New Zealand

Fossils, dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on stamps and postmarks of New Zealand

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New Zealand is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu—and numerous smaller islands.
New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.
Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life.
The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.
New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland. Population of the county is about 4,7 million.
In 1840, Maori Chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights.
The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the UK militarily in both world wars.

Postage stamps have been issued in New Zealand since July 1855 with the "Chalon head" stamps figuring Queen Victoria.
The design was based on a full face portrait of the Queen in her state robes at the time of her coronation in 1837, by Alfred Edward Chalon.
The stamps were initially hand cut from sheets, but from 1862 on, these sheets started being fed through automatic perforating machines.
The Chalon heads were used until 1874, when they were replaced with lithographed stamps that showed Queen Victoria in side profile.
New Zealand was the first country in the world to prototype and install stamp vending machines; one was installed in the General Post Office, Wellington in 1905. [R2]

Official stamps of New Zealand related to Paleontology: fossils, dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals

01.02.1984 "Antarctic Research" [1] 01.10.1993 "Dinosaurs" [2]
Fossil on Antarctic research stamps of New Zealand 1984 Dinosaurs on stamps of New Zealand 1993 Michel "Dinos - whole world" catalog 2019. Approx. 2500 colour illustrations and about 20 000 price quotations at approx. 328 paperback
                        pages with Novelties up to MICHEL Rundschau 1/2019 have been catalogued in this edition
03.03.2010 "Ancient Reptiles of New Zealand" (mint and self-adhesive mini-sheet) 02.11.2022 Woman in Science
Prehistoric animals, Ancient Reptiles on stamps of New Zealand 1984 Prehistoric animals on stamps of New Zealand 1984 Paleontologist Joan Wiffen among other woman in science on stamp of New Zealand 2022

[1] Plant fossil shown on one of the "Antarctic research" stamps of New Zealand 1984, MiNr.: 889, Scott: 791.
Plant fossil shown on one of "Antarctic research" stamps of New Zealand 1984.

[2] On October 10, 1993, only three month after release of "Jurassic Park" movie, three commonwealth countries: Australia, Canada and New Zealand issued stamps with prehistoric animals.
Dinosaur stamps of Australia 1993 Dinosaur stamps of Canada 1993, Click for details Dinosaur stamps of New Zealand 1993

Some other stamps of New Zealand: Natural History Museum, contributors to Paleontology

10.10.1967 "Century of Royal Society of New Zealand" [A1] 11.02.1998 "Opening of Te Papa Museum of New Zealand in Wellington" [A2]
Sir James Hector (1834-1907) on New Zealand 1967 Te Papa Museum on New Zealand 1998

In 1874 James Hector described some Mosasaur remains, now known as Taniwhasaurus haumuriensis
In 1874 James Hector described some Mosasaur remains, now known as Taniwhasaurus haumuriensis.
[A1] Sir James Hector [R3] KCMG FRS FRSE (16 March 1834 – 6 November 1907) was a Scottish-New Zealand geologist, naturalist, and surgeon who accompanied the Palliser Expedition as a surgeon and geologist.
James Hector was the dominating personality in the small, nineteenth century scientific community in New Zealand. Appointed as the government‟s first professional scientist in 1865, he quickly established the New Zealand Geological Survey (now GNS Science), the Colonial Museum (now Te Papa) and the New Zealand Institute (now Royal Society of New Zealand) as well as becoming a trusted government advisor. Until he retired in 1903, Hector wrote and published a huge amount of material including scientific papers, official parliamentary reports, and annual reports for the organisations under his control as well as supervising the publication of scientific material in the annual Transactions of the New Zealand Institute and the Reports of Geological Exploration.
In 1874, he reported about some fossil discoveries in New Zaland : "The first notice of the occurrence in New Zealand strata of representatives of the Reptilian fauna characteristic of the mesozoic epoch, was made in 1861, when Professor Owen communicated to the British Association a brief description of certain fossils that had been discovered by Mr. T. H. Cockbvirn Hood, P.G.S., and presented by him to the British Museum. These fossil remains were obtained by Mr. Hood in a ravine on one of the tributaries of the Waipara River, at the northern extremity of the Canterbury plains. They comprise the vertebral centra, ribs, and coracoid bones, all belonging to the same individual which Professor Owen referred to a new species — Plesiosaurus australis. " ("On the Fossil Reptilia of New Zealand")

Gideon and Mary-Anne Mantell studing the Iguanodon tooth on postmark of China 2005
Gideon and Mary-Anne Mantell studing the Iguanodon tooth on postmark of China 2005.
[A2] Most of fossils of New Zealand housed in the National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington [R4], including the first three dinosaur fossils ever found in New Zealand: a theropod tail vertebra, a toe bone (phalanx) of another theropod, and a fragment of rib bone from an ankylosaur, an armour-plated ornithopod.

Also housed at the National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington is a remarkable dinosaur fossil from Sussex, England.
It is a fossil tooth that is considered to be the very first fossil to be recognised as 'dinosaur'. Its finding in a quarry near Cuckfield in 1820 is attributed to Mary-Anne Mantell, wife of palaeontologist Gideon Mantell. Gideon Mantell formally described his wife's famous fossil in 1822 and named it 'Iguanodon'. It is housed in New Zealand because his son Walter built a career in the early colonial days of New Zealand (1840s to 1880s) and was a key figure in the development of the Colonial Museum (now Te Papa). He inherited his father's belongings in the 1850s, including the Iguanodon tooth.

Commemorative postmarks of New Zealand related to Paleontology: prehistoric animals

Legend is here
1990 "Canterbury Museum" [PM] 01.10.1993 "Dinosaurs" [FDC] [2] [C1] 03.03.2010 "Ancient Reptiles of New Zealand" [FDC]
Allosaurus dinosaur on meter franking of New Zealand 1990 Dinosaur on meter franking of New Zealand 1990 Dinosaur on meter franking of New Zealand 1990
03.03.2010 "Ancient Reptiles of New Zealand" [FDC] [C2]
Dinosaur on meter franking of New Zealand 1990

Limited Edition Pack of Ancient Reptiles of New Zealand stamps [C1] Dinosaur vertebrate on postmark of New Zealand that used on FDC.

[C2] The silver postmark used on FDC from "Limited Edition Pack" which included a numbered gummed miniature sheet specifically designed for this edition, a signed first day cover, a full set of stamps, colour separations of the $2.80 stamp and insightful commentary by renowned New Zealand geologist and palaeontologist Dr Hamish Campbell.

Some other commemorative postmarks of New Zealand to consider: contributors to Paleontology

Legend is here
21.12.2001 "Centenary of the first British Antarctic Expedition - Robert Falcon Scott" [Sp] [CO1]
Robert Falcon Scott on postmark of New Zealand 2001

[CO1] Robert Falcon Scott CVO (6 June 1868 – 29 March 1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery expedition of 1901–1904 and the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition of 1910–1912.

Scott and his companions died on the second expedition. When Scott and his party's bodies were discovered, 16kg of Glossopteris (an extinct beech-like tree from 250 million years ago) fossils from the Queen Maud Mountains were found next to their bodies, which they had dragged on hand sledges.
These fossils were promised to Marie Stopes (shown on UK stamp in 2008) to provide evidence for Eduard Suess's idea that Antarctica had once been part of an ancient super-continent named Gondwanaland (now Gondwana).
More details are here.

  •   [R1] New Zealand: Wikipedia, WikiTravel, FlagCounter.
  •   [R2] Postal History and Philately of New Zealand: Wikipedia,
              Links to official website of the Post Authority, stamp catalog and a list of new stamps of New Zealand are here
  •   [R3] Sir James Hector: Wikipedia.
    "A bibliography of publications by or about James Hector (1834-1907)", by Simon Nathan, Rowan Burns & Esme Mildenhall. Geoscience Society of New Zealand miscellaneous publication 133M March 2015
  •   [R4] Te Papa Museum of New Zealand: official homepage.

Many thanks to Dr. Peter Voice from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University, for the draft page review and his valuable comments.

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