Giants of New Zealand

In 2009 we celebrated our unique natural heritage with a ‘larger than life’ illustrated issue, featuring five giant stamps, 28 per cent larger than normal stamps. Imagine coming face to face with intimidating animals of gigantic proportions. Fortunately for us this is an opportunity almost as rare as the giant squid itself.

Issue information

New Zealand’s biodiversity is one of the most unusual on Earth, owing to our lengthy isolation from other continents. Our fauna reflects this uniqueness, evolving into distinctive and oftenenormous native birds, such as the giant moa and giant eagle, archaic insects like the giant weta, and mammoth ocean dwellers including the colossal squid and southern right whale.

50c – Giant Moa
Believed to have become extinct around 500 years ago, the South Island giant moa was the tallest bird ever, with some reaching a massive three metres in height. Now you can have your very own depiction of one of New Zealand’s most infamous endemic birds.

$1.00 – Colossal Squid
From the depths of the southern oceans comes the colossal squid with its formidable tentacles equipped with sharp, swivelling hooks.
Historically captured by a New Zealand fishing boat off Antarctica in 2007, you too now have the opportunity to capture your very own colossal squid.

$1.50 – Southern Right Whale
A favourite of early whalers owing to their size and
slow speed, southern right whales were easier to catch
and yielded more oil than other whales. Hence, the early settlers described this giant species as ‘the right whale’. It rightly earns a spot as a Giant of New Zealand in this collection.

$2.00 – Giant Eagle
Our very own giant eagle was the world’s largest eagle, believed to have become extinct around the same time as the giant moa. This littleknown ‘Lord of the forest’ with its tiger-like talons and three-metre wingspan, returns in this very special Giants series.

$2.50 – Giant Weta
Despite its horror-movie looks, this 10-centimetre-long insect is a peaceful creature, eating mostly leaves, flowers and fruit. With most species of giant weta endangered, it now survives mainly on protected islands. And here, within the Giants of New Zealand collection where you can protect it yourself.

Limited Edition products (only 2,000 packs produced)

Miniature sheet and souvenir cover. 

Technical information

Issue:  Giants of New Zealand
Date of Issue: 4 March 2009
Number of stamps: Five gummed stamps
Denominations: 50c, $1.00, $1.50, $2.00, $2.50
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Dave Gunson, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 52mm x 37.5mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14.40 x 14.60