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

Seawalls of Tokelau

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Discover more about life atop an extinct volcanic peak. Settled about 1,000 years ago, these low-lying coral atolls are home to around 1,500 people who inhabit its limited 12 square kilometres of land. With rising sea levels a pertinent problem for these islands, seawalls serve as a frontline defence against erosion and inundation.

Issue information

What is life like atop an extinct marine volcano? One of the most remote countries in the world, Tokelau has been populated for more than 1,000 years. And this latest issue from Tokelau offered a glimpse into one of the realities of life on these low-lying coral atolls. Nukunonu, Atafu and Fakaofo all sit atop extinct volcanic peaks, barely five metres above sea level. This unique island nation is at the frontlines of climate change, facing drought, tsunamis, cyclones and rising sea levels.

Seawalls, erected to prevent erosion and in defense of shoreline dwellings, are built by locals using a variety of methods. Tokelau’s rising vulnerability to natural disasters is already evident with increased coastal erosion, storm surges and inundation as the sea level rises. Villages continue to carry out work for coastal protection by way of seawall construction and maintenance.

The striking images for this stamp issue were taken by New Zealand Post's Stamps and Coins designer, Saint Andrew Matautia.

Product Listing for Seawalls of Tokelau

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c 'In the Face of Climate Change' gummed stamp.

Tokelau is at the frontlines of climate change, facing drought, tsunamis, cyclones and rising sea levels. This seawall faces the ocean side of Nukunonu. 

Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Lagoon Side' gummed stamp.

Seawalls feature on both ocean side and lagoon side shorelines of Tokelau. Fakaofo lagoon is shallow and dotted with coral outcrops.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Rising Seas' gummed stamp.

Situated ocean side of Fakaofo, this seawall helps to protect these buildings from rising sea levels and storm surges. 

Single Stamp

Single $3.00 'Life Atop a Volcano' gummed stamp.

Ocean side of Nukunonu, there is little to indicate in this image just how vulnerable these dwellings are. Sitting at no more than five metres above sea level, the maintenance of Tokelau's seawalls is vital.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $6.85
First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.35
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.35

Technical information

Date of issue: 2 May 2018
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Denominations: 45c, $1.40, $2.00 & $3.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Saint Andrew Matautia, 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: 30mm x 40mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Special blocks: Plate blocks and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 1 May 2019.