New Zealand soil data

This page is designed to guide you through the soil data 'jungle' and highlight the main soil data sources in New Zealand that are freely accessible at various spatial levels.


There are several reasons why finding the right piece of NZ soil information can be tricky:

  • Data on NZ soils have been collected for more than 100 years, with standards for description, classification and analysis changing over time.
  • There are different types of soil data, and they are made available through a number of systems. All of our soils-related systems are listed in the ‘Tools’ section.
  • A wide variety of actors – universities, crown research institutes (CRIs), regional councils, and consultants – generate soil data. There is not a unified catalogue or register of who holds what soil data available at this time.
  • A first data repository, the National Soils Database (NSD), was introduced by NZ Soil Bureau in the 1980’s, discontinued in 1992 due to funding restrictions, then re-established by Manaaki Whenua as the National Soil Data Repository (NSDR) in 2015. The processing and upload of soil ‘legacy’ data into the NSDR is an ongoing and labour-intensive process.
  • The bulk of New Zealand soil information is collected from private land and is subject to the Privacy Act 2020. This limits the amount of soil data that can be made available to the public.

Missing anything here?

Get in touch with us if you are aware of any NZ soil data sources that are not listed on this page.