National Petrology Reference Collection


This collection contains over 100,000 rock and mineral samples from on- and offshore New Zealand and worldwide from the earliest days of the Geological Survey to today. It is one of two resources in the Nationally Significant "National Petrology Reference Collection and PET Database."


The collection was started in 1865, and geologists have contributed to the collection ever since. It is the single most comprehensive collection of New Zealand rocks and minerals in the world, and is a valuable national resource. The contents of the collection include hand samples, thin sections, mineral separates, core cuttings and more.

The physical collection is maintained by GNS Science. Most hand specimens are at GNS Science, Lower Hutt while most thin sections are housed at GNS Science, Dunedin. Geothermal well thin sections and hand specimens are housed at GNS Science, Wairakei.

Samples from the NPRC are available to loan for research purposes in return for contributing analytical data to the Petlab database. Display specimens are available to loan for educational and outreach purposes.

To request access to a hand sample or thin section from the collection please:

  • Use the Petlab database to find the collection number/s of the sample/s you want to access.
  • Contact the curator with the collection number/s of interest, and a brief description of the research or educational purpose you have in mind.

By continuing with this download you agree to abide by the rules laid out in the Terms and conditions/Terms of use listed on this page.

If there are no specific Terms and conditions/Terms of use listed then please refer to our Copyright and Disclaimer page and Privacy Policy page