Permian to middle Cretaceous strata in New Zealand can be genetically grouped into at least four tectonostratigraphic terranes. Each terrane is lithostratigraphically distinct, yet paleogeographic analyses indicate that each terrane is only part of a once larger geologic entity. The present distribution of terranes is inferred to represent accretionary processes along the margin of Gondwanaland. Accretion seems to have occurred intermittently until middle Cretaceous time, and accretion was immediately supplemented by rifting that broke New Zealand away from the Australia and Antarctica part of Gondwanaland. The terranes have been severed by Tertiary slip on the Alpine fault.