Statistical Area 2 2023 (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 2 2023 update

SA2 2023 is the first major update of the geography since it was first created in 2018. The update is to ensure SA2s are relevant and meet criteria before each five-yearly population and dwelling census. SA2 2023 contains 135 new SA2s. Updates were made to reflect real world change of population and dwelling growth mainly in urban areas, and to make some improvements to their delineation of communities of interest.


This dataset is the definitive version of the annually released statistical area 2 (SA2) boundaries as at 1 January 2023 as defined by Stats NZ. This version contains 2,395 SA2s (2,379 digitised and 16 with empty or null geometries (non-digitised)).

SA2 is an output geography that provides higher aggregations of population data than can be provided at the statistical area 1 (SA1) level. The SA2 geography aims to reflect communities that interact together socially and economically. In populated areas, SA2s generally contain similar sized populations.

The SA2 should:

form a contiguous cluster of one or more SA1s,

excluding exceptions below, allow the release of multivariate statistics with minimal data suppression,

capture a similar type of area, such as a high-density urban area, farmland, wilderness area, and water area,

be socially homogeneous and capture a community of interest. It may have, for example:

  • a shared road network,
  • shared community facilities,
  • shared historical or social links, or
  • socio-economic similarity,

form a nested hierarchy with statistical output geographies and administrative boundaries. It must:

  • be built from SA1s,
  • either define or aggregate to define SA3s, urban areas, territorial authorities, and regional councils.

SA2s in city council areas generally have a population of 2,000–4,000 residents while SA2s in district council areas generally have a population of 1,000–3,000 residents.

In major urban areas, an SA2 or a group of SA2s often approximates a single suburb. In rural areas, rural settlements are included in their respective SA2 with the surrounding rural area.

SA2s in urban areas where there is significant business and industrial activity, for example ports, airports, industrial, commercial, and retail areas, often have fewer than 1,000 residents. These SA2s are useful for analysing business demographics, labour markets, and commuting patterns.

In rural areas, some SA2s have fewer than 1,000 residents because they are in conservation areas or contain sparse populations that cover a large area.

To minimise suppression of population data, small islands with zero or low populations close to the mainland, and marinas are generally included in their adjacent land-based SA2.

Zero or nominal population SA2s

To ensure that the SA2 geography covers all of New Zealand and aligns with New Zealand’s topography and local government boundaries, some SA2s have zero or nominal populations. These include:

  • SA2s where territorial authority boundaries straddle regional council boundaries. These SA2s each have fewer than 200 residents and are: Arahiwi, Tiroa, Rangataiki, Kaimanawa, Taharua, Te More, Ngamatea, Whangamomona, and Mara.
  • SA2s created for single islands or groups of islands that are some distance from the mainland or to separate large unpopulated islands from urban areas
  • SA2s that represent inland water, inlets or oceanic areas including: inland lakes larger than 50 square kilometres, harbours larger than 40 square kilometres, major ports, other non-contiguous inlets and harbours defined by territorial authority, and contiguous oceanic areas defined by regional council.
  • SA2s for non-digitised oceanic areas, offshore oil rigs, islands, and the Ross Dependency. Each SA2 is represented by a single meshblock. The following 16 SA2s are held in non-digitised form (SA2 code; SA2 name):

400001; New Zealand Economic Zone, 400002; Oceanic Kermadec Islands, 400003; Kermadec Islands, 400004; Oceanic Oil Rig Taranaki, 400005; Oceanic Campbell Island, 400006; Campbell Island, 400007; Oceanic Oil Rig Southland, 400008; Oceanic Auckland Islands, 400009; Auckland Islands, 400010 ; Oceanic Bounty Islands, 400011; Bounty Islands, 400012; Oceanic Snares Islands, 400013; Snares Islands, 400014; Oceanic Antipodes Islands, 400015; Antipodes Islands, 400016; Ross Dependency.

SA2 numbering and naming

Each SA2 is a single geographic entity with a name and a numeric code. The name refers to a geographic feature or a recognised place name or suburb. In some instances where place names are the same or very similar, the SA2s are differentiated by their territorial authority name, for example, Gladstone (Carterton District) and Gladstone (Invercargill City).

SA2 codes have six digits. North Island SA2 codes start with a 1 or 2, South Island SA2 codes start with a 3 and non-digitised SA2 codes start with a 4. They are numbered approximately north to south within their respective territorial authorities. To ensure the north–south code pattern is maintained, the SA2 codes were given 00 for the last two digits when the geography was created in 2018. When SA2 names or boundaries change only the last two digits of the code will change.

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

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 111227
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 2395 (incl. 16 with empty or null geometries)
Attributes SA22023_V1_00, SA22023_V1_00_NAME, SA22023_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 2 - Browse all revisions
Current revision Imported on Dec. 1, 2022 from Geodatabase in NZGD2000 / New Zealand Transverse Mercator 2000.


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