Recent discoveries and a review of the Ordovician faunas of New Zealand
Fossiliferous Ordovician rocks are of limited extent in New Zealand, being largely restricted to northwest Nelson and Westland in the northern part of the South Island, with some isolated exposures at the southern extremity of Fiordland (Fig. 1). The known stratigraphic record, though incomplete, covers much of the period, and new information from study and revision of old collections (mostly dating from the 1960s and 1970s) continues to fill in the gaps. These data are critical to a better understanding of New Zealand’s place in the Ordovician world, when it occupied an isolated position facing the palaeo-Pacific Ocean offshore to East Gondwana. The closest contemporaneous strata are located in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales in southeastern Australia, now separated from New Zealand by the Tasman Sea but in Ordovician times probably situated even further west (though at a similar 10-20 deg. N palaeolatitude). In this paper we review all known records of Ordovician fossils described from New Zealand, placing these in their currently-accepted stratigraphic and tectonic context. New data are presented on research currently underway into faunas from the Maruia–Springs Junction–Lake Daniels region, southeast of Reefton (Fig. 1).
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