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Westland Centennial

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This commemorative set of three stamps was issued to mark the Centenary of Westland.

Issue information

The first Europeans to visit the West Coast were Brunner and Heaphy, whose exploration began in 1846. Until 1856 the only European visitors to the Coast seem to have been sealers from Foveaux Strait and shore whalers operating from the Jackson Bay area.

In the late 1850s the first detailed survey of the West Coat was undertaken for the Nelson Provincial Government by John Rochfort, who is said to have named the area Westland. The year 1860 saw the transfer of Westland to the British. The Assistant Native Secretary, James Mackay, began negotiations with the chief of the coastal Māori. As a result, all tribes gathered at Poherua Lagoon near Okarito, there Mackay offered the Māori 300 gold sovereigns, on behalf of the Governor, in exchange for their territory - with the condition that certain lands should be set aside as native reserves. The offer was accepted and on 21 May 1860 the agreement was signed.

Westland became an independent territory in 1868, by virtue of the County of Westland Act, being separated from the Canterbury Province. Westland County was raised to the status of a Province on 1 December 1873. The stamps recognised the first explorers, miners and women of the region.

Stamp Bulletin

This stamp issue first appeared in New Zealand Post Stamp Bulletin No. 20 on 6 May 1960.

Acknowledgments: Bulletin scanned and provided by John Biddlecombe of the New Zealand Society of Great Britain. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Product Listing for Westland Centennial

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp Single 2d 'The Explorer' gummed stamp. 2d
Single Stamp Single 3d 'The Gold Digger' gummed stamp. 3d
Single Stamp Single 8d 'The Pioneer Woman' gummed stamp. 8d

Technical information

Date of issue: 16 May 1960
Designers: G R Smith and G Bull, Wellington
Printers: Harrison and Sons, England
Stamp size: 25mm x 41mm
Sheet size: 120 stamps per sheet
Process: Photogravure
Perforation gauge: 14 x 14.5
Paper type: Guard Bridge, multiple NZ and star watermark
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 31 August 1960.
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