1 Auckland Museum, Private Bag 92018, Auckland, New Zealand
2 Canadian National Collection of Insects, Canada
3 New Zealand Arthropod Collection, Landcare Research, 231 Morrin Road, Auckland, 1072, New Zealand
Moist cool-temperate forests virtually covered >90% of the New Zealand landscape prior to human colonization, and still represent the largest land area of natural habitat today. Sweep and pan trap samples for Hymenoptera in these forests are overwhelmingly dominated by individuals of Proctotrupoidea (49%) and Platygastroidea (16%), followed by Ichneumonoidea (11%), Chalcidoidea (10%), Vespoidea (8%), Ceraphronoidea (5%), Cynipoidea (<1%) and Chrysidoidea (<1%). Despite this abundance of individuals and the ease with which many are collected, there are only 105 named species of which at least 9 are introduced. The first species to be described were miscellaneous diapriids sent to P. Cameron and F. Smith in England in the late 19th century. This pattern of scattered alpha taxonomy has continued with three exceptions: the Ambositrinae (Diapriidae) were covered in a monograph by Naumann (1988); the endemic family Maamingidae with two species was treated by Early et al. (2001), and the genus Archaeoteleia (Scelionidae) was revised by Early et al. (2007). Here we present an overview of the three superfamilies based on published records combined with our collective experience of specimens in collections and from our field collection activity from the late 1970s to the present.