New Zealand Coastlines

Celebrate New Zealand's long and varied coastline with this scenic stamp issue. 

Issue information

The exact length of New Zealand’s coastline is impossible to measure due to countless twists and turns, but it’s estimated to be between 15,000 and 18,000 kilometres. Although the North Island is smaller than the South Island, it actually has a longer coastline due to numerous inlets, bays, harbours, fiords and estuaries.

Dotted along New Zealand’s coastline are numerous lighthouses that play a key role in keeping our ships safe from harm. Ship-to-shore communications are essential in ensuring safety on the water, and 2013 marks 100 years since New Zealand’s maritime radio service was fully developed. 2013 also marks the centenary of the Castlepoint lighthouse on the Wairarapa coast.

The Coastlines stamp issue celebrates five areas of New Zealand’s picturesque coast and the lighthouses that monitor them.

70c - Castlepoint

Castlepoint lighthouse is built on a prominent cliff on the Wairarapa coast, named by Captain Cook who thought it looked like a medieval stronghold. One of the last manned lights to be established in New Zealand (1913), it is one of only two lighthouses still operating with the original lens.

$1.40 - Nugget Point

Nugget Point’s stone lighthouse stands near the south-east corner of the South Island, where many small islets and reefs pose hazards to the small vessels entering the Clutha River mouth. It was first lit in 1870 and the original lens is still in place today.

$1.90 - East Cape

The country’s most easterly lighthouse was originally located on East Island, just off East Cape, where its light was first lit in 1900. It was a troublesome location from the start and in 1922 the tower and all the buildings were relocated to the mainland.

$2.40 - Pencarrow Head

Built in 1858 and operational from 1 January 1859, Pencarrow Head lighthouse, near Wellington, is the oldest lighthouse in New Zealand and was the first to have a foghorn fitted, in 1900. This was also the only lighthouse in New Zealand to ever have a woman, Mary Bennett, as principal lighthouse keeper.

$2.90 - Cape Campbell

Cape Campbell lighthouse, about 50 kilometres from Blenheim on the South Island’s east coast, marks the southern approaches to Cook Strait. Many ships have been wrecked in the vicinity of the cape. The wreck of the Alexander in 1858 prompted the choice of Cape Campbell as a site for a lighthouse.

Technical information

Date of issue: 4 September 2013
Number of stamps: Five gummed stamps
Denominations: 70c, $1.40, $1.90, $2.40, $2.90
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Creative, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 60mm x 25mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 13.33 x 13.60
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 3 September 2014