About the NZRM Culture Collection

The New Zealand Reference Culture Collection: Medical Section (NZRM) holds over 4,000 strains and supplies reference cultures for quality control, teaching and research.


The NZRM was formed in 1968 when a proposal by the New Zealand Committee on Culture Collections of Microorganisms was approved by the Minister of Science. The collection was started by J. D. Manning in 1955 by the National Health Institute, Wellington and was designated as the national repository of organisms of medical interest.

NZRM moved with the National Health Institute in 1982 to its present site in Porirua. In 1992, NZRM was incorporated into The Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR). Today ESR remains the custodian of NZRM. The NZRM is partially funded by the Ministry of Health contract.

Users of the collection

NZRM customers vary from diagnostic laboratories through to commercial industry laboratories for quality assurance testing. Our industrial clients include meat, dairy, beverage, and confectionary producers as well as pharmaceutical, cosmetic and testing laboratories.

The NZRM also supplies cultures to tertiary education facilities and research institutes for teaching and research purposes. Local government authorities also source their cultures from us to test and maintain the quality of the water supply.

The NZRM also holds varied and historical isolates that represent New Zealand’s microbial diversity. The accessibility to these isolates make this collection a significant asset for studies relating to the genomic evolution of organisms within New Zealand.

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