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Marlborough Centennial

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This stamp issue commemorated the centennial of the province of Marlborough.

Issue information

In collaboration with the Historical Society of Marlborough, it was decided that the stamps should depict unique features from the Province including Captain Cook's landing at Ship Cove in 1769; the salt works at Blenheim; and the wool industry of the region.

After the stamps had been on sale for a short time, there was considerable controversy regarding the accuracy of the designs for the 2d and 3d values. Members of the Tauranga Historical Society expressed the opinion that, for the purpose of careening the Endeavour, Cook would not have beached the ship. Letters to the editors of the Marlborough Express and of the Christchurch Star and an article in the Free Lance claimed that the design of the 3d was inaccurate. Generally the criticism referred to the position of the boat. It was claimed that it should have been shown facing out to sea. One correspondent asserted that there were no wool presses in 1857 in use in New Zealand. He claimed that wool was forced into the packs manually by means of wooden spades resulting in round ended and unhandy bales. One Marlborough farmer whose wool had been shipped from the Wairau Bar wrote in support of the design.


New Zealand Post would like to acknowledge the following for their assistance and guidance in bringing together this stamp issue.

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:

Stamp Bulletin

Bulletin scanned and provided by John Biddlecombe of the New Zealand Society of Great Britain. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Stamp Bulletin

This stamp issue first appeared in New Zealand Post Stamp Bulletin No. 16 on 26 January 1959.

Product Listing for Marlborough Centennial

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 2d gummed stamp.

The careening (clean and repair) of Captain James Cook's Endeavour at Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound, 1769 during his first visit to New Zealand.

Single Stamp

Single 3d gummed stamp.

Bullock cart unloading wool bales onto a surf boat for transfer to a sailing ship at the Wairau Bar in 1857.

Single Stamp

Single 8d gummed stamp.

The lake, a shallow lagoon protected from the sea by a barrier of sand dunes, is 40 kilometres south of Blenheim and 10 kilometres south of the mouth of the Awatere River.


Technical information

Date of issue: 2 March 1959
Designers: G Bull and G R Smith
Printers: Harrison and Sons, England
Stamp size: 41mm x 24mm
Sheet size: 120 stamps per sheet
Process: Photogravure
Perforation gauge: 14.5 x 14
Paper type: Guard Bridge, multiple NZ and star watermark
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 30 May 1959.
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