Endangered bird star of Southland stamp

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Southland Stamp Club member George Stewart with an image of this year's CAL (Custom Advertising Label) which features a kakapo.

A LARGE, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot now features on a postage stamp and First Day Cover.

The $1.40 stamp, known as CALs (Custom Advertising Labels), a type of advertising postage stamp, has been produced which featured the endemic kakapo.

Southland Stamp Club member George Steward said the stamp, along with First Day covers and maxi cards, would be available to view and buy at the club’s stamp fair on Saturday.

A Maxi Card (or Maximum Card) contained a stamp, a similar image but not the same as the stamp on the postcard, and a post mark connecting the three elements, he said.

“So an Invercargill date stamp connects the kakapo stamp and a colourful image of a kakapo which takes up most of the area on the card.”

The stamps and maxi cards of the kakapo were produced by stamp dealer Steven McLachlan, of Shades Stamp Shop, Christchurch, in conjunction with Mr Stewart, through New Zealand Post.

A limited number of $1.40 stamps, both regular and self-adhesive, had been printed and would be offered on a first come/first served basis, Mr Stewart said.

“First Day covers of the kakapo will be issued with the Invercargill date stamp from 11am at the fair, and the $1.40 loose stamp will be on sale from the Invercargill Post Office branch at Paper Plus from 10am, and from Shades Stamp Shop in Christchurch, where the CAL was created, after Saturday.”

The kakapo, which translated to owl parrot in te reo Maori, was chosen this year because most of the endangered birds lived on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island in Foveaux Strait and Anchor Island in Tamatea/Dusky Sound in Fiordland.

“We have a Southland theme each year. The committee chose the kakapo this year because it is strongly associated to Southland.”

But it wasn’t just the stamp which had excited the southern philatelic society members, it was the combination of the Maxi Card, which would then be date stamped especially for the fair, he said.

“People like to collect First Day covers and Maxi cards, especially those who have thematic collections. The kakapo will appeal to bird, New Zealand fauna and flora, and rare species collectors in particular.”

The important thing when collecting maxi cards was for the stamp, envelope and postage mark to be related, but not identical, he said.

“That is what collectors look for… the three elements must all agree.”

To complete the kakapo maxi card, the envelopes and stamps had to be postmarked in Invercargill.

The stamp fair not only gave club members the opportunity to buy and sell stamps and collecting-related objects, but also gave the general public the chance to have their stamps and albums valued.

“The public were also most welcome to come and have a look,” Mr Stewart said.

  • Southland Stamp Club Fair, Saturday, September 26, 10am-4pm, Age Concern rooms, corner of Nith and Forth Sts, Invercargill.
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