New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

1996 Scenic Gardens

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New Zealand is blessed with many fine parks and gardens. The 1996 Scenic Gardens issue celebrated five of our public gardens.

Issue information

They evolved largely from the foresight of pioneer administrators in the second half of the last century. When plans for new towns were drawn up, land was earmarked for the future development of public reserves. People were few in those early days of settlement but administrators knew that the population would grow and that parks would be needed. At the sites of most settlements in New Zealand, significant blocks of land were designated 'for public use'.

Later generous settlers who had done well in their new country gave land for the creation of parks.

The tradition of families donating fully-developed properties to the public also evolved. Brooklands in New Plymouth, a private estate dating from 1843, with its 2,000-year-old Puriri tree and The Gables, an 1840s colonial hospital that is now an art gallery and medical museum, was bequeathed to the city after 90 years of private ownership.

The transformation of bare land to the magnificent parks we enjoy today was often a slow and laborious process. But gradually the workers wrought their miracles. They had their plans and saw in their mind's eye how it would all look eventually. They shaped the parks, constructed glasshouses and nurseries, developed lawns and built paths and bridges. They planted the tiny seedlings that are now the great trees in today's parks.

Today, these precious corners of natural splendour win the admiration of visitors from within New Zealand and from overseas.

Product Listing for 1996 Scenic Gardens

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Seymour Square Gardens, Blenheim' gummed stamp.

Seymour Square is just that - a perfectly square flat hectare of garden. It is named after a district pioneer who set aside the land for a park in 1857. Cricket and rugby were played on the ground before its garden development began in the early 1900s. A fountain and high imposing clock tower, both war memorials are dominant features. The tower, clad in stone from local river beds, was unveiled in 1928 to remember Marlborough's World War I dead. The foundation, unveiled in 1953, commemorates those killed in World War II. Stately trees, many planted to mark district events, also grace the garden. Formal flower beds are planted twice a year for summer and winter displays.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Pukekura Park Gardens, New Plymouth' gummed stamp.

Pukekura Park is named after the stream flowing through it. Originally the park was a barren swampy valley. Today it's a magical place, full of contrast and character - dense native bush, walkways, bird life, native and exotic tree collections, lush fern gullies, colourful hidden dells, broad sweeping lawns, formal flower beds and freshwater lakes and streams. It's also home to one of New Zealand's most picturesque cricket grounds with a strip good enough to host international cricket. Pukekura Park and the adjoining Brooklands cover 49 hectares.

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Wintergarden, Auckland' gummed stamp.

The Wintergarden is an impressive element of the Domain, an 86-hectare green oasis near the heart of Auckland city. The Domain had its beginnings more than 150 years ago when Governor George Grey set aside 43 hectares for the development of a park. Later, the area of the park was doubled. Profits from the great Industrial Agricultural and Mining Exhibition, staged in the Domain in 1913, provided funds for the erection of the temperate house as the first stage of the Wintergarden. The project was completed with the addition of a complementary tropical house in 1929. The towering twins are joined by a formal courtyard with pools, statuary and arbours draped with wisteria.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Botanic Gardens, Christchurch' gummed stamp.

Hagley Park, with the Botanic Gardens at its heart, is the largest single city park in New Zealand. It was named after the Staffordshire county seat of Lord Lyttelton, chairman of the Canterbury Association. The Botanic Gardens date back to 1863 when the first tree, an oak, was planted to celebrate a royal marriage. Today, the gardens spread over 30 hectares within a loop of the Avon River. They contain the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants in New Zealand with majestic trees, many more than 100 years old, forming an impressive background to the various garden sections. There is something for everyone - herbaceous borders, herb garden, rose garden, primal garden, heather garden, rock garden, water garden, rhododendron collections, the Cockayne Memorial Garden (New Zealand plants, shrubs and trees) and more. Thirty thousand annuals are planted each year for spring and summer displays.

Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'Marine Parade Gardens, Napier' gummed stamp.

The ocean of Hawke's Bay provides a close, dramatic backdrop to the gardens on Napier's Marine Parade. They are right on the waterfront, behind the concrete wall which was built originally in 1889 to protect the town from flooding in severe storms. The gardens stretch along the parade with manicured lawns, formal flower beds and trees all linked by walkways. The Sunken Garden, with a floating sculpture in a pool, was completed in 1969. Other features too add to their charm. A fine sundial, the Sound Shell and the Tom Parker illuminated fountain. The bronze statue of "Pania of the Reef" was unveiled in 1954, a floral clock was installed a year later, Marineland was opened in 1965, the Kiwi House in 1971 and New Zealand's largest aquarium in 1976.

First Day Cover First day cover with five stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $6.00
Set of Maximum Cards Set of five pre-paid postcards featuring a stamp on the front and artwork from the stamp issue. $7.50

Technical information

Date of issue: 13 November 1996
Stamps and first day cover designed by:  Hamish Thompson of Wellington, and illustrated by Jeremy Bennett, of Wellington
Number of stamps: Five
Denominations and designs: $0.40 Seymour Square, Blenheim; $0.80 Pukekura Park, New Plymouth; $1.00 Wintergarden, Auckland; $1.50 Botanic Gardens, Christchurch; $1.80 Marine Parade Gardens, Napier
Printer and process: Walsall Security Printers, England, by lithography
Stamp size and format: 28.5 mm x 39.87 mm (vertical)
Perforation gauge: 13.6
Paper type: 104 gsm red phosphor PVA-gummed stamp paper.
Number of stamps per sheet: 100
Cost of unaddressed first day cover with five stamps: $6.00
Special blocks: Plate/imprint, positional or value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps.
Colour blocks: Also known as 'traffic lights', these blocks were included in plate blocks
Barcode blocks: Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 13 November 1997.


Red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Hamish Thompson, Wellington, New Zealand and illustarted by Jeremy Bennett, of Welllington 
Hamish Thompson, Wellington, New Zealand and illustarted by Jeremy Bennett, of Welllington