2010 Ross Dependency Whales of the Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean is the fourth largest of the world's oceans and encompasses the remote part of New Zealand called the Ross Dependency. This unique ecological region is home to numerous species, including many of the great whales.

Issue information

'Whales' is the name given to the group of carnivorous marine mammals that spend their entire life in the sea (or sometimes rivers). There are two groups of modern whale: the filter-feeding baleen whales, and the echo-locating toothed whales. Three families of baleen whale are represented in the Southern Ocean (rorqual, right whale and pygmy right whale), and five families of toothed whale (sperm whale, diminutive sperm whale, beaked whale, dolphin and porpoise). 

These fascinating mammals were the focus of the Ross Dependency 2010 stamp issue. Consisting of five large stamps (50mm x 30mm) and a range of collectable stamp products, it was an issue that was sure to impress.

Ross Dependency Postage in New Zealand

Ross Dependency stamps are not valid for postage in New Zealand. Click here to find out more.

Product Listing for 2010 Ross Dependency Whales of the Southern Ocean

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 60c 'Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)' gummed stamp.

At up to 18 metres long for males and 12 metres for females, the sperm whale is the largest toothed predator on Earth and probably the most abundant of the large whales. Sperm whales are characterised by their substantial rectangular heads, and have the biggest brains on the planet, weighing in at a hefty 9.5 kilograms.

$0.60
Single Stamp

Single $1.20 'Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata and B. Bonarensis)' gummed stamp.

The minke whale is the smallest of the rorquals owing to its sharply pointed head, and is often called the ‘little piked whale’. There are two species of minke whale in the Southern Ocean: the Antarctic minke and the dwarf minke. The dwarf minke reaches about eight metres in length and has a distinctive white patch across the flipper.

$1.20
Single Stamp

Single $1.90 'Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)' gummed stamp.

The sei whale gets its name from the Norwegian word seje, a small fish that was considered the whale’s preferred prey by Norwegian whalers. The sei whale was regarded by whalers as the sleekest and fastest of all the rorquals. Unlike the other rorquals, sei whales prefer to skim feed at the surface by swimming along with their mouths open.

$1.90
Single Stamp

Single $2.40 'Killer whale (Orcinus orca)' gummed stamp.

Killer whales, sometimes called orca, are toothed whales and the largest members of the dolphin family. They are highly distinctive with their black and white colour patterns, white eye patches and conspicuous dorsal fins. Killer whales are remarkable hunters and are sometimes referred to as the wolves of the sea.

$2.40
Single Stamp

Single $2.90 'Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)' gummed stamp.

The humpback whale is famous for its acrobatic leaps and remarkable songs. They reach about 17 metres in length and are easily recognised with their long, narrow flippers. The Southern Ocean humpbacks differ from those of the north Pacific by having considerably more white on their flippers and on the undersides of the throat and belly.

$2.90
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $9.00
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $9.50
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $9.50
Presentation Pack The Whales of the Southern Ocean presentation pack was a product well worth exploring. Written by Anton van Helden (Collection Manager, Marine Mammals, Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa), was packed with interesting facts and contained the set of stamps, miniature sheet and first day cover. $27.50
Limited Edition This superior collectable featured a number of exclusive products, including a booklet written by Anton van Helden (Collection Manager, Marine Mammals, Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa), It also contained a signed first day cover by Anton, an individually numbered miniature sheet, colour separations for the $2.90 stamp and a full set of stamps. Produced in limited numbers this product was a must for collectors. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 17 November 2010
Number of stamps:  Five gummed stamps
Denominations: 60c, $1.20, $1.90, $2.40, $2.90
Stamps and first day covers designed by: Tim Garman, Silver-i Design Associates, Whanganui, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours:  Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 50mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14.8 x 14.67
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 16 November 2011.