Niue is renowned as one of the best locations in the world to view humpback whales. Nothing beats coming into contact with some of the world's largest seafaring mammals as they migrate through the warm Pacific waters, occasionally impressing onlookers with a magnificent leap out of the water.
The individual stamps in this issue are as follows:
The underside flukes of a mature female known as 'Nala' are shown on the 80c stamp. Each individual whale can be identified by the unique markings on their tails, which are used by researchers to develop life history information.
The $1.20 stamp features two whales spyhopping (raising their heads out of the water). Males and females mimic each other's behaviour when involved in courtship. After mating, females will travel to the tropical breeding grounds to give birth to their calves 11 months later.
The $1.40 stamp captures a calf (less than one month old) breaching after nursing in the waters off Niue with its mother. Calves are approximately 3.5 metres at birth and weigh up to one tonne. Most baby whales are able to swim within 30 minutes of birth.
A mother and calf are shown playing after a feeding session on the $2.00 stamp. Calves spend one year with their mothers and drink up to 600 litres of milk a day. Humpback whales travel to Antarctica to feed in the summer, then journey back to the warm Niuean waters in winter.
|Date of issue:||17 November 2010|
|Number of stamps:||Four gummed stamps|
|Denominations:||80c, $1.20, $1.40, $2.00|
|Stamps and first day cover designed by:||New Zealand Post Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||Gummed: 30mm x 40mm (horizontal)|
|Paper type:||Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||16 stamps|
|Perforation gauge:||Gummed: 13.33|
|Period of sale:||Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until close of business 16 November 2011|