Penguins

New Zealand - Penguin Capital of the World. The six species of penguin depicted on these stamps breed in New Zealand, giving us a greater diversity than anywhere else and fair claim to the title of penguin capital of the world.

Issue information

From snackfood commercials to children's songs, the quaint waddle of penguins on land has made them famous in popular culture.

Up to eighty per cent of a penguin's life is spent in the ocean where their stiff, paddle-like flippers, torpedo-shaped bodies and heavy bones are ideally adapted for speed and deep diving. While other birds take to the skies, these fly through water, cleverly camouflaged from beneath and above with their white bellies and dark backs.

There are 17 recognised species of penguin, found in many parts of the Southern Hemisphere - from icy Antarctica up to the Galapagos Islands on the Equator. The little blue penguin, found on and near Banks Peninsula, is considered by some biologists to be a different species.

Eight of these fascination birds feature in two stamp issues, one for New Zealand, the other for the Ross Dependency. Ross Dependency is the section of Antarctica under New Zealand's jurisdiction. It is where both Scott Base and the United States McMurdo Sound settlements are located.

These two issues featured penguins endemic to their respective geographic areas. The images and cool fresh designs captured penguins in their natural environments displaying their playful and communal nature. They're a charming collection of the genuine 'characters' of the bird kingdom.

Product Listing for Penguins

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Rockhopper' gummed stamp.

Sometimes called the punk-rockers of penguins for their spiky head plumage.

$0.40
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Little Blue Penguin' gummed stamp.

Just 25 centimetres tall and one kilogram in weight, this is the world's smallest penguin. The bird shown is a white-flippered sub-species of the blue penguin.

$0.80
Single Stamp

Single 90c 'Snares Crested Penguin' gummed stamp.

One of the three crested species featured in this issue that only breed in New Zealand.

$0.90
Single Stamp

Single $1.30 'Erect-crested Penguin' gummed stamp.

This penguin is an inhabitant of our sub-antarctic islands, living in huge colonies mainly on the Antipodes and Bounty Islands.

$1.30
Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Fiordland Crested Penguin' gummed stamp.

Only 3,000 breeding pairs remain of this relatively timid penguin that breeds in the rainforests along the rugged coastline of the south-west New Zealand.

$1.50
Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Yellow-eyed Penguin' gummed stamp.

Many New Zealanders have supported recent conservation efforts to protect the remaining population of around 1,600 pairs.

$2.00
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.40
Presentation Pack Joint issue presentation pack featuring all 12 stamps from the 2001 Ross Dependency - Penguins issue as well as the New Zealand Penguins issue.  $18.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 7 November 2001
Number of stamps: Six
Denominations and designs: 40c Rockhopper Penguin; 80c Little Blue Penguin; 90c Snares Crested Penguin; $1.30 Erect-crested Penguin, $1.50 AdelFiordland Crested Penguin; $2.00 Yellow-eyed Penguin
Stamps and first day cover designed by: CommArts Design, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand, by offset lithography
Stamp size and format: 40.61mm x 35mm horizontal
Number of stamps per sheet: 50 stamps
Number of colours: Four colour process 
Perforation gauge: 14.25
Paper type: De La Rue 103gsm red phosphor coated
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 6 November 2002.