Describing soils

Genetic Soil Classification (NZG)

Pioneer New Zealand soil scientist, Norman Taylor, developed the NZG

Soil classification on a comprehensive national scale was not developed until 1948. The pioneer New Zealand soil scientist, Norman Taylor, developed the New Zealand Genetic Classification that recognised "soil groups" and related them to the environmental factors that most influenced their character (Taylor 1948; Taylor and Pohlen 1962, 1968). Knowledge of these relationships helped the prediction of soil classes from observations of geology, landscape, climate and vegetation. Such predictions enabled rapid progress in the broad-scale exploratory mapping of New Zealand soils.

Taylor & Pohlen (1962) provide the best introduction to the NZ Genetic Classification (pages 155-174). More details for each individual Soil Group are presented in a publication series issued by the New Zealand Society of Soil Science (NZSSS).

By the late 1970s, Taylor's New Zealand Genetic Soil Classification was becoming outdated. Soil classes were vaguely defined so that only experts could easily identify the correct class for many soils. The relationships between soils and environment that were useful at a broad scale were less useful for making soil maps at more detailed scales.


NZSSS Soil Group publications:
Part 1: Yellow-Brown Pumice Soils | Part 2: Yellow-Brown Sands | Part 3: Gley Soils | Part 4: Organic Soils | Part 5: Podzols and Gley Podzols | Part 6: Yellow-Brown Loams | Part 7: Yellow-Grey Earths | Part 8: Recent Soils

Taylor, N.H. 1948: Soil Map of New Zealand, 1:2,027,520 scale. DSIR, Wellington.
Download pdf of map (8.4 MB)

Taylor, N.H.; Pohlen, I.J. 1962: Soil Survey Method. N.Z. Soil Bureau Bulletin 25. 242 p.
Download pdfs: Part 1 (10.7 MB) | Part 2 (10.3 MB)

Taylor, N.H.; Pohlen, I.J. 1968: Classification of New Zealand soils. Pp.15–33
in: Soils of New Zealand, Part 1. N.Z. Soil Bureau Bulletin 26(1). 142 p., with
1:1 000 000 scale soil map of New Zealand. DSIR, Wellington.
Download pdf (5.0 MB)