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 the various spatial levels.

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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 being served through a large number of platforms. All of our soils-related platforms are listed in the ‘Tools’ section.
  • A wide variety of actors – universities, crown research institutes (CRIs), regional councils, and consultants – generate soil data, without a unified catalogue or register being available a 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-initiated by Manaaki Whenua as the National Soil Data Repository (NSDR) in 2015. The processing and upload of soil ‘legacy’ data into NSDR is an ongoing and labour-intensive process.
  • The bulk of soil information is collected from private land and is subject to the Privacy Act 2020, which limits the amount of soil data 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.