The bioluminescent beauty of the New Zealand native glowworm is a sight to behold, and it can be found throughout Aotearoa. This stunning stamp issue pays tribute to this awe-inducing insect with an exciting twist - the stamps glow in the dark. The photography featured on the issue is from New Zealand photographer Joseph Michael's 'Luminosity' series.
Despite what the name suggests, glowworms aren’t true worms - they’re the larval stage of the fungus gnat. The fungus gnat can glow at all stages of its life (except in the egg stage), but it’s during the larval stage that it shines the brightest. The famous blue-green ‘glow’ is a chemical reaction created in what is the glowworm equivalent of the human kidney. The total life cycle of the fungus gnat takes around 11 months, with the glowworm stage being the longest in the life cycle, averaging around nine months.
The New Zealand native glowworm is scientifically known as Arachnocampa luminosa, and although it is most spectacular when seen in caves, it’s common outside caves too, favouring damp, warm conditions with a good supply of food.
The photographs featured on these stamps have been taken by New Zealand photographer Joseph Michael, whose Luminosity series came to global attention in 2015. These stunning photographs were taken using long exposure techniques and were shot over many long nights deep in the glowworm caves of the North Island.
This visually striking stamp issue features four gummed stamps as well as a $2.00 self-adhesive stamp. The stamps have been printed using glow-in-the-dark ink to replicate the effect of glowworms in the wild - simply expose them to sunlight and then step into a dark space to see the stamps light up.
80c - Mangawhitikau Cave
Mangawhitikau Cave, described by Sir David Attenborough as “astonishing”, is famous for its extensive display of glowworms. Tours depart from the Spellbound office located in the Waitomo Caves village and artificial lights are kept out during the tours so the glowworms can be viewed in their full glory
$1.40 - Nikau Cave
Nikau Cave is located in Waikaretu, a sheep and cattle farming area approximately 90 minutes' drive southwest of Auckland. This delightful tourist cave was known to Mäori and early settlers. Privately owned, the cave has no paths, handrails or lights. Tourists take torches and clamber up a streambed beneath stalactites, shawls and delicate straws.
$2.00 - Ruakuri Cave (gummed and self-adhesive)
RuakurÏ was the ‘wildest’ of the early Waitomo tourist caves – with hidden waterfalls, ‘a ghost walk’, galleries and decorated chambers. It was named for the wild dogs (kurÏ) that lived in the cave entrance, which was used by Mäori long before Europeans arrived.
This stamp is also available in self-adhesive format and in a booklet of 10 - perfect for your international postcard postage needs!
$2.50 - Waipu Caves
The Waipü Caves are in a scenic reserve about 10 kilometres inland from the little boutique village of Waipü. They were first used as tourist caves in the 1870s, a decade before Waitomo Caves, when tourists were transported by horse and buggy.
Celebrate this luminous species with glow-in-the-dark collectables
Included in this issue are a miniature sheet and two first day covers. The first day cover includes the four gummed stamps and the $2.00 self-adhesive stamp. Each of these collectables feature further imagery from Joseph Michael’s Luminosity series, with the miniature sheet first day cover also depicting the glowworm life cycle.
A dazzling die-cut presentation pack
The presentation pack is a must-have collectable from this special issue. The presentation pack cover has been specially die-cut to replicate the mouth of a cave and contains further information about glowworms in New Zealand and their life cycle, provided by the Waitomo Caves Museum Society. To learn more about New Zealand’s glowworms, be sure to place your order for the presentation pack today.
Get an in-depth look at the world of glowworms with the Limited Edition
The Limited Edition is the premium collectable in this issue and is essential for anyone wanting to learn more about these fascinating creatures. The Limited Edition has been produced in limited numbers and contains stamp collectables exclusive to this issue, including a unique miniature sheet, plate blocks of the four stamps, colour separations of the $2.50 stamp, a set of gummed stamps and a special first day cover signed by the author, Rudi Schnitzler, entomologist.
With just 2,000 Limited Editions produced, be sure to place an order today to secure yours!
|Date of issue:||2 March 2016|
|Number of stamps:||Four gummed and one self adhesive stamp|
|Denominations:||Gummed: 80c, $1.40, $2.00, $2.50, self-adhesive $2.00|
|Stamps and first day covers designed by:||Hannah Stancliffe-White, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand.|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours with synseal overgloss.|
|Stamp size and format:||25mm x 50mm (vertical)|
|Paper type:||Gummed: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||25|
|Perforation gauge:||Gummed: 14.4 x 14|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks are available in A and B formats.|
|Period of sale:||
Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 1 March 2017.
First day covers will remain on sale until 1 May 2016.