Pollen analysts often study pollen grains that cannot be easily attributed to a particular taxon. As a consequence, a pollen type may be recorded under various names, leading to uncertainty in their interpretation by others. This limits the usefulness of pollen data for inclusion in databases or meta-analyses. To minimize any such ambiguity, we briefly describe the pollen grains of New Zealand gymnosperms and angiosperms and assign an appropriate name to each. Tree ferns are also included, as they are almost ubiquitous in New Zealand palynomorph records, and are often misidentified and misrepresented. We also provide a review of the occurrence of all taxa in New Zealand pollen records, and of pollination modes, pollen production, and dispersal.