Niue Giant Sea Fan

The crystal-clear waters of Niue make it the perfect spot to encounter a stunning range of sea creatures, including an array of vibrant coral.

Issue information

This special stamp issue pays tribute to the giant sea fan (Annella mollis) – a coral that is found throughout Niue’s picturesque coral reefs.

It has been released as part of the WWF Conservation Stamp Collection – the largest thematic collection in the world. WWF was established in 1961 with a mission to stop the decline in the natural world, and more than 2,000 different WWF stamps have been issued since 1983 in 220 countries.

The giant sea fan is a soft coral (Octocorallia) and belongs to the class of flower animals (Anthozoa). Its fans measure up to two metres and are always placed transverse to the sea current, making it easier for it to fish its food (small plankton) out of the water.

Soft corals do not produce calcium carbonate skeletons, but instead contain minute, spiny skeletal elements called sclerites. Sclerites, too, give these corals some degree of support and protection against predators. Since there is no true skeleton, their bodies are flexible.

Niue’s warm, clear waters make it an ideal environment to spot giant sea fans. The atoll is made entirely of porous limestone and has no lakes or streams. Therefore rain filters quickly through the island into the sea, and there is no sediment in the water, resulting in water clarity that is ranked amongst the best in the world.

Giant sea fans can be found at depths of around 10 to 50 metres, and countless tourists visit Niue year after year to experience the spectacular marine life on offer.

Each of the four gummed stamps in this issue features the official WWF logo and they are presented together on the miniature sheet. The background of the miniature sheet gives a close-up view of a giant sea fan, and is a beautiful addition to the stamp collection.

The unique datestamp in this issue pictures a diver exploring Niue’s waters – reflecting the large number of tourists who experience Niue’s breathtaking
diving environment.

Technical information

Date of issue: 5 September 2012
Number of stamps: Set of four gummed stamps
Denominations: $1.20, $1.40, $1.70 and $2.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by:  New Zealand Post Limited, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer: Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post, Whanganui, New Zealand.
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until close of business 4 September 2013