Topics

Concept

Name
Territorial authority
Description

Territorial authorities are the second tier of local government in New Zealand, below regional councils. They are defined under the Local Government Act 2002 as city councils or district councils. Territorial authorities were established in 1989 when 205 territorial local authorities were replaced by 75 territorial authorities. Territorial boundaries must coincide with meshblock boundaries under the Local Government Act 2002.

In 2018, there are 67 territorial authorities: 12 cities, 53 district councils, Auckland Council, and Chatham Islands Council. Five territorial authorities (Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, and the Gisborne, Tasman, and Marlborough district councils) also perform the functions of a regional council and are therefore unitary authorities. The Chatham Islands Council performs some regional council functions.

Territorial authority boundaries are based on community of interest and road access. Some territorial authorities are coterminous with regional council boundaries but there are exceptions. In rural areas where territorial authority boundaries straddle regional council boundaries, SA2s have been created to maintain the statistical geography and administrative area hierarchy. These SA2s each have fewer than 200 residents and are: Arahiwi, Tiroa, Rangataiki, Kaimanawa, Taharua, Te More, Ngamatea, Whangamomona, and Mara.

The standard classification of territorial authority is a flat classification and contains 68 categories (including ‘999 – Area Outside Territorial Authority’). It is released annually on 1 January, and occasionally mid-year, but there are not always changes from the previous classification.

See also ‘Regional council’, ‘Statistical Areas’, ‘Ward’, ‘City’, ‘District’ and ‘Meshblock’ in this definitions group.