U–Pb detrital zircon ages (LAM-ICPMS) are reported for 20 greywackes and sandstones from seven major tectonostratigraphic terranes of the Eastern Province of New Zealand (Cretaceous to Carboniferous) to constrain sediment provenances. Samples are mainly from three time horizons: Late Permian, Late Triassic and Late Jurassic. Age datasets are analysed as percentages in geological intervals, and in histogram and cumulative probability diagrams. The latter discriminate significant zircon age components in terms of terrane, sample stratigraphic age, component age, precision and percentage (of total set). Zircon age distributions from all samples have persistent, large Triassic–Permian, and very few Devonian–Silurian, populations, features which exclude a sediment provenance from the early Palaeozoic, Lachlan Fold Belt of southeast Australia or continuations in New Zealand and Antarctica. In the accretionary terranes, significant Palaeozoic (and Precambrian) zircon age populations are present in Torlesse and Waipapa terranes, and variably in Caples terrane. In the fore-arc and back-arc terranes, a unimodal character persists in Murihiku and Brook Street terranes, while Dun Mountain–Maitai terrane is more variable, and with Caples terrane, displays a hybrid character. Required extensive Triassic–Permian zircon sources can only be found within the New England Fold Belt and Hodgkinson Province of northeast Australia, and southward continuations to Dampier Ridge, Lord Howe Rise and West Norfolk Ridge (Tasman Sea). Small but significant Palaeozoic (and Precambrian) age components in the accretionary terranes (plus Dun Mountain–Maitai terrane), have sources in hinterlands of the New England Fold Belt, in particular to mid-Palaeozoic granite complexes in NE Queensland, and Carboniferous granite complexes in NE New South Wales. Major and minor components place sources (1) for the older Torlesse (Rakaia) terrane, in NE Queensland, and (2) for Waipapa terrane, in NE New South Wales, with Dun Mountain–Maitai and Caples terrane sources more inshore and offshore, respectively. In Early Jurassic–Late Cretaceous, Torlesse (Pahau) and Waipapa terranes, there is less continental influence, and more isolated, offshore volcanic arc sources are suggested. There is local input of plutonic rock detritus into Pahau depocentres from the Median Batholith in New Zealand, or its northward continuation on Lord Howe Rise. Excepting Murihiku and Brook Street terranes, all others are suspect terranes, with depocentres close to the contemporary Gondwanaland margin in NE Australia, and subsequent margin-parallel, tectonic transport to their present New Zealand position. This is highlighted by a slight southeastward migration of terrane depocentres with time. Murihiku and Brook Street terrane sources are more remote from continental influences and represent isolated offshore volcanic depocentres, perhaps in their present New Zealand position.