The Fishes of New Zealand — the first comprehensive catalogue of New Zealand Fish for more than 140 years


Te Papa has released a publication containing information, including pictures, distribution maps for all 1,262 known fish species found in our waters.

With the knowledge encased in these four volumes, scientists can undertake research that better equips us to manage the vast biodiversity of our marine resource.

According to Te Papa:

This landmark publication is an indispensable reference for researchers, conservationists, professional and recreational fishers, and anyone interested in the unique aquatic biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand.

A large undertaking

Some key numbers about this landmark publication include that it consists of:

  • Four volumes
  • 2008 pages
  • More than 800 colour photos and 450 hand drawn species illustrations and distribution maps

The mighty tome weighs in at at 11 kilograms!

The predecessor - Fishes of New Zealand (1872)

The first, and only other comprehensive catalogue of our fish fauna was compiled by Frederick and James Hector in 1872.

This publication outlined 148 mostly coastal species, based on collections in the Colonial Museum (now our national museum Te Papa).

View the listing for Hector and Hector’s Fishes of New Zealand (1872) at Te Papa

NIWA’s involvement

NIWA is proud to have been able to help to back the publication of The Fishes of New Zealand through our core funding capabilities as well as contributing text, images, research and specimen – much of which was collected on the many voyages undertaken by NIWA vessels.

Te Papa, NIWA and its predecessor organisations, have a long history of co-operation and this work is the result of decades of collaboration, which is the essence of all science.

Further information

The editors of the Fishes of New Zealand were Clive D Roberts, Andrew L Stewart, Carl D Struthers.

Fishers of New Zealand was published in November 2015.

Read more about the Fishes of New Zealand on Te Papa’s website

Buy the Fishes of New Zealand on Te Papa’s online store

The Fishes of New Zealand.