Lottery Grant for Internationally-significant Insect Collection

Monday 15 January 2018

Canterbury Museum has been awarded $223,095 from the Lottery Grants Board for the second stage of a project to catalogue and provide access to 140,000 invertebrate specimens collected by Museum Research Fellow Peter Johns over 57 years.

The nationally and internationally-significant collection includes craneflies, weta, millipedes and centipedes from all over New Zealand.

Peter Johns

Peter Johns

The project has been the focus of the Museum’s Natural History Team for the last 2 years. The first phase of the project was awarded a Lottery Grant of $203,852 in late 2015. The team are on track to catalogue 70,000 records by March 2018 and the aim is to catalogue the second 70,000 specimens over the next 2 years. This second group has not been fully identified to species. Cataloguing these will provide the foundation for further taxonomic research and generate records so that researchers can reliably add this information.

The data, information and specimens in the collection will be made available to the wider community including universities, research organisations including Landcare and NIWA, Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries and regional councils.

Museum Director, Anthony Wright says that the Peter Johns collection is acknowledged nationally and internationally as a singularly important collection.

“It will make available, for the first time, new baseline distribution data and specimens that add to our knowledge of the status of New Zealand’s invertebrate fauna. This will directly lead to the promotion, protection and preservation of New Zealand’s native fauna.       

“Thanks to Lottery funding, the Museum can complete this project within a reasonably short timeframe, conserving and protecting the collection for future research and interpretation,” Mr Wright says.

“This collection has been always been a community collaboration.  It bears Peter Johns name because Peter has been pivotal in assembling and caring for it, acting as the go-to person for many institutions and people interested in invertebrates. It has been accumulated through 57 years of community involvement with thousands of specimens contributed by students, amateurs, conservation volunteers, international visitors and professional entomologists.”

Peter Johns was recently recognised for this work by his election as a Fellow of the Entomological Society of New Zealand, an honour bestowed on only seven other living New Zealand entomologists.      

Lottery Grant for Internationally-significant Insect Collection

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