Famennian Stage

New Zealand geologic time scale

While also using the international Geologic time scale, many nations - especially those with isolated and therefore non-standard prehistories - use their own system of dividing geologic time into epochs and faunal stages.

In New Zealand, these epochs and stages use local place names (mainly Maori in origin) back to the Permian. Prior to this time, they largely use the same terms as used in the Australian geologic time scale, and are not divided into epochs. In practice, these early terms are rarely used, as most New Zealand geology is of more recent origin. In all cases, New Zealand uses the same periods as used internationally; it is only the subdivisions of these periods that have been renamed. Very few epochs and stages cross international period boundaries. Of those that do, almost all are within the Cenozoic Era.

Though the New Zealand geologic time scale has not been formally adopted, it has become widely used by New Zealand earth scientists, geologists and palaeontologists since its proposal by J. S. Crampton in 1995.

A standard abbreviation is also used for these epochs and stages, mostly in the form Xx where the first letter is the initial letter of the epoch and the second (lower-case) letter is the initial letter of the stage. These are listed alongside the stage names in the list below.

Currently, we are in the Haweran stage of the Wanganui epoch. The Haweran, which started some 340,000 years ago, is named after the North Island town of Hawera.

List of New Zealand geologic time epochs and stages

Times given indicate the start of the respective stages and epochs. Several of these stages are further divided into upper and lower or upper, middle, and lower, although this has not been noted below unless unique names have been given to these sub-stages.

Cenozoic Era

  • Wanganui epoch (Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene)
    • Haweran stage (Wq) (0.34 mya)
    • Castlecliffian stage (Wc) (1.63 mya)
    • Nukumaruan stage (Wn) (2.40 mya)
    • Mangapanian stage (Wm) (3.00 mya)
    • Waipipian stage (Wp) (3.60 mya)
    • Opoitian stage (Wo) (5.28 mya)
  • Taranaki epoch (Upper Miocene)
    • Kapitean stage (Tk) (6.5 mya)
    • Tongaporutuan stage (Tt) (10.9 mya)
  • Southland epoch (Middle Miocene)
    • Waiauan stage (Sw) (12.7 mya)
    • Lillburnian stage (Sl) (15.1 mya)
    • Clifdenian stage (Sc) (15.9 mya)
  • Pareora epoch (Lower Miocene)
    • Altonian stage (Pl) (19.0 mya)
    • Otaian stage (Po) (21.7 mya)
  • Landon epoch (Oligocene to Lower Miocene)
    • Waitakian stage (Lw) (25.2 mya)
    • Duntroonian stage (Ld) (27.3 mya)
    • Whaingaroan stage (Lwh) (34.3 mya)
  • Arnold epoch (Middle to Upper Eocene)
    • Runangan stage (Ar) (36.0 mya)
    • Kaiatan stage (Ak) (37.0 mya)
    • Bortonian stage (Ab) (43.0 mya)
  • Dannevirke epoch (Lower Palaeocene to Middle Eocene)
    • Porangan stage (Dp) (46.2 mya)
    • Heretaungan stage (Dh) (49.5 mya)
    • Mangaorapan stage (Dm) (53.0 mya)
    • Waipawan stage (Dw) (55.5 mya)
    • Teurian stage (Dt) (65.0 mya)

Mesozoic Era

Cretaceous Period

  • Mata epoch
    • Haumurian stage (Mh) (84.0 mya)
    • Piripauan stage (Mp) (86.5 mya)
  • Raukumara epoch
    • Teraran stage (Rt) (89.1 mya)
    • Mangaotanean stage (Rm) (92.1 mya)
    • Arowhanan stage (Ra) (95.2 mya)
  • Clarence epoch
    • Ngaterian stage (Cn) (100.2 mya)
    • Motuan stage (Cm) (103.3 mya)
    • Urutawan stage (Cu) (108.4 mya)
  • Taitai epoch
    • Korangan stage (Uk) (117.5 mya)
    • Undifferentiated Taitai (145.5 mya)

Jurassic Period

  • Oteke epoch
    • Puaroan stage (Op) (148.5 mya)
  • Kawhia epoch
    • Ohauan stage (Ko) (153.5 mya)
    • Heterian stage (Kh) (157.5 mya)
    • Temaikan stage (Kt) (175.6 mya)
  • Herangi epoch
    • Ururoan stage (Hu) (188.0 mya)
    • Aratauran stage (Ha) (199.6 mya)

Triassic Period

  • Balfour epoch
    • Otapirian stage (Bo) (204.6 mya)
    • Warepan stage (Bw) (212.0 mya)
    • Otamitan stage (Bm) (217.0 mya)
    • Oretian stage (Br) (227.5 mya)
  • Gore epoch
    • Kaihikuan stage (Gk) (238.5 mya)
    • Etalian stage (Ge) (244.5 mya)
    • Malakovian stage (Gm) (245.5 mya)
    • Nelsonian (Gn) (250.4 mya)
    • Makarewan (see Permian Period, below)

Palaeozoic Period

Permian Period

  • D'Urville epoch
    • Makarewan stage (YDm) (253.8 mya)
    • Waiitian stage (YDw) (?)
    • Puruhauan stage (YDp) (260.4 mya)
  • Aparima epoch
    • Flettian stage (YAf) (266.5 mya)
    • Barettian stage (YAr) (273.0 mya)
    • Mangapirian stage (YAm) (280.0 mya)
    • Telfordian stage (YAt) (283.0 mya)
  • Pre-Telfordian epoch (not subdivided into stages) (Ypt) (299.0 mya)

Carboniferous Period

  • (F) (359.2 mya)

Devonian Period

  • Upper Devonian epoch (JU)
    • Famennian stage (374.5 mya)
    • Frasnian stage (385.3 mya)
  • Middle Devonian epoch(JM)
    • Givetian stage (391.8 mya)
    • Eifelian stage (397.5 mya)
  • Lower Devonian epoch
    • Emsian stage (Jem) (407.0 mya)
    • Pragian stage (Jpr) (411.2 mya)
    • Lochkovian stage (Jlo) (417.2 mya)

Silurian Period

  • Pridoli epoch (Epr) (419.7 mya)
  • Ludlow epoch (Elu)
    • Ludfordian stage (422.0 mya)
    • Gorstian stage (423.5 mya)
  • Wenlock epoch (Ewe)
    • Homerian stage (426.2 mya)
    • Sheinwoodian stage (428.4 mya)
  • Llandovery epoch (Ela)
    • Telychian stage (435.9 mya)
    • Aeronian stage (439.7 mya)
    • Rhuddanian stage (443.2 mya)

Ordovician Period

  • Upper Ordovician epoch
    • Bolindian stage (Vbo) (449.7 mya)
    • Eastonian stage (Vea) (456.1 mya)
    • Gisbornian stage (Vgi) (460.5 mya)
  • Middle Ordovician epoch
    • Darriwilian stage (Vda) (468.1 mya)
    • Yapeenian stage (Vya) (468.9 mya)
    • Castlemainian stage (Vca) (472.0 mya)
  • Lower Ordovician epoch
    • Chewtonian stage (Vch) (473.9 mya)
    • Bendigonian stage (Vbe) (476.8 mya)
    • Lancefieldian stage (Vla) (488.7 mya)
    • Pre-Lancefieldian stage (Vpl) (490.0 mya)

Cambrian Period

  • Datsonian stage (Xda) (491.5 mya)
  • Payntonian stage (Xpa) (494.0 mya)
  • Iverian stage (Xiv) (498.5 mya)
  • Idamean stage (Xid) (501.0 mya)
  • Mindyallan stage (Xmi) (503.0 mya)
  • Boomerangian stage (Xbo) (504.0 mya)
  • Undillan stage (Xun) (505.0 mya)
  • Floran stage (Xfl) (507.0 mya)
  • Ordian/Lower Templetonian stage (Xor) (513.0 mya)
  • Early Cambrian (XL) (542.0 mya)

Proterozoic and Archaean Aeons

  • (Z)

Footnotes to time scale

  1. This stage is sometimes further divided into Mangaoran (lower) and Waikatoan (upper).
  2. This stage is sometimes further divided into Kiriteherean (lower) and Marokopan (upper).
  3. The Flettian and Barettian stages were together known as the Braxtonian stage until recently.
  4. This period is not divided into separate stages.
  5. Stages prior to this time use either international or Australian geologic stage names; very little New Zealand rock is known from prior to this time.
  6. This period is not divided into separate stages.
  7. This period is not divided into separate stages.


  • Bishop, D.G., and Turnbull, I.M. (compilers) (1996). Geology of the Dunedin Area. Lower Hutt, NZ: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. ISBN 0-478-09521-X.

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