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

2005 World Wildlife Fund for Nature - The Kākāpō

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Even for New Zealand - a country known for its exotic creatures - the kākāpō is an extraordinary bird. Soft, cuddly and smart, it doesn't even understand the concept of aggression.

Issue information

This giant flightless parrot was once so plentiful that hunters could literally shake them out of trees to eat. Today, this placid and lovable creature is still in danger, but not as close to extinction as it used to be.

The kākāpō would most certainly have died out many years ago - killed off by introduced species, land clearing and hunting - were it not for the determined efforts of dedicated conservationists, who invested extraordinary energy, resources and money to snatch the kākāpō back from the fate that befell a bird said to be very like it, the dodo.

First Day Cover

In 2005, we honoured the dedication of the WWF by featuring the kākāpō. The first day cover included all four stamps from this inspiring issue along with a special commemorative datestamp which featured the Worldwide Fund for Nature logo.

Worldwilde Fund for Nature (WWF)

In 1960, the British biologist Sir Julian Huxley visited Africa and found, to his astonishment, that many parts of the continent were no longer filled with wildlife. His call to stop poaching and other threats inspired businessman Victor Stolan to suggest the two men work together to raise the funds needed to tackle the problems from an international perspective. Together with others, they set the initiative in motion, and the following year, on 11 September 1961, WWF was established. Its mission: to stop the decline in the natural world "due to man's folly, greed and neglect."

In the more than 40 years since then, the organisation has grown into the major, independent global conservation body we know today, with more than five million supporters throughout the world. In 2001, the year of WWF's 40th anniversary, Dr Claude Martin, WWF International's Director-General said, "Our objectives have never been clearer - slow climate change, reduce toxics in the environment, protect our oceans and fresh waters, stop deforestation, and save species."

The kākāpō is one example of the many creatures throughout the world that WWF wants to see saved.

Product Listing for 2005 World Wildlife Fund for Nature - The Kākāpō

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title  Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Night Parrot' gummed stamp.

'Kākāpō' means 'night parrot'. Found only in New Zealand, this wonderful bird bears no close resemblance to any other member of the parrot family. At up to 60 cm long and weighing up to a hefty 3.5 kilograms, it is the heaviest parrot in the world and the only one that is flightless.

Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Camouflage' gummed stamp.

With its mossy-green and yellow plumage, kākāpō rely on a 'freeze and blend' strategy to protect them from predators. So effective is this form of defence that those charged with protecting the bird say they have stood less than a metre from a kākāpō in the forest and been unable to see it - until it blinked!

Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Nocturnal Bird' gummed stamp.

True to its name, the kākāpō is a nocturnal creature. Solitary by nature, kākāpō live mainly on the ground, although they can climb surprisingly well. For a large bird, the kākāpō can range vast distances - males range between 15 and 30 hectares, females have an even bigger range because they need to find food for their young.

Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Endangered' gummed stamp.

Today, kākāpō are officially extinct on the mainland and there is no hope of returning them, at least in the short to medium term. The 86 birds that we know about have been moved onto offshore islands that have been designated reserves, where they are being patiently encouraged to breed.

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $2.30

Technical information

Date of issue: 3 August 2005
Number of stamps: Four
Denominations and designs: 45c Night parrot. 45c Camoflage, 45c Nocturnal Bird, 45c Endangered
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Cue Design, Wellington
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor Stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least 12 stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least four stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 2 August 2006.