities: 28 cities, 78 boroughs, 67 counties, 31 districts, and 1 town district, as well as a multitude of ad-hoc authorities such as pest control boards, drainage boards, catchment boards, and domain and reserve boards.These were replaced by 74 territorial local authorities, 15 of which were cities and 58 districts. The exception was Chatham Islands County which retained its county status.1990Invercargill was proclaimed a city.1992Nelson-Marlborough Regional Council was abolished by a Local Government Amendment Act. Kaikoura District was transferred to the Canterbury Region. Nelson City, and Tasman and Marlborough districts became unitary authorities. 1995The Chatham Islands County was dissolved and reconstituted by a specific Act of Parliament as the "Chatham Islands Territory", with powers similar to those of territorial authorities and some functions similar to those of a regional council. This included the addition of territorial sea, a coastal buffer extending to twelve nautical miles from the coastline.1995Tasman District boundary extended to align with the Tasman Region boundary at the 12-mile limit.1998Not Applicable category changed to Area Outside Territorial Authority2004Tauranga District changed to Tauranga City.2006Banks Peninsula District merged into Christchurch City as a result of a Local Government Commission decision following a 2005 referendum. 2010Auckland Council established under the Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Act 2009. Rodney District, North Shore City, Waitakere City, Auckland City, Manukau City, Papakura District, and Franklin District territorial councils, and the Auckland Regional Council, were abolished to become a unitary authority known as the Auckland Council. The area now consists of one city council (with statutory provision for three Maori councillors), 13 wards, and 21 local boards.2015Wanganui District Council name changed to Whanganui District Council effective 1 December 2015.2020Otorohanga District Council amended to Ōtorohanga District Council under schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002.Opotiki District Council amended to Ōpōtiki District Council underschedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002.2021A local government reorganisation transferred land between two territorial authorities, Western Bay of Plenty District and Tauranga City. The changes took effect on 19 February 2021 under schedule 3 of the Local Government Act 2002. Refer to the New Zealand Gazette notice for further details.Names are provided with and without tohutō/macrons. The column name for those without macrons is suffixed ‘ascii’.Digital boundary data became freely available on 1 July 2007.
Territorial authorities 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 enumeration processes easier. From the meshblock pattern, higher geographies, including the 2022 territorial authority pattern, were dissolved using the dissolve tool in the Arc GIS suite. To derive the territorial authorities boundaries clipped to the coastline, meshblock polygons were dissolved to exclude meshblocks with a land/water attribute of Inlet or Oceanic.
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