Statistical Area 3 2023 Clipped (generalised)


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01 Dec 2022

This dataset was first added to Stats NZ Geographic Data Service on 01 Dec 2022.

Statistical area 3 (SA3) is a new output geography, introduced in 2023, that allows aggregations of population data between the SA2 geography and territorial authority geography.

This dataset is the definitive version of the annually released statistical area 3 (SA3) boundaries as at 1 January 2023 as defined by Stats NZ. This version contains 929 SA3s, including 4 non-digitised SA3s.

The SA3 geography aims to meet three purposes:

  1. approximate suburbs in major, large, and medium urban areas,
  2. in predominantly rural areas, provide geographical areas that are larger in area and population size than SA2s but smaller than territorial authorities,
  3. minimise data suppression.

SA3s in major, large, and medium urban areas were created by combining SA2s to approximate suburbs as delineated in the Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) Localities dataset. Some of the resulting SA3s have very large populations.

Outside of major, large, and medium urban areas, SA3s generally have populations of 5,000–10,000. These SA3s may represent either a single small urban area, a combination of small urban areas and their surrounding rural SA2s, or a combination of rural SA2s.

Zero or nominal population SA3s

To minimise the amount of unsuppressed data that can be provided in multivariate statistical tables, SA2s with fewer than 1,000 residents are combined with other SA2s wherever possible to reach the 1,000 SA3 population target. However, there are still a number of SA3s with zero or nominal populations.

Small population SA2s designed to maintain alignment between territorial authority and regional council geographies are merged with other SA2s to reach the 5,000–10,000 SA3 population target. These merges mean that some SA3s do not align with regional council boundaries but are aligned to territorial authority.

Small population island SA2s are included in their adjacent land-based SA3.

Island SA2s outside territorial authority or region are the same in the SA3 geography.

Inland water SA2s are aggregated and named by territorial authority, as in the urban rural classification.

Inlet SA2s are aggregated and named by territorial authority or regional council where the water area is outside the territorial authority.

Oceanic SA2s translate directly to SA3s as they are already aggregated to regional council.

The 16 non-digitised SA2s are aggregated to the following 4 non-digitised SA3s (SA3 code; SA3 name):

70001; Oceanic outside region, 70002; Oceanic oil rigs, 70003; Islands outside region, 70004; Ross Dependency outside region.

SA3 numbering and naming

Each SA3 is a single geographic entity with a name and a numeric code. The name refers to a suburb,recognised place name, or portion of a territorial authority. In some instances where place names are the same or very similar, the SA3s are differentiated by their territorial authority, for example, Hillcrest (Hamilton City) and Hillcrest (Rotorua District).

SA3 codes have five digits. North Island SA3 codes start with a 5, South Island SA3 codes start with a 6 and non-digitised SA3 codes start with a 7. They are numbered approximately north to south within their respective territorial authorities. When first created in 2023, the last digit of each code was 0. When SA3 boundaries change in future, only the last digit of the code will change to ensure the north-south pattern is maintained.

For more information please refer to the Statistical standard for geographic areas 2023.

Clipped version

This clipped version has been created for cartographic purposes and so does not fully represent the official full extent boundaries.


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 111204
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 873
Attributes SA32023_V1_00, SA32023_V1_00_NAME, SA32023_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), Atom Feed
Added 1 Dec 2022
Revisions 1 - Browse all revisions
Current revision Imported on Dec. 1, 2022 from Geodatabase in NZGD2000 / New Zealand Transverse Mercator 2000.


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