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New Zealand Fossil Record File

The New Zealand Fossil Record File is a registration scheme for recording fossil localities in NZ and nearby regions, including SW Pacific Islands and the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. It is maintained jointly by Geological Society of New Zealand and GNS Science, and now contains (in paper form) grid references and stratigraphic information for almost 90000 localities. The paper forms are stored in regional "masterfiles" at Auckland, Victoria, Canterbury and Otago universities and at GNS Science at Avalon.

A detailed description of the scheme can be found in NZ Geological Survey Reports 45 and 101. The file records any locality at which fossils have been collected or observed, or which has been sampled for microfossils. Radiocarbon samples can also be registered in the File. Each locality has a unique fossil record number, composed of a map or area code followed by a serial number allocated by a masterfile curator. Re-collections of localities already registered are allocated a unique letter following the serial number, also by the curator. Samples from a drillhole are normally assigned the same fossil record number: they are uniquely identified by the sampling depth and sample type.

NZ Fossil Record Electronic Database (FRED)
FRED is a computer database associated with the New Zealand Fossil Record File and is online at FRED is maintained by GNS Science and is funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology under the National Paleontological Databases programme.

A project is currently underway to digitise the Fossil Record File and enter it into FRED. The aim is to complete this work by 30 June 2009. Progress can be viewed at

Data from FRED are available free of charge to registered not-for-profit research users. To register follow the links at Generally, locality information is freely available, but paleontological data may be protected, as the intellectual property rights may reside in the collectors, paleontologists, institutions and companies responsible for initially creating the information.

Registering a locality
Localities may now be registered online using the forms available in FRED or using a customised data entry Excel spreadsheet, and this is now the preferred method. Go to and click the Data Entry link for more detailed instructions. If you do not have access to the online system you may still register a locality using the paper forms (complete two copies and send to the appropriate masterfile curator - see