New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

Otago Centennial

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The settlement of the Otago Province and the founding of the city of Dunedin on 23 March 1848 were commemorated with this stamp issue.  

Issue information

Four stamps depicting the arrival of the immigrant ships, the town of Cromwell, the First Dunedin Church and the University of Otago were designed to celebrate the centennial.


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:

Product Listing for Otago Centennial

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 1d 'Port Chalmers' gummed stamp.

This stamp depicted the arrival of the immigrant ships John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing at Port Chalmers, Otago Harbour in 1848 - these were the first ships to arrive carrying settlers to Otago.

Single Stamp

Single 2d 'Cromwell' gummed stamp.

Cromwell is a town situated on the flats at the junction of two arms of Lake Dunstan, in Central Otago. The township sprang up in 1862 when gold was discovered in the area, it was called The Junction before it was constituted a borough in 1866 and formally named after Oliver Cromwell. Gold-dredging continued into the early years of the last century but since then fruit growing on irrigated land to the west of the town has been its mainstay, together with sheep farming on sparsely pastured hills. In 1985 a new commercial town centre was built as in 1992 the old town centre was flooded by Lake Dunstan, a man-made lake feeding the Clyde Dam.

Single Stamp

Single 3d 'First Church Dunedin' gummed stamp.

First Church, which is a conspicuous landmark in Dunedin, was built as a memorial to the Rev. Thomas Burns who arrived on the ship Philip Laing and for the first seven years was the only Presbyterian minister in the province.  The design has a further significance in that it provides a connection with the Free Church of Scotland which was primarily responsible for the idea to settle Otago, and of which the early pioneers were adherents.

Single Stamp

Single 6d 'Otago University' gummed stamp.

Otago University was the first to be established in New Zealand.  It was founded in 1869 and opened in 1871 with an enrolment of 81 students.  Although it offers for students of various facilities, its medical, dental and mining schools have turned out graduates who have won world fame.  Representations of transport and the primary products of the province are also shown.


Technical information

Date of issue: 23 February 1948
Designers: J Berry, Wellington
Printers: Bradbury Wilkinson, England
Stamp size: 1d, 2d and 6d : 40mm x 24mm;  3d : 24mm x 40mm
Sheet size: 120 stamps per sheet
Process: Recess printed - Intaglio
Perforation gauge: 13.5
Paper type: St Cuthbert's 'Royal Cypher', multiple NZ and star watermark
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 31 July 1948.