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N.Z. Involvement in Antarctic

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In the last 100 years, 'Terra Australis Incognita', the 'Hidden Southern Land', has been slowly unveiling its secrets after spending a lifetime in forbidding silence. Its 14 million square kilometres of ice and snow is described as being the driest, coldest and windiest place in the world. Yet, undeniably, this cruel continent commands an air of awesome significance and supreme beauty.

Issue information

On the southern most tip of Ross Island, located on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf on the Antarctic continent, is Scott Base, established in 1957 to support New Zealand's participation in the International Geophysical Year scientific research programme. Since then it has been continuously occupied by scientists and support staff. Other bases have been established including Vanda Station on the shores of Lake Vanda in the Dry Valley region of Victoria Land on the Antarctic continent proper, and at Cape Bird on the northern tip of Ross Island, 100 kilometres from Scott Base. The seasons govern the population and the work carried out.

This set saluted scientists of all nations working in the Antarctic.

Because of its geographical position, New Zealand has been used as a staging point fro many Antarctic expeditions and this has forged close links with the southernmost continent.  New Zealand's involvement in Antartic is the topic of special stamp issue featuring 4 stamps depicting areas in which some of the most important studies are currently being made - geology, biology, glaciology and meteorology.

Stamp Bulletin

This stamp issue first appeared in New Zealand Post Stamp Bulletin No. 30 in October 1983.

Acknowledgments: 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:

Product Listing for N.Z. Involvement in Antartic

Image Title Description Price
  Single Stamp

Single 24c 'Geological Research - at Shapeless Mountain' gummed stamp.

New Zealand geologists have for many years conducted study programmes of the Beacon Supergroup rock formations of Shapeless Mountain and Mt Fleming at the head of the Wright Valley in the Dry Valley's region of Antarctica.

Studies carried by New Zealanders in the Ross Dependency have led to a great variety of fossil discoveries. These remnants are evidence of the likely measure of mineral deposits they can expect to find in this land.

  Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Biological Research - Seal Colonies' gummed stamp.

New Zealand scientists have contributed to extensive research into seal colonies. These colonies abound in the Ross Dependency and in the coastal areas of Ross Island.

  Single Stamp

Single 58c 'Glaciological Research - 'Winkle' Drilling' gummed stamp.

'Winkle' drilling equipment has been used by scientists for a drilling programme in the Lower Taylor Valley. Core samples obtained from drill holes ranging in depth between 80 and 120 metres have, after analysis, added considerably to the geological knowledge and climatic history of the region.

  Single Stamp

Single 70c 'Meteorological Research' gummed stamp.

Both New Zealand's Scott Base and Vanda Station in the Dry Valley's region of Antarctica conduct important meteorological studies. These include daily climatic observations along with continuous wind, temperature, pressure and solar radiation recordings. These observations provide data which is regularly transmitted to the New Zealand Meteorological Service.

  Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $1.92
  First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $2.00
  Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with minitaure sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $2.00
  Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products form the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $2.80

Technical information

Date of issue: Stamps, 1 February 1984; Presentation pack, 15 February 1984
Denominations: 24c, 40c, 58c, 70c
Designer: R M Conly, Waikanae
Printer and process: Cambec Press Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia by offset lithography 
Stamp size and format: 41mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Sheet size:   100 stamps per sheet 
Miniature sheet size: 126mm x 110mm
Paper type: Unwatermarked
Perforation gauge: 13.6x 13.2
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 30 april 1985.
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