Detrital zircon ages are presented for 34 early Palaeozoic sandstones from Buller and Takaka terranes, New Zealand, and formerly adjacent parts of Australia–Antarctica. The Buller–Takaka datasets always have two major groups: Ordovician–late Neoproterozoic, 444–700 Ma (but mainly 540–700 Ma), termed 'Gondwana Assembly' (GA), and early Neoproterozoic–Mesoproterozoic, 700–1600 Ma (but mainly 900–1200 Ma), termed 'Rodinia Assembly' (RA). In both terranes, significant age components within these groups are strikingly similar and also have RA/GA ratios, 0.6–1.8. The Cambrian volcanic arc of the Takaka Terrane has contributed little to the zircon patterns. Proportions of Late Cambrian–Early Ordovician zircons, characteristic of granitoid sources in the Ross–Delamerian Orogen are low. The zircons are predominantly reworked with contemporary zircons only evident in a few Buller datasets. The zircon patterns suggest that two major sources (late Mesoproterozoic and late Neoproterozoic), enduring over 120 Ma, were widely distributed and it is postulated they form Precambrian basement beneath southern Zealandia.