Isolated in the middle of the Pacific sits Niue, affectionately known as 'the rock'. This coral island is one of the world’s largest and is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Discover more about the various reptiles that inhabit the forest areas, rocky outcrops and surrounding ocean with this stamp issue.
This upraised coral atoll boasts approximately 14,000 hectares of lush forest including conservation areas and heritage and cultural parks. This forests covers much of the central plateau and fades out towards the steep limestone cliffs that create up to a 60-metre drop down to sea level. The coral reef surrounding much of the island is adundant with sea life and the warm climate means that the coral, ferns, scrub and trees that make up the forest areas thrive.
The isloation of Niue has resulted in a relatively limited diversity of wildlife, prominently made up of birdlife with introduced pests such as rats and feral cats. The four reptile species featured in this stamp issue are largely not effected by predation or human interference.
First Day Cover
The first day cover featured all four stamps next to the footprint of one of Niue’s many reptiles.
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover
All four stamps were featured on the miniature sheet first day cover. Snapshots of the flat tailed sea snake could be seen curving across the outside corners.
The miniature sheet incorporated all four stamps alongside the flat-tail sea snake’s distinctive striped pattern.
Product Listing for Niue Reptiles
Single 30c 'Mourning gecko - Lepidodactylus lugubris' gummed stamp.
Not only has this sociable gecko been known to make a great pet, it has caused great interest in the scientific world due to its ability to reproduce without a male. The females are able to clone themselves and usually have two eggs in each batch. They communicate mainly through clicks, chirping and tail waving, and it’s rumoured that they recieved their name when locals heard them calling for their lost male counterparts.
Single $1.40 'Flat-tail sea snake - Laticauda schistorhynchus' gummed stamp.
The katuali or flat-tail sea snake is only found in the warm ocean waters surrounding Niue. This highly venomous snake can grow up to a metre in length and will only leave the ocean to lay its eggs. As the eggs would not survive in water and can take up to six months to hatch, the female sea snake must find a dry crevice, sheltered rock mass or caves. Coastal development and coral bleaching are beginning to restrict nesting areas and hunting grounds for these already limited range predators.
Single $2.00 'Snake-eyed skink - Cryptoblepharus poecilopleurus' gummed stamp.
This particular skink received its name due to its lack of an eyelid. Instead they have transparent scales, also known as spectacles, covering their eyes - just like that of a snake. Their preferred habitat is amongst the leaf litter and twigs on forest floors, beneath rocks or in low vegetation – making Niue the perfect home for them. While they prefer to be in lowland areas near the sea they have been recorded up 3,200 feet above sea level.
Single $4.00 'Pacific slender-toed gecko - Nactus pelagicus' gummed stamp.
A nocturnal hunter, this widespread gecko spends the majority of the day hiding beneath forest debris to avoid the heat. At night, it will emerge from its shelter, most commonly piles of coconut husks and begin foraging for insects. It doesn’t appear to have a preference for wet or dry climates as it is commonly found in both areas. A common theme that has emerged in its habitats however is that it appears to prefer less densely populated areas, despite frequenting rural villages.
|Miniature Sheet||Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet.||$7.70|
|First Day Cover||First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue.||$8.20|
|Miniature Sheet First Day Cover||First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue.||$8.20|
|Date of issue:||5 April 2017|
|Number of stamps:||Four gummed stamps|
|Denominations:||$0.30, $1.40, $2.00, $4.00|
|Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by:||Hannah Stancliffe-White, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer:||Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post, Whanganui, New Zealand|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||40mm x 30mm (horizontal)|
|Paper type:||Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||16|
|Special blocks:||Plate and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 4 April 2018.|