Auckland Harbour Bridge 50th Anniversary

For many of us, it’s been there as long as we can remember – but when it was opened in 1959, the Auckland Harbour Bridge was one of the most significant infrastructure projects New Zealand had ever undertaken. Soaring over the waters of Waitemata Harbour, it provided a much-needed link between the North Shore and Auckland City – with long-term benefits for residents, businesses and New Zealand as a whole.

Issue information

Fifty years since its opening, Auckland Harbour Bridge is an icon of New Zealand’s landscape. The Auckland Harbour Bridge is an icon of New Zealand’s landscape. Replacing a 40-kilometre drive or a cross harbour ferry ride, it’s been key to growth in the region – transforming North Shore’s seaside villages and rural communities into a thriving city, and opening Auckland City and points north and south to previously unimaginable opportunities for expansion and development.

New Zealand Post celebrated the 50th anniversary of this remarkable structure’s opening, with four gummed stamps, one self-adhesive stamp and a first day cover.

A Half-century of Performance

The Auckland Harbour Bridge 50th Anniversary first day cover illustrated the bridge’s place as an icon of our urban landscape, while the stamps told the story of its 50-year life. By day or night, it’s a magnificent sight – a testament to the engineering and technical ingenuity that went into building it all those years ago.

Product Listing for Auckland Harbour Bridge 50th Anniversary 

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Opening Day 1959' gummed stamp.

On 30 May 1959, Governor-General Lord Cobham officially opened the box truss bridge after a week of celebrations that included a crossing by thousands of pedestrians before it was opened to vehicles. Retailers prepared for the event with ‘bridge specials’ and competitions, while parades, fashion shows and dances were held to welcome the new landmark.

$0.50
Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Our Bridge 2009' gummed stamp.

By the late 1960s it was apparent that the Bridge would soon reach its capacity. To cope with the growth in traffic volumes, Japanese company IHI clipped two new lanes to each side of the bridge using the existing pier supports. The work was completed in 1969, with the only major maintenance required since being a girder strengthening project in 2006.

$1.00
Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Our Icon 1961' gummed stamp.

From the day it opened until 1984, Auckland Harbour Bridge was a toll road, charging 25 cents per car with the aim of recovering the costs of construction. After one year of operation, 4.9 million vehicles had crossed the bridge, a figure that increased to 10.6 million in 1966 and reached more than 60 million in 2008. To help manage the traffic flow, the world’s first ‘moveable lane barrier’ was installed in 1990 – it’s now moved four times a day to create an extra lane at peak times.

$1.50
Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Our Link 2009' gummed stamp.

Today, the Auckland Harbour Bridge is an essential link between the North Shore and Auckland City – providing commuters, travellers and tourists with an easy, direct link to motorways stretching north and south. It’s also a visitor destination, with bridge climbing and bungy jumping experiences now on offer to those with an adventurous spirit. Care to try ‘the fastest way of getting to see Waitemata Harbour’ yourself?

$2.00
Single Stamp Single 50c 'Opening Day 1959' self-adhesive stamp. $0.50
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $6.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 1 May 2009
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps and one self-adhesive stamp
Denominations 50c (gummed and self-adhesive), $1.00, $1.50, $2.00
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Mata Limited, Auckland, with photography by Denis Wilford, Stephen Witherden and Tim Morris
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand – by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours (self-adhesive tagged with red phosphor)
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm
Paper type: Gummed: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper; Self-adhesive: Avery Dennison B90 Kraft Back Adhesive 210gsm
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: Gummed: 13.33; Self-adhesive: die cut
Special blocks: Plate/imrpint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 30 April 2010.