The NZGB Act of 2008 provides a framework for the Board's powers, functions and duties.

Official naming of geographic features was previously guided by the New Zealand Geographic Board Act 1946 (repealed).

Following a review of this legislation and public consultation, the government decided to replace the 1946 Act with new legislation that modernises official place naming and the role of the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa (NZGB). The new legislation is the New Zealand Geographic Board (Nga Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa) Act 2008.

In confirming the NZGB's powers, functions and duties, and extending our jurisdiction, the 2008 Act provides a framework for New Zealand’s official place naming into the 21st Century.

The 2008 Act repeals the 1946 legislation and came into force on 1 November 2008 (excluding sections 32 and 33 of the Act, which require agencies to use official place names in official documents).