Heinrich (Henry) Suter is one of the forgotten German-speaking naturalists who made it their life’s work to discover and describe New Zealand’s flora and fauna.  


Leaving behind a failed business in Switzerland, Suter emigrated to New Zealand with his wife and seven children in 1887.  He expected to find employment in science, instead he found poverty and despair.  He also found an absorbing natural environment and a vibrant scientific community.  


Suter never managed to secure permanent employment but found short-term work in New Zealand museums and became a prolific trader of items desired by overseas collectors. 


 While he is best known for his outstanding work on molluscs he also discovered new species of plants, lizards and spiders. Suter was regularly in touch with his contemporaries, James Hector, William Colenso, Frederick Hutton, Thomas Cheeseman, Augustus Hamilton and others who assisted him, despite the difficulties, to make a life and a living in science.


A recent biography of Henry Suter by Pamela Hyde explores the challenges and hardships Suter faced in his pursuit of a scientific career in New Zealand in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Biography-Henry Suter (1841-1918)

Henry Suter

Heinrich (Henry) Suter is one of the forgotten German-speaking naturalists who made it their life’s work to discover and describe New Zealand’s flora and fauna.  


Leaving behind a failed business in Switzerland, Suter emigrated to New Zealand with his wife and seven children in 1887.  He expected to find employment in science, instead he found poverty and despair.  He also found an absorbing natural environment and a vibrant scientific community.  


Suter never managed to secure permanent employment but found short-term work in New Zealand museums and became a prolific trader of items desired by overseas collectors. 


 While he is best known for his outstanding work on molluscs he also discovered new species of plants, lizards and spiders. Suter was regularly in touch with his contemporaries, James Hector, William Colenso, Frederick Hutton, Thomas Cheeseman, Augustus Hamilton and others who assisted him, despite the difficulties, to make a life and a living in science.


A recent biography of Henry Suter by Pamela Hyde explores the challenges and hardships Suter faced in his pursuit of a scientific career in New Zealand in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Biography-Henry Suter (1841-1918)

Henry Suter