Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) samples were collected from six different cultivars of trees grown in an experimental orchard at Lincoln University. Three U.S. commercial cultivars (Butler, Ennis, and Barcelona), two European commercial cultivars (Tonda di Giffoni and Campanica), and one New Zealand selection (Whiteheart) were evaluated. The total oil, stability to oxidation of the oil, and fatty acid, tocopherol, and sterol composition were determined on samples of freshly extracted hazelnut oil. The total oil content of the seeds ranged from 54.6 to 63.2% while the stability of the oil, as measured by the Rancimat test ranged from 15.6 to 25.3 h. The content bf the monounsaturated oleic acid in the oils ranged from 73.8 to 80.1% of the total fatty acids, while the tocopherol content ranged from 225.8 to 552.0 mg/g freshly extracted oil. The major desmethylsterols were sitosterol, ranging from 1416 to 1693 mu g/g, campesterol, ranging from 78 to 114 mu g/g, and Delta 5-avenasterol, ranging from 110 to 170 mu g/g. The oil extracted from the cultivar Whiteheart was more stable (measured by Rancimat) than the oil from all other cultivars grown at the same location and under the same conditions. Whiteheart contained higher levels of total and gamma-tocopherol when compared to the other cultivars. The higher levels of tocopherol in Whiteheart help to explain the greater stability of the oil during the oxidative stress test. These results suggest that nuts from the cultivar Whiteheart could be stored longer than the other nuts tested.