The New Zealand Indigenous Flora Seed Bank is a project to collect seeds from New Zealand flora. It builds on the Memorandum of Collaboration signed between the NZPCN and the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew. It was initially set up with funding from MWHNew Zealand Limited, an employee-owned engineering company, a New Zealand Seed Bank group comprising the NZPCN, AgResearch, the Department of Conservation, Landcare Researchand Massey University. Each organisation will bring skills and facilities to support the collection, study and conservation of seeds. Awards from the Strategic Innovation Fund (Massey University) and the New Zealand World War One, Heritage and Environment Fund of the Lotteries Commission have provided funding for staff and equipment to progress the project.
The aim of the NZIFSB is to collect the seeds of New Zealand flora as part of an ex-situ conservation strategy to conserve the biodiversity within New Zealand’s indigenous flora. Seed once banked will remain viable in the bank for decades if not longer. As with any bank, withdrawals are possible but only for a limited range of purposes, such as for reintroduction of species where populations have been lost in the wild and, more rarely, for research projects that will help with ex situ or in situ conservation of the species. Seed may also be used for multiplication to replenish seed in the seed bank.
One of the great advantages of ex situ conservation in seed banks is it allows a wide range of species to be conserved within a relatively small area and at a reasonable cost per species. Species to be collected in this project include both threatened and common species. Threatened species clearly have a current conservation problem, but as we do not know what threats any species may face in the future banking seed of all species is a good insurance policy. The collecting programme will be focussed around four target species projects.
Four target species projects have been derived. Each project has a set of collecting priorities and some research objectives: further information can be obtained from the Seed Bank Coordinator.
- Project 1 - Pohutukawa, Rata and Myrtaceae
- Project 2 - Alpine Flora and the Forget-Me-Nots
- Project 3 - Kowhai and its relatives
- Project 4 - Podocarps and trees of the forest
Want to volunteer as a seed collector?
If you would like to work with the seed bank, feel free to join one of our seed collector’s training events or expeditions, where you will go to selected sites when seeds and herbarium voucher specimens are ready to be collected. The seeds will then be sent to the seed bank to be cleaned, dried and stored.