Detrital zircon U–Pb ages are reported for 14 sandstones of mainly Cretaceous age from the Northland Allochthon, Houhora Complex and Waipapa Terrane of northern North Island, New Zealand. Results from the Waipapa Terrane samples, selected from sequences in the Bay of Plenty, Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island, show that deposition continued into late Early Cretaceous time and, as in the Torlesse Composite Terrane, finally waned at c. 110–114 Ma. Upper Lower Cretaceous and Upper Cretaceous sedimentary successions in the Houhora Complex and Northland Allochthon have dominant sediment sources derived from local, contemporary volcanism, with a minor older contribution from the Murihiku Terrane to the west. As in eastern North Island, upper Upper Cretaceous sandstones lack major Albian magmatic components and their sources are solely in the Murihiku Terrane, and possibly the Western Province. We propose a Cretaceous palaeogeographic model that invokes a recently extinct orogen and a partially submerged continental borderland, dissected by rivers supplying submarine fans.