World Stamps

New Zealand updates round Kiwi definitive stamps for new postal rates

May 2, 2021, 8 PM

By Denise McCarty

New Zealand Post is updating its round Kiwi definitive stamps.

In announcing the five new stamps being issued July 4, New Zealand Post said: “To honour our beloved national bird, this popular stamp has been refreshed for the eighth time since 1988. The 2018 Round Kiwi features all five species of kiwi in their habitat, in a range of vibrant colours.”

Two of the new stamps are denominated $1.20 to pay the new basic domestic rate as of July 1. On one stamp, the brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) is shown in green with a green background. The other depicts a great spotted kiwi (Apteryx haastii) in blue.

Like all kiwis, the brown kiwi is a flightless, tailless bird with nostrils, hairlike feathers, and a long, curved beak, and like most kiwis, it is nocturnal.

Found on New Zealand’s North Island, the brown kiwi is the most well known of the kiwi species.

On the other hand, the great spotted kiwi is the least well known. It also is the largest, with females growing up to 20 inches tall, and males up to 18 inches. This kiwi can be found in the wild in a few locations on the South Island.

The smallest kiwi, the little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii), is featured on the $2.40 pink stamp paying the new rate for large domestic letters and the international rate for aerograms and postcards.

According to the New Zealand Department of Conservation, all little spotted kiwis are descended from a small number of birds released on Kapiti Island in 1912.

The $3 red stamp features the tokoeka kiwi (Apteryx australis), which has four geographically and genetically distinct forms. New Zealand Post describes these as “the critically threatened Haast, the mountain loving northern Fiordland and southern Fiordland, and the Rakiura (Stewart Island) which is unusual among kiwi for being active in daylight.”

The yellow $3.60 stamp shows the rarest of the kiwi species, the rowi (Apteryx rowi), also known as the Okarito brown kiwi. There is only one natural population of about 550 birds found at Okarito on the west coast of the South Island.

The $3 stamp pays the rate for medium-size international letters, and the $3.60 stamp is for large international letters.

Dave Burke designed the new round Kiwi stamps. Southern Colour Print of New Zealand printed them by offset lithography in sheets of 20 and in a souvenir sheet with all five stamps.

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The kiwi was first pictured on the 6-penny green stamp of New Zealand’s 1898 pictorial issue (Scott 78). Ninety years later, in 1988, New Zealand Post introduced the round Kiwi definitive (918).

In a press release announcing three round Kiwi stamps issued July 6, 2011, New Zealand Post reviewed its previous issues: “One of New Zealand Post’s most enduring stamps, the Round Kiwi stamp was first produced in olive green in 1988. Since then, New Zealand’s national bird has appeared in red (1991), blue (1993), purple (in 1997 initially, and re-issued for the new millennium in 1999), gold (2000) and bronze (2002).”

The 2011 Kiwis set included a $1.20 stamp in black, $1.90 in silver and $2.40 in blue.

In 2007, New Zealand Post issued a set of five round commemorative stamps featuring native wildlife. A kiwi is shown on the 90¢ denomination. The other stamps depict a tuatara (45¢), Hamilton’s frog ($1.35), yellow-eyed penguin ($1.50) and Hector’s dolphin ($2).

For information about ordering New Zealand’s latest version of its round Kiwi stamps, visit the website or write to the Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post Lt., Private Bag 3001, Whanganui 4541, New Zealand.