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2013 Census meshblock dataset

Icon, 2013 Census – data tables.

2013 Census meshblock dataset contains counts at meshblock and other geographic levels for selected variables from the 2013, 2006, and 2001 Censuses. The geographies correspond to 2013 Census boundaries. The counts are at the highest level of each variable’s classification.

The meshblock dataset is in Excel (.xlxs) and CSV format and can be integrated with analytical or mapping systems (using geographic boundary files), enabling further analysis of census data.  

Note: The meshblock dataset should not be used for cross-tabulation of data. Cross-tabulation of the information in the various fields will lead to inaccurate results.

Correction: A small number of areas with a median income of $0 were shown as suppressed with the '*' symbol (= not able to be calculated).

This affects the variables total personal income, total family income, and total household income for 168 meshblocks and one area unit.

The median income figures were corrected on 9 June 2014 and now display a $0 median income for the areas where this error occurred.

2013 Census meshblock dataset – Excel files

excel icon. Northland Region (16.8MB)
excel icon. Auckland Region (79.2MB)
excel icon. Waikato Region (37.2MB)
excel icon. Bay of Plenty Region (20.9MB)
excel icon. Gisborne Region (7.83MB)
excel icon. Hawkes Bay Region (15.8MB)
excel icon. Taranaki Region (13.9MB)
excel icon. Manawatu-Wanganui Region (24.1MB)
excel icon. Wellington Region (39.6MB)
excel icon. Tasman Region (7.72MB)
excel icon. Nelson Region (7.11MB)
excel icon. Marlborough Region (7.67MB)
excel icon. West Coast Region (7.73MB)
excel icon. Canterbury Region (44.2MB)
excel icon. Otago Region (21.6MB)
excel icon. Southland Region (14.0MB)
excel icon. Area Outside Region (4.59MB)
excel icon. Total New Zealand  (308MB)

2013 Census meshblock dataset – CSV files

excel icon csv  Total New Zealand (37.5MB)

Geographies available

2013 Census meshblock dataset consists of a set of seven Excel workbooks for each regional council area, and a set of Excel workbooks or CSV files for total New Zealand. Each workbook or file contains the following geographies:

  • meshblock
  • area unit
  • ward
  • Auckland local board area (Auckland region only)
  • territorial authority area
  • regional council area.

Variables available

In each set of workbooks or files, the variables are divided as follows:

Individuals (part 1)

  • Census usually resident population count
  • Census night population count
  • Sex
  • Age in five-year age groups
  • Age in broad groups
  • Median age
  • Years at usual residence
  • Usual residence five years ago (2008) indicator
  • Birthplace
  • Years since arrival in New Zealand, for the overseas-born
  • Ethnic groups (grouped total responses)
  • Six languages (total responses)
  • Maori descent

Individuals (part 2)

  • Religious affiliation (total responses)
  • Cigarette smoking behaviour
  • Legally registered relationship status
  • Partnership status in current relationship
  • Tenure holder
  • Number of children born
  • Highest qualification
  • Study participation
  • Total personal income (grouped)
  • Median personal income
  • Sources of personal income (total responses)

Individuals (part 3a)

  • Work and labour force status
  • Status in employment
  • Occupation – ANZSCO major group
  • Occupation – ANZSCO major group, for workplace address
  • Occupation – NZSCO99 major group
  • Occupation – NZSCO99 major group, for workplace address
  • Industry – ANZSIC06 division
  • Industry – ANZSIC06 division, for workplace address
  • Industry – ANZSIC96 division
  • Industry – ANZSIC96 division, for workplace address

Individuals (part 3b)

  • Hours worked in employment per week
  • Main means of travel to work
  • Main means of travel to work, workplace address
  • Unpaid activities (total responses)


  • Total families
  • Family type
  • Total family income (grouped)
  • Median family income
  • Sources of family income (total responses)


  • Total households
  • Household composition
  • Number of usual residents in household
  • Mean number of usual household members
  • Total household income (grouped)
  • Median household income
  • Sources of household income (total responses)
  • Tenure of household
  • Sector of landlord
  • Weekly rent paid
  • Median weekly rent paid
  • Number of motor vehicles to which the household has access
  • Access to telecommunications (total responses)


  • Occupied private dwelling type
  • Dwelling record type (for occupied dwellings)
  • Number of rooms
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Mean number of bedrooms
  • Fuel types used to heat dwelling (total responses)

The dataset uses the most recent version of the variable classifications available at the time of the 2013 Census.

Viewing the files

The tables are downloadable in Excel (.xlxs) format and comma-separated variable (CSV) format. All files are zipped for downloading. They are not suitable for printing. We will periodically review how we provide this data.

Viewing the Excel files

If you can’t open files in .xlxs format, use Convert.files to convert the files to a format that works with your version of Excel. Note that some columns of data may be lost.

If you do not have access to Excel, use the Excel file viewer to view and export the contents of the files.

Searching the dataset for the ‘not able to be calculated’ symbol

To find cells in which the data was not able to be calculated (represented by the ‘*’ symbol), search for ‘~*’.

Viewing the CSV files

CSV is a new format for the meshblock dataset. Please be aware of the following points.

Column headings are the same as for the Excel files, but commas have been removed and spaces have been replaced by underscores.

The CSV files contain:

  • three columns for each geography
  • a code and description column
  • a code-only column
  • a description-only column.

Auckland local board areas are listed at the end of the meshblock dataset. The sum of these areas is already included in the Total New Zealand figures.

The meshblock geographic unit does not have a description field (ie, it is a code-only category), which means the description field is blank.

Some geographies have codes that contain leading zeros. Opening the CSV file in Excel automatically suppresses leading zeros.

You may wish to replace some characters with a numerical value to help you process the data. These characters are:

  • confidentialised cells, represented by ‘..C’
  • data not able to be calculated, represented by ‘*’
  • data not available, represented by ‘..’

Footnotes and symbols are the same as in the Excel files, but commas and hyperlinks have been removed. Footnotes are located at the end of each CSV file, and hyperlinks are available from the corresponding Excel workbook. 

Geographic boundaries and maps

Geographic boundary files 
Download boundaries (in digitised form) for use in geographic information systems (GIS). Get boundaries for meshblocks, area units, wards, community/local board areas, territorial authority areas, and regional council areas in ESRI shapefile, geodatabase and MapInfo tab formats. Boundaries are at a variety of accuracy levels.

Geographic boundary viewer 
View 2013 boundaries, and previous boundaries from 1991 to 2013, on a map.

Examples of geographic boundary layers 
See explanatory information about the geographic areas used by Statistics NZ.

2013 Census map – population and dwelling 
Shows the boundaries used in the 2013 Census, with counts of the population and dwellings down to meshblock level.


Section 37 of the Statistics Act 1975 requires that published statistical information is arranged in a way that prevents the identification of a respondent’s details.

Statistics NZ’s general confidentiality principle is that we do not release any output that might identify the characteristics of a particular person or undertaking. There are eight confidentiality rules pertaining to the release of 2013 Census data.

2013 Census confidentiality rules and how they are applied has details, including changes since 2006.

Data quality

All care has been used in surveying, processing, analysing, and extracting census data for 2013 Census meshblock dataset. However, all data, and in particular data at more detailed geographic levels such as meshblocks and area units, are subject to possible statistical uncertainty, although data is generally not evaluated for this at these finer geographical levels. Known as non-sample error, this uncertainty may result from non-response imputation, reporting difficulties for respondents, or mistakes made during processing survey results, for example. We use procedures to detect and minimise avoidable variation and to eliminate mistakes, but variations may still occur and are not easy to quantify.

The quality management strategy for the 2013 Census assigns a level of priority to each variable: foremost, defining, and supplementary. For example, ‘workplace address’ is a supplementary variable that has a lower status and therefore receives less effort and resource.

For more information, see:

  • 2013 Census information by variable
    Information that helps with understanding census data, covering matters such as non-response rates, comparability over time, and data quality.
  • 2013 Census variable quality rating scale 
    Explains the ratings used to describe the quality of variables output from the 2013 Census.
  • 2013 Census data user guide 
    Outlines how we manage data quality and ensure census data is fit for use. The guide provides information about possible sources of error and links to detailed information on the data quality of individual variables.

Excel files published 25 March 2014
CSV files published 2 April 2014

Page updated 30 September 2014

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