This dataset is the major released version of the annually released ward boundaries 1 January 2018, clipped to the coastline.This clipped version contains 232 wards, excluding area outside ward, and has been created for map creation/cartographic purposes and does not fully represent the official full extent boundaries.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. The following table lists the total number of wards by year:YearWard totals1989409199238019953661998332200132820023202003320200432020052862006 v12862006 v2284200728420082752009275201027520112482012248201324820142272015227201622720172322018232Wards are numbered based on their corresponding territorial authority. Each ward has a unique five-digit number. The first three digits represent the territorial authority that the ward lies within. The following two digits are sequential, and represent the number of wards within a territorial authority. For example, Westland District (057) has three wards, which are coded 05701, 05702, and 05703. Several territorial authorities do not use wards. In the data, these territorial authorities use “99” at the end of the ward code, and the descriptor “Area Outside of Ward”. In 2018, the following territorial authorities do not use wards:TA codeTerritorial authority nameWard code024Rotorua District 02499026 Kawerau District02699029Wairoa District02999037Whanganui District03799040Palmerston North City04099045Upper Hutt City04599049Carterton District04999052Nelson City05299054Kaikoura District05499067Chatham Islands Territory06799071Dunedin City07199075Invercargill City 07599Ward boundaries are defined at meshblock level. Digital boundary data became freely available on 1 July 2007.