02 September 2012

Great Voyages of New Zealand



Date of Issue : 5 September 2012

New Zealand Post will issue a set of 5 stamps and a Miniature sheet on 5th September 2012 featuring Great Voyages of New Zealand.

2012 is a fitting time to look back at New Zealand’s maritime history, as it marks a number of significant anniversaries, including 50 years of the Cook Strait Inter-Island Rail and Road Service. 100 years have passed since the Earnslaw was successfully launched, and it’s been 130 years since the Dunedin completed the first successful shipment of frozen meat between New Zealand and England.

These important milestones are celebrated in the ‘Great Voyages of New Zealand’ stamp issue along with waka, which transported people and trade goods across Cook Strait, and the Rotomahana – the first ocean-going ship built of mild steel.

Whether they were enabling trade, increasing efficiencies or transporting people, each of the vessels in the ‘Great Voyages of New Zealand’ stamp issue has a unique story to tell.

70c - Aramoana

The Aramoana’s big stern door transformed domestic transport in 1962. Prior to then, double-handling had made it too costly and slow for rail to compete with coastal ships, but roll-on, roll-off ships seamlessly connected the islands. In 2012 five such ships form a ‘floating bridge’. The 4,160-ton road/rail ferry Aramoana served until 1984.

$1.40 - Waka

Over time Māori developed a range of distinctive dugout canoes ranging from the imposing waka taua (war canoes) to the humbler fishing canoes, river canoes and reed and flax craft. Usually paddled but sometimes assisted by mat sails, the bigger vessels could transport large quantities of people and trade goods across Cook Strait.

$1.90 - Earnslaw

Tourists walk the triple - expansion steamer Earnslaw’s decks these days, but 100 years ago the ‘Lady of the Lake’ was a hard-working passenger, freight and livestock carrier, one of several linking the isolated farms and settlements of Lake Wakatipu. Designed and built in Dunedin and reassembled at the lakeside in 1912, the Earnslaw still burns coal today.

$2.40 - Dunedin

In 1874 the Albion Line (later Shaw Savill & Albion) commissioned the 1,320-ton Dunedin for the immigrant trade, which it served until being converted in 1881 to carry frozen meat. A regular caller to Oamaru, the Dunedin vanished with all 35 crew after sailing from that port for London in March 1890; the ship probably hit an iceberg.

$2.90 - Rotomahana

With its rakish bow, masts and funnel, the Rotomahana looked like an elegant steam yacht. The first ocean-going ship built of mild steel, the 15.5- knot ‘Greyhound of the Pacific’ spearheaded the Union Steam Ship Company’s grab for the trans-Tasman trade in the late 1870s. The 1,727-ton ship later served on the Wellington-Lyttelton and Melbourne-Hobart runs before being discarded in 1925.


The first day covers feature imagery of historical nautical maps as well as two unique date stamps.

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