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1996 Scenic Definitives - New Zealand Scenery

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Every picture tells a story and the 'pictures' on these scenic definitive stamps were no exception. They encapsulated the essence of New Zealand and its attraction as a tourist destination. Visitors flock to this land in the South Pacific because it is different, fresh and unspoiled and because there is so much to see in the great outdoors.

Issue information

New Zealand, a young land in terms of western civilisation, offers an environment virtually unpolluted and in many ways still untouched. It offers a stunning array of visual wonders packed into a small landmass. Other countries have mountains, fiords, lakes, forests, volcanoes and thermal zones, but nowhere are they so accessible and so close together as they are in New Zealand.

The package is complete with a good climate, clean air and a small population. For people living overseas in smoggy, overcrowded cities, New Zealand is pure magic. Anyone seeing the attractions depicted on these stamps would go home more than satisfied. In travelling from Cape Reinga to Doubtful Sound they would pass all the places featured here, and would see New Zealand from one end of the country to the other.

The scenery for which New Zealand is justly world famous was the subject of this new set of stamps. Many of New Zealand’s famous beauty spots were featured, including Mt Cook, Lake Wanaka and Rotorua’s Champagne pool.

Each scene was reproduced in lavish colour and had a border made up of a natural feature of the area. For example: red tussock from the Rangipo Desert was used for the border surrounding the image of Mt Ngauruhoe.

Presentation Pack

This pack contained a complete set of the 10 definitive stamps which included the 40c Mitre Peak stamp released in October 1995.

Product Listing for 1996 Scenic Definitives - New Zealand Scenery

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 5c 'Mt Cook' gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of Mt Cook with a border of kea feathers.

Mt Cook or Aorangi (Māori for Cloud Piercer), New Zealand's highest mountain, is the dominant feature of the 70,000 hectare Mt Cook National Park in the alpine region of the South Island. From the south, the massive mountain appears to have a single point but there are actually three peaks protruding from the summit's ridge. The highest peak was 3,764 metres until December 1991 when a massive rock fall sheared 10 metres from its height, leaving it at 3,754 metres. It was first scaled by three climbers on Christmas Day, 1894. The first solo ascent was made the following March.

Single Stamp

Single 10c 'Champagne Pool' gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of Champagne Pool with a border of sinter patterns (mineral formations at the edge of the pool) in the Waiotapu.

Champagne Pool, in the Waiotapu Thermal Reserve off the main highway from Rotorua to Lake Taupō in the central North Island, is well named. Its hot (75 degrees centigrade) green waters fizz with tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. This, coupled with its circular shape, gives it the appearance of a giant glass of champagne. The pool, 64 metres deep and covering 2,000 square metres, is surrounded by a silica band, coloured a rich orange by antimony. It empties into the Artist's Palette, 1.2 hectares of hot and cold pools and silica terraces tinged with all the colours of the rainbow.

Single Stamp

Single 20c ‘Cape Reinga’ gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of Cape Reinga with a border of sand patterns from 90 Mile Beach.

In Māori mythology the spirits of the dead left Cape Reinga for their future destination, hence the meaning of the Māori name 'Place of Leaping'. The Cape, standing steeply almost 300 metres above the sea in the area where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, lies at the north-west extremity of the North Island. The Cape forms the western end of Spirits Bay. Popular one-day excursions take tourists up 90 Mile Beach to the Cape. The sand pattern forming the border of the stamp was photographed on 90 Mile Beach.

Single Stamp

Single 30c ‘Mackenzie Country’ gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of MacKenzie Country with a border of New Zealand falcon feathers.

Mackenzie Country is a  large pastoral basin in the South Island's inland South Canterbury area named after a legendary Scots-born sheep drover who spelt his name James McKenzie. In the autumn of 1855 McKenzie was caught near MacKenzie Pass, also named after him, with 1,000 stolen sheep. He may not have been responsible for the theft but was jailed. He escaped twice before being paroled after a short time in prison and disappeared. He was never seen again. A monument near the Pass tells his story.

Single Stamp

Single 50c ‘Mt Ngauruhoe’ gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of Mt Ngauruhoe with a border of red tussock from the Rangipo Desert.

Mt Ngauruhoe, a classic symmetrical cone volcano, lies in Tongariro National Park in the active volcanic zone of the central North Island's high plateau. Unlike its near neighbours, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro, it is young - formed only 2,500 years ago. The mountain stands 2,291 metres and has been frequently active in recorded times, periodically spouting steam and gas, sometimes ash and lava. It last erupted in 1975. The red tussock forming the border of the stamp was photograhed in the Rangipo Desert near Mount Ngauruhoe.

Single Stamp

Single 60c ‘Lake Wanaka’ gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of Lake Wanaka with a border of kōwhai in full bloom.

Surrounded by mountains, Lake Wanaka lies on the east side of the South Island's Southern Alps. Its deep (300 metres), long (45 kilometres) and narrow (6 kilometres at its widest) bed was dug out by glaciers in a past ice age. The magnificent setting makes Wanaka one of the most attractive southern lakes and is a popular holiday and tourist area. The south-east corner of the lake drains into what becomes the Clutha River, one of New Zealand's great waterways, which flows to the east coast south of Dunedin.

Single Stamp

Single 70c ‘Giant Kauri - Tāne Mahuta’ gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of a Giant Kauri (Tāne Mahuta) with a border of kauri bark.

Tāne Mahuta (Lord of the Forest) is one of the two or three largest kauri trees still standing in New Zealand. It is not the tallest but its girth, almost 14 metres, gives it a timber volume of 244.5 cubic metres, the most of any kauri. It has been growing in the Waipoua Forest in the far north of the North Island for at least 1,200 years. Kauris (Agathis australis) dominate the forest with their immense bulk and spread and are amongst the great trees of the world.

Single Stamp

Single 80c ‘Doubtful Sound’ gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of Doubtful Sound with a border of bull kelp.

Giant ice age glaciers gouged out Doubtful Sound on the coast of Fiordland National Park. This sound, or fiord, has four major arms and other reaches. Big triangular Secretary Island splits the outer arms, Doubtful Sound itself in the south and Thompson Sound in the north. Waterfalls and heavy forest contribute to this spectacular work of nature. Captain Cook discovered the sound in March 1770 but did not enter because he was doubtful about the wind and his chances of getting out again.

Single Stamp

Single 90c ‘Waitomo Limestone Cave’ gummed stamp.

The stamp featured an image of a Waitomo Limestone Cave with a border of greenstone. 

Waitomo Caves, south-west of Hamilton in the North Island, are on the itinerary of most overseas visitors to New Zealand. The three caves making up the system, Waitomo, Ruakuri and Aranui, were created by underground streams which over thousands of years dissolved the limestone - the predominant geological base of the area. They left startling galleries and chambers and astonishing stalactites and stalagmites. Thousands of tiny blinking glow worms add a magical touch.

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $4.40
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $6.50

Technical information

Date of issue:  27 March 1996
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Red Cactus Design, Wellington, New Zealand
Number of stamps: Nine
Denominations and designs: $0.05 Mt Cook, $0.10 Champagne Pool, $0.20 Cape Reinga, $0.30 Mackenzie Country, $0.50 Mt Ngauruhoe, $0.60 Lake Wanaka, $0.70 Giant Kauri – Tāne Mahuta, $0.80 Doubtful Sound, $0.90 Waitomo Limestone Cave
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin by lithography
Stamp size and formats: 35mm x 35mm
Perforation gauge: 14 x 14
Paper type: CPL red phosphor coated
Number of stamps per sheet:  100
Cost of unadresses first day cover: $4.40
Special blocks: Plate/imprint, positional or value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps.
Barcode blocks: These were available in both A and B formats.