Meshblocks are the smallest geographic units and are updated annually by Stats NZ. Meshblocks are not named and have seven-digit codes. A meshblock is a defined geographic area, varying in size from part of a city block to a large area of rural land. Meshblocks are contiguous: each meshblock borders on another to form a network covering all of New Zealand, including coasts and inlets. The meshblock classification extends out to New Zealand’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and is digitised to the 12-mile (19.3km) limit. Meshblocks have an ideal size range of 30–60 dwellings (around 60–120 residents).
The primary purposes of the meshblock classification are:
- to provide a small, relevant and flexible building block geography for aggregation into other statistical geographies
- to ensure geographic boundaries can be physically identified and located on the ground by alignment with geographic or physical features, or with the cadastre
- as the lowest-level building block, to form the basis of New Zealand’s electoral system, by which it defines electorates and polling areas for both parliamentary and local government elections.
At the time of the 2018 Census, there were 53,589 meshblocks in New Zealand.
See also ‘Territorial authority’, ‘Regional council’, ‘Urban area’, ‘Major urban area’, ‘Large urban area’, ‘Medium urban area’, ‘Small urban area’, ‘Community board’, ‘Local boards’, ‘Ward’, and ‘Statistical areas’ in this definitions group.