Official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

Historic Ships of the 19th Century

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Much of New Zealand’s early history is interconnected with stories about encounters at sea. Trade and exchange, voyaging and migration, settlement and interactions between Māori and Pākehā were centred around the ocean. Each of the four stamps featuring paintings created by Sean Garwood in 2021 depict important historic scenes.

Issue information

In this stamp issue, each maritime scene offers a snapshot of early 19th-century life in this country.

Depicted in the stamps is an 1843 trading scene in Golden Bay near Nelson, an 1852 whaling expedition on American whaling vessel the Charles W. Morgan, settler ship the Mataura shown navigating rough seas and the Felicity and a fleet of sailing vessels in what was known then as Blind Bay (now Tasman Bay or Te Tai-o-Aorere).

Together the stamps provide a snapshot in time, accurately depicting early 19th century waka, ships and boats and offering a fascinating glimpse into Aotearoa New Zealand’s past.

Single stamps in this issue

$1.50 Early trading between Māori and Pākehā at Tata beach, 1843

By 1843 a vigorous trade existed between Europeans and local Māori, including large topsail schooners reaching as far as Australia and seen here sheltering behind the Tata Islands in Golden Bay.

$2.80 Whaling from the Charles W. Morgan, Cloudy Bay, 1852

American whaling ships began to arrive in New Zealand in 1791. Using what was known as the ‘bay whaling’ method, the crew of the Charles W. Morgan is shown here poised, ready to strike.

$3.60 The Mataura on passage from England to New Zealand, 1879

Eighty-seven days after departing Gravesend, London, a cargo of hopeful immigrants arrives in Port Chalmers, New Zealand. The painting highlights the atrocious conditions immigrants faced on their journey by sea.

$4.10 The Felicity and the Blind Bay hookers, Nelson, 1889

The hookers were Nelson’s ‘mosquito fleet’ of little sailing vessels that played a vital role in European settlement, not only in Blind Bay (the original name of Tasman Bay) but around the whole top of the South Island and across Cook Strait.

Date of issue: 3 February 2022

Product listing for Historic Ships of the 19th Century

Take a look at our other collectables that are still on sale. Click here.

Image Title Description Price
Historic Ships of the 19th Century first day cover | NZ Post Collectables First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $12.50
Historic Ships of the 19th Century miniature sheet first day cover | NZ Post Collectables Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $12.50

Technical information

Date of issue: 3 February 2022
Number of stamps: Four gummed
Denominations: $1.50, $2.80, $3.60 & $4.10
Stamps and first day covers designed by: Chris Jones, Graphetti, Wellington, New Zealand
Paintings by: Sean Garwood, Nelson, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Miniature sheet size and format: 108mm x 90mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks are available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 1 February 2023. First day covers  remained on sale until 1 April 2022.