Administrative Boundaries define the spatial extent of legislative, regulatory, electoral, statistical and maritime geographic areas.

The datasets depict national, regional and local boundaries that can be used in visualising geospatial information within the areas defined by the relevant boundaries. In addition, Administrative Boundaries can also be used to aggregate information for analytical purposes that support planning and reporting.

What datasets make up the administrative boundaries theme?

  • Statistics New Zealand
    • Meshblocks
    • Area Units
    • Territorial Authority (TA) and Regional Council (RC) boundaries
    • General and Maori Electoral boundaries
    • Community Boards and  Wards
    • Health Boards
  • NZ Localities
    • NZ Localities
    • Major Localities
    • Administrative Coastline
  • NZ Post
    • Postcodes
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
    • Fisheries quota management boundaries
    • CCAMLR (Antarctica) management boundaries
  • Emergency Services
    • Administrative boundaries (Police, Fire, Ambulance Regions and Districts)
    • Response boundaries (Fire and Ambulance)
    • Fire Jurisdiction
  • Natural Resources Sector
    • Environmental management and monitoring boundaries
  • Public Service Agencies
    • Agency specific administrative boundaries
    • International and offshore boundaries
  • Emergency Services
    • Administrative boundaries (Police, Fire, Ambulance Regions and Districts)
    • Response boundaries (Fire and Ambulance)
    • Fire Jurisdiction

What is the purpose of the administrative boundaries theme?

The Administrative Boundaries theme is used to visualise administrative areas that represent voting districts, redistributions, zoning, socio-economic analysis, regional planning, service distribution and local and state government boundaries.

In addition, Administrative Boundaries can also be used to aggregate information for analytical purposes and geographically stable boundaries (over time) can be used to establish and analyse time series trends. Administrative boundary data in combination with geo-coded address data, demographic information and agency specific business information underpins the ability to perform high quality spatial analysis.

The aggregation and analysis of data includes:

  • Evidence-based development and assessment of government policy.
  • Providing the ability to undertake spatial accounting.
  • Regional analysis for government, health, education, business and a range of other purposes.
  • Support for emergency management.
  • Market catchment analysis, micromarketing, customer analysis and market segmentation.

Current status

Statistics New Zealand are the steward of Meshblocks, from which a number of other datasets are derived. A meshblock is the smallest geographic area at which statistical data can be aggregated and released, in order to protect identification of individuals. Meshblocks are maintained in LandOnline by LINZ, although Statistics NZ are investigating options to take over the custodianship. The meshblock dataset is released annually.

The New Zealand Fire Service, in conjunction with New Zealand Post and Quotable Value, maintains the NZ Localities dataset. The dataset conforms to a set of business rules based around identifying common communities of interest, in order to enable unique identification of address for postal, geocoding, and emergency service uses.  Boundaries are generally coincident with either cadastral parcel boundaries or topographic features such as ridgelines. The dataset has become the default suburbs dataset for New Zealand. The dataset is not openly available under Creative Commons licensing, but is available for free on request, and is updated frequently.

Postcodes are maintained by NZ Post and designed to improve bulk mail efficiencies. They are loosely built on the NZ Localities dataset, but purposely do not relate to communities of interest. NZ Post sell the dataset under an annual licence.

International boundaries, including the territorial sea baseline, 12 mile limit, Exclusive Economic Zone, and negotiated boundaries, are maintained by LINZ, however, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for any negotiations and treaties.

Many other agencies maintain boundary datasets specific to their own requirements, generally independently from other boundary datasets. Some may be based on other datasets like cadastral boundaries or meshblocks, while others may follow topographic features. Some are roughly drawn and do not relate to any feature or dataset.

Future status

Meshblocks continue to be well maintained and openly available to support statistical uses.

Territorial Authorities officially define suburb names and suburb boundaries (but not using meshblocks as a base. Meshblocks often follow road centrelines making them unsuitable for defining communities of interest), and these are incorporated into the NZ Localities dataset to provide an authoritative suburb and locality boundaries dataset to support geocoding and addressing purposes.

Derived administrative boundaries datasets are built on an appropriate base dataset, and align vertically (vertical topology) with all other datasets built off the same base dataset.

Identify and capture/add new administrative boundary information as identified and based on a prioritised list.


  • AS/NZS ISO 19115.1:2015 Geographic information - Metadata - Part 1: Fundamentals
  • ANZLIC Metadata Profile Version 1.1 of AS/NZS ISO 19115:2003
  • AS/NZS ISO 19131:2008 Geographic Information – Data product specifications
  • Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Feature Service (WFS) Implementation Specification 1.1.0 (OGC Document No. 04-094)
  • Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS) Implementation Specification 1.3.0 (OGC Document No. 06-042)
  • AS/NZS ISO 19157:2015 Geographic information - Data quality
Last Updated: 7 October 2015