1 January 2000 saw the release of the eagerly awaited First to see the New Dawn - Millenium Part Six stamp issue.
As the new millenium approached, people all over the globe readied themselves to witness the unique event. In New Zealand it was even more memorable as we were the first country to see the new dawn of a new millenium.
Pitt Island - one of the Chatham Islands, had the honour of being New Zealand's first inhabited place to see the new dawn, on 1 January 2000, at around 3.59 New Zealand Standard Time. This small island has a population of only 55 people, mostly descended from original European settlers who arrived there in the early 1840s.
The sun rose first on the New Zealand mainland at Mount Hikurangi, on the North Island's East Coast, at 4.38 NZST. From there, the suns rays lit up the rest of New Zealand.
The stamp issue celebrated two New Zealand firsts - we were the first to see the new dawn and this stamp was New Zealand Post's first micro-printed stamp. The last stamp in the New Zealand Post Millenium Series, it was a keep-sake for collectors to associate with their own memories and for future generations.
Prestige First Day Covers
Of the 20,000 prestige first day covers produced, 19,999 were available for sale. 19,000 bore the preprinted signature of Bernadette Lanauze, Post Centre Operator, Pitt Island and a unique Pitt Island machine cancellation. A further 1,000 covers were personally signed and cancelled by Bernadette, then serial numbered 0001 to 1000. 0001 was gifted to Bernadette and the remaining 999 were randomly placed in main supply to be sent out to lucky customers who placed orders for prestige first day covers.
Product Listing for First to see the New Dawn - The Millenium Series Part Six
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||1 January 2000|
|Number of stamps:||One|
|Denomination and design:||40c Sunrise|
|All products designed by:||Dianne Prosser, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||44mm x 28mm (horizontal)|
|Sheetlet size:||175mm x 175mm|
|Paper type:||103gsm red phosphor coated stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||50 (full colour special selvedge)|
|Cost of unaddressed first day cover:||$1.30|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps. Barcode and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two sheet stamps. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats for sheet stamps.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 31 December 2000.|