Note: this guideline is issued by the Surveyor-General under section 7(1)(ga) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002 about the Rules for Cadastral Survey 2010 and is not legally binding.

The following information relates to rule 6.1 and the surveyor’s duty to gather and interpret relevant evidence and to determine the correct location of a boundary that is being defined by survey.

Evidence relevant to survey definition to be considered by surveyor

Rule 6.1(a) requires a surveyor to 'gather all evidence relevant to the definition of the boundary and its boundary points'.  Examples of relevant evidence may include:

  • documentary evidence - commonly survey and title records,
  • physical evidence - commonly reliable survey marks and fixed structures or other occupational details on the site, and
  • photographic, oral, or any other form of evidence that may have a legal relevance to the definition.

Enactments and rules of law to be considered by surveyor

Rule 6.1(b) requires a surveyor to 'interpret that evidence in accordance with all relevant enactments and rules of law'.

Relevant enactments include statutes, and subsidiary items including regulations, rules and rulings, particular to that survey. Common examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Cadastral Survey Act 2002
  • Land Transfer Act 2017
  • Conservation Act 1987
  • Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993
  • Canterbury Property Boundaries and Related Matters Act 2016
  • Surveyor-General's Rules and Rulings
  • RGL standards and guidelines.

Other rules of law include common law precedent such as the 'hierarchy of evidence' and the 'doctrine of accretion and erosion' as well as case law (which includes judicial precedent and court decisions from individual cases).

Interpreting unmarked boundary points

Where the original CSD created a boundary point as an unmarked point, its witness mark and its relationship to that boundary point will normally determine the location of the boundary.  This principle continues to apply even in the case where the boundary point has been subsequently marked at a later date.

Interpreting accuracy of vectors

Historically, there was often no difference in the accuracy of traverse vectors and boundary vectors as boundaries were often traversed.  Adopted boundary vectors were therefore usually used for the purpose of defining a boundary position.  

Adoption of boundary vectors created under the 2010 rules may not be suitable as the boundary accuracy standard for boundary vectors [r 3.3.1] is less than the survey accuracy standard [r 3.1]. 

To reliably re-establish a boundary position, the network of non-boundary marks will normally provide the most accurate solution.

Interpreting 'old peg no record'

The evidential value of 'old peg no record' has been clarified in the Rules by the inclusion of definitions for old survey mark and old boundary mark.

This means that, where a mark is found but its presence is not already recorded on a CSD that has been integrated into the cadastre, this mark must be treated as a new survey mark with little evidential value beyond that of information on occupation.

Duty to correctly locate boundary

Rule 6.1(c) requires a surveyor to 'use that evidence to correctly locate the boundary and boundary points in relation to other boundaries and boundary points'.  This requirement applies to new boundaries as well as to existing boundaries and therefore the correct relationship between old and new boundaries.

Witness marks required for primary parcel boundary points 'defined by survey'

Rule 7.3.1(a) requires each boundary point on a primary parcel boundary that is defined by survey to have at least one witness mark and the accuracy between the boundary point and the witness mark must meet the accuracy tolerances of rule 3.6.

Level of evidence in CSD when defining by survey

Where a new boundary point, including a non-primary parcel boundary point, is unmarked the vector information in the CSD is the evidence of the boundary point location.

For existing boundary points, a surveyor will need to exercise judgment as to the extent of evidence necessary to provide the highest level of confidence that a boundary position has been correctly defined by survey.

  • In the case of an existing boundary point, the best evidence is normally an undisturbed old boundary mark.
  • Irrespective of this, where the underlying survey is considered to be adequate and connection has been made to that survey, the use of adoptions (either along the boundary or from other non-boundary marks into the boundary) may be judged by the surveyor to adequately define by survey the boundary point.  In other words, the evidence is considered, in the professional opinion of the surveyor, to be sufficient to ensure that a mark could have been reliably placed at the boundary position indicated by the adopted information, had the surveyor chosen to do that.  The boundary point is 'defined by survey’; the proof is by the use of adoptions.

In some cases the adopted information cannot be relied upon, as it either does not comply with the accuracy standards or there is more substantive evidence. The relevant evidence here could be the resultant re-calculations.

Boundary point purpose and mark state information in CSD

To ensure the level of evidence used by the surveyor is clearly recorded in a CSD, the CSD will need to indicate the boundary mark purpose as 'defined by survey' and indicate the mark state as:

  • 'old' where a reliable old boundary mark is found, 
  • 'new' where an existing boundary point is marked, or
  • 'adopted' where an existing boundary point is not marked.
Last Updated: 12 November 2018
Authority: Surveyor-General - Section 7(1)(ga) of the Cadastral Survey Act 2002
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