National Paleontological Collection


This collection includes a large number of type and figured specimens, and comprehensive stratigraphic and geological collections of fossil taxa from New Zealand and its surrounding area (including Antarctica).

It is one of five resources in the Nationally Significant "New Zealand National Paleontological Collection and associated databases." Nationally Significant Collections and Databases are registered as important for New Zealand, and as such are supported by long-term government funding.


The NPC contains over 27,000 registered individual specimens and over 125,000 registered collection lots, with a total specimen number in the millions.

The material spans more than a dozen phyla and includes micro- and macrofossils. The collection represents all of New Zealand’s geographic span, including its offshore territories. Specimen ages range from Cambrian to Recent.


The collection is used primarily for research, though some of the more interesting and spectacular specimens can be found displayed at GNS Science or at museums.

Material from the NPC has applications in:

  • the development of the geological timescale,
  • paleobiological and paleoenvironmental research,
  • geological mapping,
  • biodiversity studies,
  • basin analysis,
  • sequence stratigraphy,
  • petroleum exploration,
  • forensics

GNS Science welcomes visiting researchers and university students to the NPC. Access is only by prior arrangement with the Collection Manager. Loan requests for NPC material are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and in some cases, GNS Science will provide high quality digital images of material in preference to making a loan.

Information on the type collection can be accessed through our online catalogue. The online NPC catalogue links to the (FRED), a locality-based database of fossil finds.

The collection is used primarily for research, though some specimens can be found on display at GNS Science, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, or as part of touring exhibitions around New Zealand.


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