The stamps in this issue were selected from over 2,400 entries in a design
competition with the brief to include a representation of characteristic
or notable New Zealand scenery in the design and a stamp issue symbolic of
the land. The quality of the winning entries were so great that a decision
was made to print the issue using the more expensive recess printing
method, with the anticipation that costs would be covered many times over
by sales to stamp collectors.
If you have any questions or comments please contact us - we'd love to hear from you.
The issue, following the lead of New
South Wales, was one of the world's earliest pictorial definitive
issues. The stamps were engraved in England along with initial printings,
and subsequently printed in New Zealand from new plates supplied from
The same denominations were printed as the Second
Sidefaces with a new 9d stamp for overseas parcels, and two and five
shilling stamps for parcels, fiscals and telegrams.
The half pence
stamp features Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. Two alpine
flowers are featured on the stamp - the Ranunculus and
The one penny stamp features Lake Taupo with Mount
Ruapehu in the background and a Cabbage Tree on the left. It was the first
two colour printed stamp in New Zealand. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in
New Zealand covering over 600 square kilometers. The lake is well known
for rainbow trout which were introduced in 1884.
stamp features Pembroke Peak in Milford Sound.
The two and a half
pence stamp features Lake Wakatipu. Initially printed with Wakatipu
incorrectly spelt Wakitipu, a new plate with the correct spelling was
produced a month after the initial issue. Interest amongst collectors for
the original error was so high though, that special printings were made
and the mint stamp is easy to track down, although used copies are rarer.
Wakatipu is the second largest lake in the South Island and lies at the
southern end of the Southern Alps in Central Otago. Mount Earnslaw is
shown in the background and New Zealand flax, cabbage trees and toi toi
frame the scene.
The threepence stamp features the Huia
(Heteralocha acutirostris), a now extinct New Zealand native bird. The
Huia was prized for its plumage, and tail feathers were used by Maori as
symbols of rank and adornment by chiefs.
The fourpence features the
White Terraces which were produced by geothermally heated water which left
thick white layers of limestone. Located on the edges of Lake Rotomahana
near Rotorua, they were considered the eighth wonder of the natural world
until they were completely destroyed by the violent volcanic eruption of
Mount Tarawera in 1886. The eruption claimed around 150 lives and is the
most violent and destructive volcanic eruption in recent history.
The five penny stamp features Otira Gorge with an inset view of
Mount Ruapehu. Otira Gorge, in the central South Island, is on the
original stagecoach run from Canterbury to the West Coast. A railway line
was later built from Greymouth to Otira. Mount Ruapehu is one of the
world's most active volcanoes, located southwest of the southern shore
of Lake Taupo, within Tongariro National Park. The North Island's major
skifields and only glaciers are located on its slopes.
stamp features the Kiwi, the species of flightless birds endemic to New
Zealand. Kiwis are about the size of a domestic chicken and all species
are endangered. The kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand.
eight penny stamp contains a graphic eight with a maori war canoe on the
lower circle of the eight and a crown in the upper circle. Tree Ferns are
drawn to the left of the eight and Cabbage Trees on the right.
nine penny stamp features the Pink Terraces, which were destroyed along
with the White Terraces by the explosive eruption of Mount Tarawera on the
10th of June, 1886.
The one shilling stamp features the Kea and
Kaka. The Kea (on the left) is a species of parrot found in forested and
alpine regions of the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the few
alpine parrots in the world. The Kea is uncommon and received full
protection in 1986. Kea are reknown for their intelligence and curiosity,
both vital to their survival in a harsh mountain environment and are often
described as "cheeky". The Kākā (on the right) is a parrot
endemic to the forests of New Zealand and its name is the Māori language
word for "parrot". The Kaka is closely related to the Kea but
has darker plumage.
The two shilling stamp features Milford Sound
(Piopiotahi). Milford Sound is the northenmost of a number of fjords in
the south west of New Zealand's South Island within Fiordland National
Park. It is New Zealand's most famous tourist destination and is named
after Milford Haven in Wales. Mitre Peak is shown on the right of the
The five shilling stamp shows Mount Cook reflected in Lake
Tekapo. Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It is part of
the Southern Alps - the mountain range which runs the length of the South
This page was last updated on 18 Nov 2017
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