||Michel: Scott: Stanley
Gibbons: Yvert: UPU:
||Jo Bailey, Wellington, New Zealand
|Stamps in set
$1.70 Lucy Moore (1906-1987) botanist and ecologist
$3.00 Joan Wiffen (1922-2009) palaeontologist
$3.80 Beatrice Hill Tinsley (1941-1981) astrophysicist
$4.30 Mākereti Papakura (1873-1930) (Tūhourangi), leader, guide, ethnographer
|Size (width x height)
||stamps: 28mm x 35.16mm
Mini-Sheet: 128mm x 90mm
||Mini-Sheet with 4 stamps,
Sheets of 20
||FDC x2, M/s x1, SH x4, PP x1
||Arconvert securpost premium gummed 110gsm
||13.50 x 13.75
||Southern Colour Print, New Zealand
On November 2nd
2022, the Post Authority of New Zealand issued the stamps set "Women in Science".
The set contain four stamps, printed in individual Sheets of 20 and all together in a Mini-Sheet of 4.
According to the official press release, Mākereti Papakura, Lucy Moore, Joan Wiffen
and Beatrice Hill Tinsley
are four remarkable New Zealand women who achieved in the scientific fields of ethnography, botany,
and cosmology in the 20th
Their contributions opened our eyes to our past, the natural world, our cultural traditions and legacies,
and the universe.
|The red stamp ($1.70) depicts Lucy Moore
(1906-1987) with images of
Pterocladia lucida, one of the seaweeds she observed and described.
In her long career she was responsible for the taxonomy of a variety of native flora.
||The violet stamp ($3.80) depicts Beatrice Hill Tinsley
In her short but remarkable career Beatrice Hill Tinsley proved that the universe was infinite
and would expand forever, and that galaxies evolved and interacted.
This picture shows Hill Tinsley in her office at Yale University in 1975.
||The yellow stamp ($4.30) depicts Mākereti Papakura
(1873-1930) who was an anthropologist whose posthumously published work, The Old-Time Māori (1938),
is now widely acknowledged as the first published scholarly work of ethnography written by a
stamp ($3.0) depicts Joan Wiffen
a self-taught palaeontologist
In 1975 Wiffen discovered the first dinosaur fossils in New Zealand in the Mangahouanga Valley
in Northern Hawkes Bay.
She knew the bone was unusual, and of a land-dwelling creature, but it was several years before
it was identified as belonging to a theropod dinosaur.
This 10 centimetre-long toe bone is the first New Zealand's
dinosaur bone found by Joan Wiffen in 1975.
Image credit: Museum of New Zealand
Hawkes Bay on definitive stamp of New Zealand 2016,
MiNr.: , Scott: 3026
It was a remarkable discovery that rewrote the textbooks of this country’s natural history.
Before then, there was no evidence that dinosaurs had ever lived in the country.
Most people believed that New Zealand had never had dinosaurs as the country
had been isolated from other lands for so long that it did not seem likely.
The Wiffen family and interested friends spent their weekends and holidays at Mangahouanga Stream,
and later built a hut as a base there.
They have found at the Mangahouanga site fossil bones of at least three kinds of
carnivorous dinosaur, three kinds of herbivorous dinosaur, and one kind of flying reptile.
That is quite apart from some fine examples of marine reptile fossils and some rare and unique
examples of other marine species.
These discoveries show dinosaurs lived in New Zealand after it split away from Gondwana in the
As collecting continued, the Wiffen's eventually extracted almost complete plesiosaur and mosasaur skulls,
and marine reptiles remained Joan’s main focus for the rest of her career.
The skull of the Mosasaur Prognathodon overtoni
is shown on the background of the stamp.
It is a reproduction of a plate from "New mosasaurs (Reptilia; Family Mosasauridae) from the
Upper Cretaceous of North Island, New Zealand" an article written by Joan Wiffen in 1990.
In 1974 Wiffen found the skull of another mosasaur.
In 1980 Wiffen published her first scientific paper describing a new mosasaur that she
named Moanasaurus mangahouagae
which is depicted on stamp of New Zealand in 2010.
From the 1980s onwards she was increasingly recognised as the expert on New Zealand’s Cretaceous reptiles.
Paleontologist Joan Wiffen stamp of New Zealand 2022,
MiNr.: , Scott:
Moanasaurus on stamp of New Zealand 2010
MiNr.: 2673, Scott:
Joan Wiffen (née Pedersen) was born in 1922 and was brought up in Havelock North and
the King Country.
Her father believe that higher education was wasted on girls, so Joan's educational opportunities
were limited to a short secondary school education.
At the age of 16, Wiffen joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force during World War II where she served
as a clerk for six years.
She was trained as a radar plotter, then posted to Northern Group Headquarters in Auckland.
She later worked as a medical clerk at Ardmore, Blenheim and Wigram.
In 1953 she married Pont Wiffen, and they made a life together on a small farm in Hawke’s Bay,
where they restored the derelict buildings, made a garden, raised two children and assorted farm animals,
ran a couple of greenhouses and an asparagus patch, while Pont also worked in town.
Joan’s interest in science was kindled through the natural history books she obtained to share with her
In the late 1960s Pont and Joan developed an interest in collecting and polishing stones after Pont
attended a geology night class.
Pont and Joan Wiffen travelled widely in both New Zealand
collecting both minerals and
small fossils of sea animals with their children.
Both joined the local rock and mineral club, and in 1969 they visited Queensland with a group interested
in Australian minerals and gemstones.
Joan purchased a small trilobite fossil for 50 cents.
She had been fascinated by fossilised shells on the Hawke’s Bay hillsides of her childhood, and she now
realised that she was more interested in fossils than polished stones.
Joan soon convinced Pont to focus on fossils instead of gemstones.
The couple were very interested in fossils, and Pont ended up taking classes on fossils.
One day when Pont was home sick, Joan went to the class in his place and ever since then she was in
awe of dinosaurs and fossils.
All of the specimens Joan illustrated and described were deposited in National Palaeontological
Collections at Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS).
The marine invertebrates, mainly shells, were passed on to the
New Zealand Geological Survey and other experts.
Joan Wiffen was a remarkable model for women in science – tenacious, courageous, and adaptable.
Joan’s work on fossil reptiles was recognised by a special award from the Geological Society of
New Zealand in 1986; by an honorary doctorate from Massey University in 1994; by the award of a
Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1995 New Year’s honours;
and by the Morris Skinner award from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 2004
for her contributions to scientific knowledge.
In 2017, Wiffen was selected as one of the Royal Society Te Apārangi's "150 women in 150 words",
celebrating the contributions of women to knowledge in New Zealand.
||Sheets of 20
- Technical details:
- Joan Wiffen:
Museum of New Zealand,
Science Learning Hub.
- The Mosasaur: "J. Wiffen (1990) New mosasaurs (Reptilia; Family Mosasauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous
of North Island, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 33:1, 67-85, DOI: 10.1080/00288306.1990.10427574"
Many thanks to
Dr. Peter Voice
from Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Western Michigan University,
for the draft page review and his very valuable comments.