Te Wahipounamu (1990)
New Zealand

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The landscape in this park, situated in south-west New Zealand, has been shaped by successive glaciations into fjords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. Two-thirds of the park is covered with southern beech and podocarps, some of which are over 800 years old. The kea, the only alpine parrot in the world, lives in the park, as does the rare and endangered takahe, a large flightless bird. 

Te Wahipounamu comprises these areas of public conservation land

  1. Westland Tai Poutini National Park 
  2. Mount Aspiring National Park 
  3. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park 
  4. Fiordland National Park 
New Zealand 1994. Mount Cook. United Nations (Vienna) 2002. World Cultural Heritage. Mount Cook in New Zealand.
New Zealand 1999. The Kowhai. New Zealand's national flower. Stamp #1.

New Zealand 1999. The Kowhai. New Zealand's national flower. Stamp #2.

The variety of habitats in Fiordland allow a diverse flora and fauna to thrive and its isolation has encouraged endemism with over 700 plants found only in Fiordland and it is, or was, home to some of the strangest of New Zealand's birds. 
  • New Zealand 2001.  Fiordland Crested Penguin (Eudyptes Pachyrhynchus). 

New Zealand 2001. Fiordland Crested Penguin.

New Zealand 1998. (reprint). The Kea.

New Zealand 1998.  
The Kea (Nestor Notabilis) (left) is the only alpine parrot in the world.  

The stamp is a reprint from the first set of New Zealand definitives, with modern face values. An image of the original stamp from 1898 is available at Kjell Scharning's extraordinary website "Theme Birds on Stamps".  

The bird on the right of the stamp is the Kaka (Nestor Meridionalis). 

New Zealand 1956 and 1988.  
Takahe (Porphyrio Mantelli) is a large flightless bird related to the more populous Pukeho, commonly known throughout Australasia as the Purple Moorhen. 

The takahe is a rare and endangered species. It is of ancient lineage and poorly adapted to cope with introduced predators.  The takahe was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1948. 

New Zealand 1956. The Takahe.

New Zealand 1988. The Takahe.

The name of the area, "Te Wahipounamu" means in Maori language "The Place of Greenstone". Mount Cook, also known as Aoraki, was formally gazetted as a national park already in October 1953, born out of reserves that were established as early as 1887 to protect the area’s significant vegetation and landscape. The park is a harsh land of ice and rock. Glaciers cover 40% of it, and there are 19 peaks over 3,000 meters.  

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in New Zealand (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, New Zealand section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 04 maj 2007  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorfhus 
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