Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New Zealand 2016
New Zealand Native Glowworms - Glowing Stamps

ISSUE DATE: 2 March 2016
STAMP SIZE: 25 x 50 mm
DESIGN: Hannah Stancliffe-White

Despite what the name suggests, glowworms aren’t true worms - they’re the larval stage of the fungus gnat. The fungus gnat can glow at all stages of its life (except in the egg stage), but it’s during the larval stage that it shines the brightest. The famous blue-green ‘glow’ is a chemical reaction created in what is the glowworm equivalent of the human kidney. The total life cycle of the fungus gnat takes around 11 months, with the glowworm stage being the longest in the life cycle, averaging around nine months.

The New Zealand native glowworm is scientifically known as Arachnocampa luminosa, and although it is most spectacular when seen in caves, it’s common outside caves too, favouring damp, warm conditions with a good supply of food.

The photographs featured on these stamps have been taken by New Zealand photographer Joseph Michael, whose Luminosity series came to global attention in 2015. These stunning photographs were taken using long exposure techniques and were shot over many long nights deep in the glowworm caves of the North Island.
This visually striking stamp issue features four gummed stamps as well as a $2.00 self-adhesive stamp. The stamps have been printed using glow-in-the-dark ink to replicate the effect of glowworms in the wild - simply expose them to sunlight and then step into a dark space to see the stamps light up.

80c - Mangawhitikau Cave
Mangawhitikau Cave, described by Sir David Attenborough as “astonishing”, is famous for its extensive display of glowworms. Tours depart from the Spellbound office located in the Waitomo Caves village and artificial lights are kept out during the tours so the glowworms can be viewed in their full glory

$1.40 - Nikau Cave

Nikau Cave is located in Waikaretu, a sheep and cattle farming area approximately 90 minutes' drive southwest of Auckland. This delightful tourist cave was known to Mäori and early settlers. Privately owned, the cave has no paths, handrails or lights. Tourists take torches and clamber up a streambed beneath stalactites, shawls and delicate straws.

$2.00 - Ruakuri Cave (gummed and self-adhesive)

RuakurÏ was the ‘wildest’ of the early Waitomo tourist caves – with hidden waterfalls, ‘a ghost walk’, galleries and decorated chambers. It was named for the wild dogs (kurÏ) that lived in the cave entrance, which was used by Mäori long before Europeans arrived.

$2.50 - Waipu Caves

The Waipü Caves are in a scenic reserve about 10 kilometres inland from the little boutique village of Waipü. They were first used as tourist caves in the 1870s, a decade before Waitomo Caves, when tourists were transported by horse and buggy.






Stamp images and description thanks to New Zealand Post

New Zealand Post