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About our laboratories

Find out more about ESR's suite of specialist laboratories across four sites.

Aout Our Laboratories


ESR have several Environmental and Health laboratories across four sites with scientists involved in a wide range of activities including reference diagnostic testing, surveillance & research in microbiology and genomics, chemistry, and radiation science. Together these aim to safeguard our health, keep communities safer, protect our food, and improve the health of our water and natural environment. 

Laboratory details

Laboratory details

Invasive Pathogens Laboratory
  • Bordetella pertussis (isolates currently for storage only)

  • Haemophilus influenzae from cases of invasive disease

  • Neisseria meningitidis from sterile sites, conjunctiva, throat swabs from cases of meningococcal disease (where this is the only isolate available) and NAAT positive DNA specimens

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae from cases of invasive disease

  • Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus)– from cases of invasive and other serious disease e.g. glomerulonephritis, necrotising fasciitis, rheumatic fever and septic arthritis, or outbreaks of infection


Lab details:

Invasive Pathogens Laboratory -

Kenepuru Science Centre - 34 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua 5022

Legionella Reference Laboratory

Clinical samples  

  • Legionella isolates 

  • Respiratory specimens from confirmed legionellosis cases 

  • Extracted DNA from NAT-confirmed legionellosis cases 

  • Paired (acute and convalescent) serum 

  • Convalescent serum specimens from legionellosis cases confirmed by NAAT and/or urinary antigen testing or specifically where requested by the Medical Officer of Health 

Environmental samples  

  • Isolation of Legionella from environmental sources 

  • Isolation of Mycobacterium from environmental sources 

  • Isolation of Pseudomonas from potable water 


Lab details:

Legionella Reference Laboratory -

Kenepuru Science Centre– 34 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua 5022

Special Bacteriology Laboratory
  • Corynebacterium diphtheriae and C. ulcerans

  • Listeria monocytogenes from cases of invasive disease


Lab details:

Special Bacteriology Laboratory - 

Kenepuru Science Centre - 34 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua 5022

Antimicrobial Resistance Laboratory
  • Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales and Pseudomonas spp.

  • Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii

  • Colistin-resistant Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae

  • Vancomycin-resistant or linezolid-resistant Enterococcus faecium and E. faecalis 

  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae with decreased susceptibility to ceftriaxone or high-level azithromycin resistance (≥ 16 mg/L.)

  • Vancomycin non-susceptible, daptomycin-resistant or linezolid-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

  • Penicillin non-susceptible Streptococcus pyogenes

  • Organisms with other critical emerging resistance mechanisms


Lab details:

Antibiotic Reference Laboratory -

Kenepuru Science Centre - 34 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua 5022


  • Multidrug-resistant organisms associated with outbreaks (following consultation with ESR) 


Lab details:

Nosocomial Infections Laboratory -

Kenepuru Science Centre - 34 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua 5022

Enteric Virology - Environmental and Food Virology Laboratory
  • Hepatitis A virus – serum or plasma (and faecal specimens where possible) from IgM positive or NAT-confirmed  confirmed hepatitis A cases for genotyping 

  • Norovirus - faecal specimens from suspected norovirus outbreaks with a corresponding outbreak number assigned by the local Public Health Unit- for detection and/or genotyping 

  • Sapovirus and Astrovirus - faecal specimens from gastroenteritis outbreaks may be screened  

  • Rotavirus – faecal specimens from screening test positive cases for genotyping  

  • Hepatitis E virus– serum or plasma from confirmed hepatitis E cases (to be stored at ESR for future genotyping) 

  • Enteric, Environmental and Food Virology Laboratory Active research programmes associated with environmental and food virology  

  • Commercial work: For example, testing of shellfish, wastewater, receiving waters, biosolids and foods for enteric viruses 

  • National wastewater surveillance, including for COVID-19. 

  • Laboratory holds IANZ accreditation for both ISO 17025 (norovirus and hepatitis A virus in shellfish, and wastewater COVID-19 surveillance) and ISO 15189 (clinical samples)  


Lab details:

Enteric, Environmental and Food Virology Laboratory -

Kenepuru Science Centre - 34 Kenepuru Drive, Porirua 5022

Enteric Reference Laboratory

Typing of enteric bacteria by the Enteric Reference Laboratory to IANZ accredited 15189 and 17025 standards for clinical, animal, and environmental isolates 

  • Cronobacter sakazakii from sterile sites

  • Salmonella species, including S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi

  • Shigatoxin/verotoxin producing E.coli

  • Shigella species

  • Yersinia species

  • Vibrio cholerae, V. albensis and V. parahaemolyticus from sterile sites or cases of acute gastroenteritis.


Lab details:

Enteric Reference Laboratory -

Wallaceville Science Centre - 66 Ward Street, Upper Hutt 5018

Leptospira Laboratory

Identification of Leptospira serovars observed in New Zealand by the Leptospirosis Reference Laboratory.

  • Leptospira cultures

  • Leptospira IgM– positive serum specimens

  • Paired or convalescent serum specimens from suspected/confirmed leptospirosis cases


Lab details:

Leptospira Reference Laboratory - 

Wallaceville Science Centre - 66 Ward Street, Upper Hutt 5018

Clinical Virology Laboratory

WHO accredited laboratory for Polio: 

  • Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) Surveillance (faecal sample)

  • Polio serology testing (serum sample) 

  • Polio viral culture (Faecal and wastewater samples) 


National Influenza Centre (NIC) for New Zealand: 

  • Influenza and other respiratory virus PCR testing (swab samples) and surveillance (faecal, swab, CSF samples) 

  • Influenza 

  • SARS-CoV-2 

  • Adenovirus  

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) 

  • Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV) 

  • Parainfluenza 1-3 (PIV) 

  • Human Rhinovirus (HRV) 

  • Enterovirus 

  • Influenza subtyping and lineage typing 


Arbovirus Reference Laboratory: 

  • Providing public health testing for mosquito borne viruses (serum, urine samples) 

  • Zika virus

  • Dengue virus 

  • Chikungunya virus 

  • Ross river virus 

  • Barmah forest virus 

  • Japanese encephalitis 

  • West nile virus 


Bloodborne Viruses:
Providing confirmatory testing for blood borne viruses (serum and plasma samples) 

  • Hepatitis B virus 

  • Hepatitis C virus 

  • Hepatitis D virus 

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 

  • Human T lymphocyte virus (HTLV) 

  • Emerging virus testing 

  • Mpox PCR 


Lab details:

Clinical Virology Laboratory -

Wallaceville Science Centre - 66 Ward Street, Upper Hutt 5018

Sequencing Facility

ESR has a fully equipped sequencing laboratory at our Kenepuru Science Centre and sequencing capability across several laboratories. We use the Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technologies platforms to routinely sequence amplicons and whole genomes of bacterial and viral organisms of interest. The sequencing facility is part of the ESR Genomics team and generates sequence data which our in-house bioinformaticians analyse to address questions, provide support in a response to public health matters, and aid surveillance. 

Please note:

  • Measles confirmatory NAAT and genotype testing is now performed by Canterbury Health Laboratories, Christchurch
  • Identification of fungi and aerobic actinomycetes is performed by the Mycology Reference Laboratory, LabPlus, Auckland