Information for Scientists

Visitors come from around the world to the NIWA Invertebrate Collection to undertake research and work with our material.

The NIWA Invertebrate Collection

The NIWA Invertebrate Collection consists of a main wet/dry collection area (wet samples are primarily fixed in ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and dilute formaldehyde), -20oC freezer space and a separate Type Collection room.

The collections are being continually augmented through NIWA's marine research programmes, generally obtained by the NIWA research vessels R.V. Tangaroa (ocean going) and R.V. Kaharoa (coastal), as well as by targeted field collecting of particular taxa. Important in-house products of taxonomic research are the NIWA Biodiversity Memoirs monograph series and a three-volume Inventory of Biodiversity of New Zealand. In addition many national and international scientists continue to examine the collection and contribute to our growing knowledge of the New Zealand marine fauna.


The NIC includes the following laboratories:

  • A 'dry lab' with workspaces for NIC staff
  • A 'wet lab' with three work stations, a small fume hood and sinks for work with alcohol collection
  • A dry bench for work with dry and frozen material
  • A 'formalin lab' with a full size fume hood and various fume extractors on workbenches.

The Type Collection

The type collection contains over 4000 type specimen lots, consisting of more than 1500 holotypes and 2600 paratypes. All of our type specimen data has been entered into our Specify database, which is available through the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS).

Visitor Information


The collection is accessible from Monday to Friday during normal business hours.


The NIC is housed at the NIWA Greta Point campus in Wellington which is located at 301 Evans Bay Parade and is 5km from the city centre and 3.5km from the airport.


Access to the Internet and computers is free of charge. There is no wireless available in lab areas. Please arrange with the Collection Manager in advance if you need to use your own laptop or need access to the NIWA internal network.


Access to a range of microscopes, low-power stereo to compound microscope, can be arranged. Camera fittings for Nikon and Canon cameras are available and use of a 7.1 megapixel camera and camera stand is possible on request.


Check with NIC staff before your visit to check whether any specific items are in stock or if they need to be ordered.


Parking is available on site. Bus Route 24 from central Wellington stops outside NIWA.