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Releasing open data on

Have you checked the data for any Personal Information?


Do you know whether you should carry out a full Privacy Impact assessment or not before publicly releasing the data?


Have you decided what you would like others to be able to do with your data and selected an open licence?


NZGOAL (New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing) framework

The New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL) is all-of-government guidance for agencies to follow when releasing copyright works and non-copyright/public domain material for reuse by others. Use this guidance when you intend to release open data.

Learning outcomes

  • Correctly determine which data can be safely released using an open licence.
  • Select the appropriate Creative Commons licence for an agency's data release.
  • Applying the licence at point of release for others to legally reuse the dataset.

Do you work for a government agency and want to enable appropriate re-use of your agency’s material by licensing its copyright works or releasing non-copyright material for re-use? Or are you a New Zealander who would like to know more about NZGOAL and how it all works?

Learn more about NZGOAL here.


What is NZGOAL?

NZGOAL is guidance for agencies to follow when releasing copyright works and non-copyright material for re-use by others.

It aims to standardise the licensing of government copyright works for re-use using Creative Commons licences and recommends statements for non-copyright material.


How can I access the NZGOAL framework?

NZGOAL framework, version 2, Dec 2014

NZGOAL software extension, version 1, July 2016 [PDF 671 KB]


Can I use NZGOAL for software?

NZGOAL has a separate Software Extension (NZGOAL-SE) for licensing and releasing copyright software works under free and open source software licences.

NZGOAL-SE makes use of the General Public Licence (GPL) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) licence, providing software specific guidance for releasing publicly funded software as open source.

NZGOAL-SE guidance

NZGOAL software extension, version 1, July 2016 [PDF 671 KB]


How do I learn more?

NZGOAL guide for users, July 2015

Check out our online training video series which explains and addresses the questions you may have about NZGOAL including the application of appropriate Creative Commons licenses:

NZGOAL online training videos


Help! I still need more information

The series of guidance notes will give you practical assistance to apply NZGOAL. The notes cover website copyright statements, file formats, procuring copyright works, and databases and datasets.

Guidance notes


Contact us

For more assistance, contact



CAB Min (10) 24/25A - New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework [PDF 414 MB]

Cabinet paper - New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework [PDF 2.6 MB]

NZGOAL framework, version 2, December 2014 [PDF 939 KB]

NZGOAL framework, version 2, December 2014 [DOC 1.1 MB]

Letter from the State Services Commissioner to all Public service CEs informing them of NZGOAL [PDF 455 KB]


Last updated 12/10/2016

Have you written a good descriptive Title and Description for your data?
Do you know when your data was created, last updated and how frequently it will be updated?


What metadata should I include with my dataset?

Metadata describes your dataset to others in a standardised way. Having good quality metadata helps people discover and use your dataset. This guidance provides a description and examples of good practice metadata when releasing on

When preparing to release Open Data on you should include the following metadata properties alongside your downloadable data files.

You will also need these same values when you add your dataset to 

There are a number of other technical metadata properties you can submit alongside your dataset on these are covered in full detail in the metadata schema.


The title should be descriptive enough that a member of the public can have a reasonable expectation of its subject. It should be long enough to be informative but short enough to be readily understood in isolation by someone outside your agency – for instance:

‘Production of veneer, plywood, laminated veneer, lumber, particleboard and fibreboard, 1951 to most recent’

Use the dataset title at source (eg on your agency website) for the download link, and as the Title metadata element on 


This should fully describe the contents, purpose, source and structure of the dataset, and (where necessary) include any comments about its quality and reliability. 

For datasets that have a spatial extent (relating to a geospatial or geographic area) or temporal extent (relating to a period of time), note this in the description. 

Include any notes or cautions that may help reusers assess the data’s suitability for their purposes. It may also be appropriate to note the version. 

Use the description at source as the baseline information about the dataset, and as the Description metadata element when listing on 

For a description example, see


Related keywords help others find your dataset, you can list these in your metadata along side your dataset and provide when you list it on  

File formats and resources

If you have your dataset available in multiple formats (CSV, KML, XLS, PDF etc), or want to include accompanying documentation, data dictionaries etc alongside your dataset, you can provide these as separate resources in your dataset in the data portal.

Each file can include:

  • the location you have uploaded the file publicly
  • a title and optional description
  • the file format ( will try to automatically determine the file type if you leave this blank)



Provide a named contact point, telephone number or email address (ideally both) for queries about the dataset, both at source. 


The dates of creation of the original dataset (where known) and its last update should be provided. If not known, the date of last update may be available in the metadata of the file containing the data. 

Frequency of update 

If the dataset is refreshed at regular intervals, indicate this in your metadata. If the Frequency of Update options on don’t apply, provide this information in the Description.  


Provide the name and URL of the Creative Commons license you are using to make the data available for legal reuse by others. For example, "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International" would link to .

If you are not using a Creative Commons licence or have your own terms of use for your dataset then provide this separately in a "Rights" property or in your metadata description and leave out the "License" property. 


If you have a custom license, certain conditions or caveats for use of your dataset that aren’t in a standard open license then you can list these in a separate "Rights" property or include in your dataset description. This helps users understand that there are some aspects of the dataset to be aware of when being reused that are not covered by a standard open license. 

Have you got a point of contact or data maintainer email address for your dataset?


What is a data custodian and what do they do?

To make sure data and information is maintained, there will often be a data custodian responsible for updating and preserving the data. Under the New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles, agency data custodians should implement recommended practices to support well managed data.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand what a data custodian is.
  • Understand the responsibilities of the data custodian.

The New Zealand Data and Information Management Principles were developed to ensure high quality management of the information the government holds on behalf of the public.

Under the Well Managed principle, agencies, as the stewards of government-held data and information, must provide and require good practices which manage the data and information over their life-cycle, including catering for technological obsolescence and long-term preservation and access.

A custodian would be responsible for making sure that their agency’s data was accessible and maintained, as guided by the Well Managed principle.

They also act at the contact person for queries or requests about the data. It is recommended that a named contact point, telephone number or email address (ideally both) is listed in the metadata of your dataset: What metadata should I include with my dataset?

Do you have documentation to help users understand what the values in your dataset mean?


What file format is your data in?
Is your data available in both human and machine readable file format?


Have you made your data files publicly accessible?

Publicly accessible data files

So that others can access and download your data files you will need to make these available publicly on the internet.

Options include:

  • On your agency's website
  • In another data portal your agency maintains (as long as it's publicly accessable)
  • Hosted on's catalogue (contact for more information on this option)

Geo-spatial portals

Because you are looking to release a geo-spatial dataset you may also want to look at some of the available options for hosting and servicng these types of files:

  • Koordaintes
  • Arc Gis Open Data portal
  • Geonetwork

Most of the common geo-spatial options offer a level of automatic updates to

Have you (or someone in your agency) applied for a Publisher Account?


What is a publisher account and how do I apply?

Government agencies can publish and update their datasets on the catalogue by applying for a publisher account.

A publisher account allows you to add datasets to, and edit existing datasets, and metadata, on behalf of your agency.

Eligible agencies is the central catalogue of Government Open Data in New Zealand including data from:

  • Central Government
  • Local and regional Government
  • Tertiary education institutions
  • Crown entities

Other data releasing organisations can also apply for a publisher account - contact us to discuss your needs.


How to apply

To apply online, you will need to provide:

  • your name
  • the agency you will be publishing on behalf of
  • your work email address

You will also need to agree to the Publisher Terms and Conditions and the General Terms and Conditions of using

The team will confirm with you what kind of data you’ll be publishing, so we can tailor our guidance, before working with you to add and manage datasets on


Where to apply

If you need to publish and maintain your agencies data on, and do not yet have a publisher account:


Apply for publisher account


Once you have a publisher account, you’ll be able to login from the Publisher login link from the bottom of


Ready to publish

You should have everything you need to release an open dataset on's catalogue.

A final checklist is available on the next step of this guide.