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

2008 Scenic - Underwater Reefs

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Many people associate New Zealand’s beauty with its mountains, lakes and beaches – but for scuba divers, our coastal waters offer an exhilarating experience unbeaten anywhere else in the world. Choose almost any spot along the country’s more than 15,000 kilometres of coastline and you’ll find an abundance of fascinating sea life, with colour and textures that will take your breath away.

Issue information

Our 2008 Scenic - Underwater Reefs stamp issue provided a glimpse of this magnificence, featuring a selection of photographs taken deep below the surface by Kim Westerskov – a New Zealand photographer who specialises in some of nature’s most spectacular and unspoilt places, and their inhabitants. Travelling the length and breadth of the country – from the rocky reefs of Northland to the deep waters of Fiordland – he has enabled us to witness for ourselves New Zealand’s marvellous marine environment.

A Collection of Colour

The first day cover, miniature sheet and miniature sheet first day cover displayed these colourful creatures in all their glory. The miniature sheet and miniature sheet first day cover included a photograph taken at Poor Knights Island in Northland – with demoiselles swimming over a rocky reef encrusted with gorgonian sea fans, yellow finger sponges and red and yellow golfball sponges. What a magnificent sight!

Product Listing for 2008 Scenic - Underwater Reefs

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Dusky Sound, Fiordland' gummed stamp.

There are about seven million colonies of black coral tree in Fiordland – and it is generally thought that they live over 300 years. The coral earned its name from its black skeleton, although its living tissue is a ghostly white. It’s usually confined to offshore islands at depths greater than 45 metres, but Fiordland’s unique aquatic conditions enable it to live at depths of typically 3-4 metres, but up to 6+ metres deep.

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Mayor Island, Bay of Plenty' gummed stamp.

These gorgeous fish are the aptly named splendid perch (Callanthias australis), one of New Zealand’s most colourful fish species, captured as they swim over a forest of common kelp (Ecklonia radiata). About a metre long, kelp dominates marine forests and is the preferred food of the sea urchin, kina (Evechinus chloroticus), which can sometimes eat a whole forest in one sitting. Fortunately, the kelp grows rapidly and soon replaces itself.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Fiordland' gummed stamp.

Another Fiordland beauty, red coral (Errina novaezelandiae) is not a true coral but a related type of animal – a hydrocoral, made up of separate individuals, each with its own feeding and defence systems. Hydrocorals usually grow only in the deep ocean, but in Fiordland they grow at depths of 20 metres, but also at 25 metres, 15 metres and even shallower. This protected species has a rigid skeleton up to 30 centimetres long.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Volkner Rocks, White Island, Bay of Plenty' gummed stamp.

The diadema urchin (Diadema palmeri) is one of the finest of the sea urchins, with very sharp spines that provide the perfect defence system and mean it has no natural predators. The New Zealand Diadema palmeri urchin can be found living only on steep rock faces. They have their own patches, to which they return after foraging by night.

Single Stamp Single 50c 'Dusky Sound, Fiordland' self-adhesive stamp. $0.50
Single Stamp Single $1.00 'Mayor Island, Bay of Plenty' self-adhesive stamp. $1.00
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $5.00
First Day Cover  First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.00
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $5.50
Self-adhesive Dispenser Dispenser box containing 100 x 50c self-adhesive stamps. $50.00
Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet containing 10 x 50c self-adhesive stamps. $5.00
Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet containing 10 x $1.00 self-adhesive stamps. $10.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 9 January 2008
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps, two self-adhesive stamps
Denominations and designs: 50c (gummed and self-adhesive), $1.00 (gummed and self-adhesive), $1.50 gummed, $2.00 gummed
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Tim Garman, Silver-i Design Associates
Printer and process: Gummed - Cartor Security Printing, France; Self-adhesive – SEP Sprint, Australia - by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: Gummed: 40mm x 30mm (vertical); Self-adhesive: 30mm x 25mm (vertical)
Paper type: Gummed: 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper; Booklets: CPI (C100) self-adhesive paper; Coils: Avery Dennison (B90) self-adhesive paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 13.25
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing as least six stamps for a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 8 January 2009.