The lithistid Demospongiae fauna of New Zealand has been inventoried from existing and new collections, and is reviewed here and revised where necessary. Most of the 282 specimens examined were recorded from the largest collection of sponges in New Zealand, in the NIWA Invertebrate Collection, Wellington. Significant collections were also examined from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The lithistid Demospongiae (formerly order Lithistida Schmidt, 1870) is represented in the New Zealand region by nine families, 18 genera (one of which is new to science), and 30 species (12 of which are new to science): Theonellidae (1 genus, 1 species), Phymatellidae (3 genera, 6 species), Corallistidae (3 genera, 7 species), Neopeltidae (4 genera, 4 species), Macandrewiidae (1 genus, 1 species), Pleromidae (1 genus, 3 species), Isoraphiniidae (1 genus, 1 species),
Scleritodermiidae (3 genera, 5 species), and Azoriciidae (1 genus, 2 species). This work records the first lithistid species, Neoschrammeniella antarctica n. sp., known from polar regions, and provides the first record of the genus Leiodermatium further south than the Philippines. Two additional species of Leiodermatium described here are found only in the west-central Pacific and Micronesian deep waters, but are included for the sake of a complete review of the genus in the Pacific. New species of the previously monospecific phymatellid genera Neoaulaxinia and Neosiphonia are described, and a new corallistid genus, Awhiowhio, is recognised from New Zealand waters. All specimens were dredged from between 80 and 1700 m, but were commonest between 200 and 800 m. With the exception of one specimen from the eastern edge of the Challenger Plateau on
New Zealand’s west coast, and a new species from the Ross Sea, Antarctica, all were found north of the southern edge of the Chatham Rise and in New Zealand’s northernmost waters. Known and new species are redescribed from representative New Zealand material and, in some cases, the characters used to define genera and species are redefined and clarified. In particular, ornamentation of the desma skeleton and morphology of the augmenting microscleres are emphasised for distinction at the species level.