New Zealand Soil Classification (NZSC)

The NZSC was developed in the 1980s

The NZSC classification grew out of the New Zealand Genetic Soil Classification and, where possible, preserved its useful features. The system was also influenced by local experience in testing the United States soil classification system.

Current System

The top three levels of the NZSC classification - order, group, and subgroup - are defined by Hewitt (2010), the fourth and fifth levels (family and sibling) by Webb and Lilburne (2011). The fourth level (soilforms) by Clayden and Webb (1994) were replaced by the family and sibling.

The current approach to drainage classes is highlighted here.

The resulting classification represents the best attempt to classify New Zealand soils, at our current state of knowledge. As knowledge and understanding of soils grows, further revisions will be necessary.

NZSC structure
Classification key for soil orders
Horizon notations and diagnostic characteristics
The formation of New Zealand soils