Territorial Authority 2023 (generalised)


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30 Nov 2022

This dataset was first added to Stats NZ Geographic Data Service on 30 Nov 2022.

This dataset is the definitive version of the annually released territorial authority boundaries as at 1 January 2023 as defined by territorial authorities and/or Local Government Commission, and maintained by Stats NZ (the custodian). This version contains 67 territorial authorities, excluding ‘area outside territorial authority’.

Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. They are defined under schedule 2, part 1 of the Local Government Act 2002 as city councils or district councils. Territorial authorities were established in 1989 when 205 territorial local authorities were replaced by 75 territorial authorities. Territorial boundaries must coincide with meshblock boundaries under schedule 3, clause 17 of the Local Government Act 2002.

There are 67 territorial authorities: 12 city councils, 53 district councils, Auckland Council, and Chatham Islands Council. Five territorial authorities (Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, and the Gisborne, Tasman, and Marlborough district councils) also perform the functions of a regional council and are therefore unitary authorities. The Chatham Islands Council performs some regional council functions.

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, statistical area 2 and statistical area 3 geographies nest within territorial authority boundaries.


Local government boundaries may be changed through the Local Government Act 2002, an Act of Parliament, or a natural process such as the middle line of a river changing its natural course.

The Territorial Authority classification is released annually on 1 January to coincide with the update of meshblocks, but there are not always changes from the previous classification.


New 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.


Invercargill was proclaimed a city.


Nelson-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.


The 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.


Tasman District boundary extended to align with the Tasman Region boundary at the 12-mile limit.


Not Applicable category changed to Area Outside Territorial Authority


Tauranga District changed to Tauranga City.2006:Banks Peninsula District merged into Christchurch City as a result of a Local Government Commission decision following a 2005 referendum.


Auckland 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 Māori councillors), 13 wards, and 21 local boards.


Wanganui District Council name changed to Whanganui District Council effective 1 December 2015.


Otorohanga District Council name amended to Ōtorohanga District Council.

Opotiki District Council name amended to Ōpōtiki District Council.

Both changes were under schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 2002 and effective 17 January 2020.


A 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.


The territorial authority classification is a flat classification. Territorial authorities are given a unique three-digit code. The classification contains 68 categories (including ‘999 – Area Outside Territorial Authority’).

Generalised version

This generalised version has been simplified for rapid drawing and is designed for thematic or web mapping purposes.


Names are provided with and without tohutō/macrons. The column name for those without macrons is suffixed ‘ascii’.

Digital data

Digital boundary data became freely available on 1 July 2007.

To download geographic classifications in table formats such as CSV please use Ariā


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

You may use this work for commercial purposes.

You must attribute the creator in your own works.

Technical Details
Layer ID 111194
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 68
Attributes TA2023_V1_00, TA2023_V1_00_NAME, TA2023_V1_00_NAME_ASCII, LAND_AREA_SQ_KM, AREA_SQ_KM, Shape_Length
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed
Added 30 Nov 2022
Revisions 4 - Browse all revisions
Current revision Imported on Nov. 30, 2022 from Geodatabase in NZGD2000 / New Zealand Transverse Mercator 2000.


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