This dataset is the provisional 2023 dataset for Ward. The final 2023 layer is scheduled to be published on 8 December 2022 as part of the annual boundary release.The intention of providing this provisional dataset is to make available the boundaries that will be used for the local body elections being held in October 2022.This dataset is the provisional set of ward boundaries for 2023 as defined by the territorial authorities and/or Local Government Commission but maintained by Stats NZ (the custodian). This version contains 224 wards (excluding Area Outside Ward).Wards were originally set up within any territorial authority with a population of at least 20,000. Wards are defined under the Local Electoral Act 2001 and result from dividing a territorial authority for electoral purposes. The ward system was designed to allow for the recognition of communities within a territorial authority and to increase community involvement in the local government system.Territorial authorities can now choose whether they would like to maintain electoral wards. As a result, the number of wards has steadily decreased since they were first created in 1989. Ward boundaries are reviewed in the year before the three-yearly local government elections.If a territorial authority decides to have a Māori ward, the wards within the council are known as generalwards and Māori wards.Names are provided with and without tohutō/macrons. The name field without macrons is suffixed ‘ascii’.