New Zealand post issued stunning glow in the dark stamps paying tribute to the New Zealand native glowworms found throughout Aotearoa.
The bioluminescent beauty of the New Zealand native glowworm is a sight to behold and is most spectacular when seen in caves.
The stamps features beautiful photographs from the ‘Luminosity’ series of New Zealand photographer Joseph Michael’s.
About glow in the dark stamps
The visually striking glow in the dark stamps 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.
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.
Included in glow in the dark stamps issue are a miniature sheet and two first day covers. The first day cover includes the four gummed stamps and the $2.00 self-adhesive stamp.
Each of these collectables feature further imagery from Joseph Michael’s Luminosity series, with the miniature sheet first day cover also depicting the glowworm life cycle.
New Zealand native glowworms
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.
Glowworms sites featured on stamps
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 Maori 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 (kurI) that lived in the cave entrance, which was used by Maori long before Europeans arrived.
$2.50 – Waipu Caves
The Waipu Caves are in a scenic reserve about 10 kilometres inland from the little boutique village of Waipu. They were first used as tourist caves in the 1870s, a decade before Waitomo Caves, when tourists were transported by horse and buggy.
Title: New Zealand glow in the dark stamps
Date of Issue: 2 March 2016
Country: New Zealand
Denominations: 80c, $1.40, $2.00, $2.50, self-adhesive $2.00
Source: New Zealand Stamps