Understanding how the plants and animals that live in the sea floor vary in their spatial patterns of diversity and abundance is fundamental to gaining insight into the role of biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem functioning in coastal ecosystems, as well as advancing the modelling of species distributions under realistic assumptions. Yet, it is virtually unknown how the relationships between abundance patterns and different biotic and environmental processes change depending on spatial scales, which is mainly due to a lack of data. Within the project Spatial Organization of Species Distributions: Hierarchical and Scale-Dependent Patterns and Processes in Coastal Seascapes at the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand we collected multi-scale and high-resolution data on macrobenthic biodiversity. We found 146 species dominated by bivalves, polychaetes, and crustaceans (>500 µm) that live hidden in marine sandflats and collected point measurements of important environmental variables (sediment grain-size distributions, chlorophyll a concentration, organic content, and visible sandflat parameters) in three large intertidal harbours (Kaipara, Tauranga, and Manukau). In each harbour we sampled 400 points for macrobenthic community composition and abundances, as well as the full set of environmental variables. Using an elaborate sampling design, we were able to cover scales from 30  cm to a maximal extent of 1 km. All data and extensive metadata are available from the data publisher PANGAEA via the persistent identifier https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.903448 (Kraan et al., 2019).