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

Canterbury Centennial

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Although flax traders and whalers had earlier operated on the coast, the first permanent European settlement in Canterbury was a whaling station established by Captain George Hempleman in March 1837, at Peraki - an inlet on the southern coast of Banks Peninsula. 

Issue information

A party of nine settlers, sent by a Sydney firm of millers, arrived in April 1840. They were the first Europeans to make a home on the Plains at what is now Riccarton. They left after eight months as their crop had been eaten by rats.

On 17 August 1840 French settlers landed at Akaroa and founded the first town.  A few years later farms at Purau, Riccarton, and Pigeon Bay were established and it was from here the establishment and extension of the province grew. The first settlers chosen by the Canterbury Association (formed in England) disembarked from the first four immigrant ships - Charlotte Jane, Sir John Seymour, Cressy and Randolph, at Lyttelton in December 1850 and this date is recognised as that of the official founding of Canterbury.  John Robert Godley had been placed in charge of the first colonists.  These pioneers who chose to settle at Christchurch had to make a laborious trek over the hills separating Lyttelton and Christchurch by way of a rough track, which became known as the Bridle Path.

The 1d, 6d and 1s designs were completed by J Berry, the 2d by L C Mitchell and the 3d by J A Johnstone.


Historical Information

Information included on this page sourced from The Postage Stamps of New Zealand published by the Royal Philatelic Society of NZ. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Product Listing for Canterbury Centennial

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 1d 'Christchurch Cathedral' gummed stamp.

This fine building stands in Cathedral Square, Christchurch.

Single Stamp

Single 2d 'Memorial to Pioneer Women' gummed stamp.

This stamp commemorates those pioneer women who crossed the hills from Lyttelton to Christchurch on foot.

Single Stamp

Single 3d 'John Robert Godley' gummed stamp.

Leader of the Canterbury Association's venture and the Founder of the Province.

Single Stamp

Single 6d 'Canterbury University College' gummed stamp.

Now the University of Canterbury.

Single Stamp

Single 1s 'Timaru' gummed stamp.

An aerial view including Caroline Bay.  The city's Coat of Arms and motto appear at the bottom of the stamp.


Technical information

Date of Issue: 20 November 1950
Designers: J Berry, Wellington; L C Mitchell, Wellington and J A Johnstone
Printers: Bradbury Wilkinson, England
Stamp Size: 1d and 3d: 24mm x 40mm;  2d, 6d and 1s: 40mm x 24mm
Sheet Size: 120 stamps per sheet
Perforation Gauge: 13.5
Paper Type: Wiggins Teape 'Royal Cypher', multiple NZ and star watermark