Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

About the Collection


The collection was started in Nelson in 1920 as the Cawthron Institute collection. It became the collection of the Entomological Research Station when the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) combined its entomological research with the Cawthron Institute in 1936. DSIR took over full stewardship of the collection in 1956 when all entomology was transferred to the new grouping of Entomology Division, DSIR. In 1973 the collection was moved to Auckland with Entomology Division, DSIR, and merged with the smaller DSIR Plant Diseases Division (PDD) collection and given its present title (NZAC). Entomology Division merged with Plant Diseases Division in 1989 to form DSIR Plant Protection. In 1992 NZAC and its associated entomological research staff became part of Landcare Research. In April 2004 Landcare Research was relocated to the Tamaki Campus of the University of Auckland, and housed in purpose-built space.


The objectives of the NZAC are : i) to develop a comprehensive and scientifically based collection of invertebrate specimens that are representative of the indigenous and exotic taxa present in New Zealand and its offshore territories; ii) ensure specimens and associated data are maintained to high international curatorial standards; iii) facilitate research on the New Zealand invertebrate fauna; and iv) act as a repository for voucher specimens used in important research studies.


A network of New Zealand and overseas researchers use NZAC for their scientific research, as a repository for voucher specimens, and for type specimens of new taxa.

New Zealand. Landcare Research staff, Universities, Crown Research Institutes (Plant and Food, AgResearch, ESR, Scion), and government organisations (AsureQuality, MPI, EPA, Department of Conservation).

International. All major entomological systematics institutes (e.g., Australian National Insect Collection, Canberra; Canadian National Insect Collection, Ottawa; The Natural History Museum, London; U.S. National Museum, Washington D.C.; Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris) and university departments; Secretariat of the Pacific Community, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation; Pacific Island Countries, BioNET.

Whats in the Collection?

There are about 6.5 million specimens, with >1 million pinned. There are about 2600 primary type specimens.

Most specimens are from the New Zealand subregion (about 6 million) and neighbouring Pacific Island Countries (0.5 million).

The Maskell collection of scale insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea), with specimens from the 1870s. The Broun duplicate collection of beetles and the Brookes beetle collection, acquired by PDD in 1955 by purchase of the Brookes collection. Some of the early Department of Agriculture specimens from the 1920s are in the collection. There is a significant collection of weevils from South America and other parts of the world originating from the Kuschel Collection purchased in 1963.

The pinned specimen collection is housed in air-conditioned facilities, in Cornell-sized drawers in cabinets. Fire protection is provided by an inert gas flooding system (ProInert). Most primary type specimens are held in separate cabinets. Ethanol preserved specimens are stored in a darkened, locked room in an adjacent building to the pinned collection. Newly acquired specimens for pinning are held in a freezer until they can be processed.