Craigieburn Range, Canterbury. Photo by Aaron Wilton.


What are GBIF and GBIF New Zealand?

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility, known as GBIF, is an international network and data infrastructure for biodiversity data funded by governments around the world. It aims to provide open access to data about all types of life on Earth, to anyone, anywhere.

GBIF works though a Secretariat (hosted in Copenhagen) and a network of participating countries, organisations and data holding institutes. Data holding institutes, or Publishers, provide open access to the biodiversity datasets held by their institutions using common standards, and under a Creative Commons license. GBIF draws these data sources together and creates an index of hundreds of millions of species occurrence records.

GBIF delivers benefits to multiple researchers and agencies that use biodiversity data. Open access and the aggregation of this data enables scientists, researchers and other communities to more easily access and utilise these data. This is demonstrated by the use of the data in hundreds of peer-reviewed publications and policy papers each year which cover topics from the impacts of climate change and the spread of invasive and alien pests to priorities for conservation and protected areas, food security and human health.

For more information about GBIF and its mission visit the GBIF website.

GBIF New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand has been a participant in GBIF since 2001 and established a national node, GBIF New Zealand, in 2002. GBIF New Zealand supports the mobilisation and use of biodiversity datasets held by New Zealand organisations.

Funding for Aotearoa New Zealand’s membership to GBIF is provided through the Strategic Science Investment Fund, administered by the Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE). MBIE is also responsible for appointing the Head of Delegation and Node Manager, which are the formal roles required for Aotearoa New Zealand to participate in the GBIF network.

New Zealand portal

In 2021 GBIF New Zealand participated in GBIF’s hosted node initiative resulting in the development of a New Zealand portal. GBIF New Zealand hopes this portal, which is hosted on GBIF infrastructure, will raise awareness and use of the biodiversity data that are being mobilised, and that it will help to stimulate the development of a community of biodiversity data users and publishers.

GBIF New Zealand roles

Head of Delegation: Meredith McKay, Department of Conservation.

The Head of Delegation is Aotearoa New Zealand’s representative on the GBIF Governing Board, and the primary focal point for all New Zealand GBIF-related activity.

Node Manager: Aaron Wilton, Manaaki Whenua — Landcare Research.

The Node Manager promotes GBIF and connects the broad range of Aotearoa New Zealand stakeholders with interests in biodiversity data, enabling them to contribute to and benefit from participation in the GBIF network. Stakeholders include data holders, biodiversity knowledge experts, data users, and decision-makers.

MBIE contact: Heather Penny