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

The Lord of the Rings - New Zealand Home of Middle Earth

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The landscapes of Middle-earth were forged in the imagination of the author J. R. R. Tolkien from places he had visited and the mythical lands he had encountered during his studies of ancient texts. His detailed descriptions of this land enabled the reader to imagine them within their mind in great detail.

Issue information

When New Zealand director Peter Jackson released the first part of his epic film trilogy The Lord of the Rings all these thoughts became three-dimensional, and the country of New Zealand, where all the filming was undertaken, underwent an astonishing metamorphosis to become a place of cinematic wonder and fantasy.

Filming for this movie masterpiece began on 11 October 1999, when Peter and his cast and crew of more than 2,500 people started on their journey to more than 100 locations throughout the country. Their goal: to re-create J.R.R. Tolkein's marvellous story and his world of deep, hidden valleys, barren wastelands, remote mystical mountains and lush, low valleys.

Peter Jackson found all of these places in New Zealand, forging the landscape we now recognise as Middle-earth. Waikato farming country was transformed into warm, comfortable Hobbiton, the starkly rocky Mount Ruapehu became Mordor, and the South Island's Mount Sunday proved the perfect location for the magnificent city of Edoras.

Perfectly Packaged

All eight stamps featured on the Home of Middle-earth miniature sheet, together with a stunningly evocative image of the mighty warrior Aragorn and Legolas, prince of the Elven kingdom of Mirkwood. The two fought with passion and bravery, playing vital roles in the battles that determine the fate of Middle-earth.

Stamps Alone

A se-tenant block of the eight stamps was available as well as the four blocks of two stamps.

Presenting the Best

For your personal collection of the best Home of Middle-earth stamp products, you could look no further than the presentation pack. Breathtaking scenes from the movie trilogy complimented the gummed first day cover, miniature sheet, and self-adhesive booklet.

Vast Landscapes

The Home of Middle-earth gummed first day cover portrayed New Zealand's uninhabited landscapes - vast expanses well suited to movies of all genres. The self-adhesive first day cover depicted Sam and Frodo on their way to Mordor, which was filmed in the Tongariro National Park.

Pocket-Sized Convenience

Our booklet of self-adhesive stamps comprised of 10 miniature pieces of cinematic history - six 45c Ford of Bruinen/Skippers Canyon and four 90c South of Rivendell/Mt Olympus stamps. These were neatly packaged and presented with a photograph of three of our movie heroes.

An Awesome Foursome

Giant-sized images of the movie scenes from the Home of Middle-earth collection dominated the four maximum cards - while their 'real-life' counterparts reminded us of the power of movie-making in transforming often well known landscapes into fictional masterpieces.

The Full Story

New Zealand Post's limited editions are highly sought after by collectors around the world - and the Home of Middle-earth limited edition was no exception. With only 2,000 copies ever produced, (each individually numbered and authenticated), you could read more about the people and places behind the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy - a unique insight into the cinematic journey required to create the world of Middle-earth.

Product Listing for The Lord of the Rings - New Zealand The Home of Middle-earth

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Image Title Description Price
Block of Stamps

Block of two x 45c 'The Ford of Bruinen and Skippers Canyon' gummed stamps.

Who cannot forget the scene where Arwen summoned a great flood to prevent the darkly malevolent Black Riders from crossing the Ford of Rivendell - and claiming the Ring for their master, Sauron. In reality, the Ford is the Shotover River, deep in Skippers Canyon near Queenstown - once the most prolific of the local goldfields and now a popular visitor destination. Meanwhile, you'll find the horses' track to the river on the banks of the Arrow River, only minutes away from the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown.

Block of Stamps

Block of two x 90c 'South of Rivendell and Mt Olympus' gummed stamps.

In the South Island's remote and spectacular Kahurangi National Park, a local helicopter pilot spotted an ideal site for the rough country south of Rivendell. Several months later, the cast and crew arrived to film the Fellowship seeking shelter from Saruman's 'crebain' (black crows) under the rocky outcrops of Mount Olympus. Sprouting from the side of the mountain, these rocks have twisted and cracked into surreal column-like shapes, stark pillars that add to the area's mystically magical air.

Block of Stamps

Block of two $1.50 'Edoras and Erewhon' gummed stamps.

Further south, and within deep valleys hidden near Mount Sunday in the towering Southern Alps, the Rings team created the Rohirrim city of Edoras and the Golden Hall, home of King Theoden. In this rocky, weather-beaten terrain, the crew spent 11 months constructing the elaborate set for the capital city of Rohan, the land of fabled horses and valiant warriors. The magnificent edifice attracted curious, camera-bearing visitors for many weekends, only too happy to make the journey from Christchurch over the flat Canterbury Plains to this elusive realm of snow-capped peaks.

Block of Stamps

Block of two $2.00 'Mordor and Tongariro' gummed stamps.

The Great Battle of the Last Alliance, marking the end of the Second Age of Middle-earth, was filmed in the starkly dramatic Tongariro National Park - home to Mount Ruapehu, the highest mountain in the North Island. The landscape of blasted volcanic rock, steep bluffs and ash at Iwikau Village was the perfect location for Mount Doom, the epicentre of evil, home to the dark Lord Sauron and the place where the One Ring was first forged.

Block of Stamps Block of two x 45c 'The Ford of Bruinen and Skippers Canyon' self-adhesive stamps. $0.90
Block of Stamps Block of two x 90c 'South of Rivendell and Mt Olympus' self-adhesive stamps. $1.80
Souvenir Sheet Mint, used or cancelled souvenir sheet. $9.70
First Day Cover First day cover with gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $10.20
First Day Cover First day cover with self-adhesive stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $3.20
Set of Maximum Cards Set of four pre-paid postcards featuring a stamp on the front and artwork from the stamp issue. $8.00
Self-adhesive Dispenser Dispenser box containing 100  x 45c self-adhesive stamps. $45.00
Self-adhesive booklet Booklet containing 6 x 45c and 4 x 90c self-adhesive stamps. $6.30
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $29.95
Limited Edition Limited edition collectable containing exclusive stamp products not available anywhere else. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 7 July 2004
Number of stamps: Twelve
Denominations and designs: 45c (gummed and self-adhesive) The Ford of Bruinen/Skippers Canyon, 90c (gummed and self-adhesive) South of Rivendell/Mt Olympus, $1.50 Edoras/Erewhon, $2.00 Emyn Muil/Tongariro
Designer: Frans Lenzen, CommArts Design, Wellington
Printer and process: Gummed: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin; Self-adhesive: SNP Sprint, Australia by offset lithography
Stamp size and format: Gummed: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal); Self-adhesive: 25mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Gummed: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor stamp paper; Self-adhesive dispensers and coils: CPI C90 self-adhesive paper; Self-adhesive sheets and booklets: CPI C100 self-adhesive paper
Perforation gauge: Gummed: 14; Self-adhesive: diecut 
Number of stamps per sheet: Gummed: 50; Self-adhesive: 45c - 100, 90c - 50
Number of stamps per booklet: 10
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 6 July 2005.