Birds of Tokelau

The Birds of Tokelau stamp issue focused on four of Tokelau’s native bird species: the tiafee, the lakia, the katafa gogo and the fuakoo.

Issue information

The results of a conservation survey conducted in 2011/2012 concluded that there are approximately 20 different species of native birds living in Tokelau: 14 seabirds, 1 heron, 4 waders and a pigeon. Many of Tokelau’s native bird species have come under threat from introduced pests such as rats and cats, as well as over-hunting and damage to nesting areas. Over the past few years, measures have been taken to ensure that Tokelau’s native birds are able to thrive. With these measures in place, at least six species of seabird have recovered in Tokelau over the past few decades.

There are three main species that dominate Tokelau’s native bird population, the black noddy or lakia, the brown noddy or gogo and the white tern or akiaki. A 2011/2012 survey revealed that each of these birds had been found in mating pairs numbering well into the thousands on each of Tokelau’s three atolls.

Throughout the year, Tokelau’s three atolls are also visited by various duck species from the north and the long tailed kern from New Zealand. Despite these visitors and the dominance of three species, a range of native birds are found across the atolls in smaller numbers. These native species include the Tiafee, Lakia, Katafa Gogo and Fuakoo, each of which was featured in this stamp issue.

Miniature Sheet and First Day Covers

The first day cover featured the black-naped tern, which typically breeds and roosts on islands so that it has ample access to the sea. This breed of tern can be found in many different locations but it very rarely ventures inland. As it nests on the ground it can be vulnerable to human and predator disturbance as well as flooding or other unpredictable weather patterns.

The miniature sheet first day cover featured a white tern chick. Its parents will nest in trees up to 15 metres off the ground and once the chick hatches from its pale egg with dark grey markings, it will hold on tightly to the branch it was hatched on. Rather than building a nest, white terns will lay their eggs in a depression in a branch or even a fork.

Product Listing for Birds of Tokelau

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp Single 45c 'Tiafee' gummed stamp. $0.45
Single Stamp Single $1.40 'Lakia' gummed stamp. $1.40
Single Stamp Single $2.00 'Katafa Gogo' gummed stamp. $2.00
Single Stamp Single $3.00 'Fuakoo' gummed stamp. $3.00
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $6.85
First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.35
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.35

Technical information

Date of issue: 1 March 2017
Number of stamps: Four gummed
Denominations: $0.45, $1.40, $2.00, $3.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Jonathan Gray, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer: Collectables and Solutions Centre, Whanganui, New Zealand
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 34.55mm x 35mm (vertical)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Perforation gauge: 14.28 x 14.47
Number of stamps per sheet: 12
Special blocks: Plate and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 28 February 2018.