Aitutaki - New Zealand territory

Penrhyn – Cook Islands
New Zealand territory

Aitutaki - Cook Islands - Associated state

Penrhyn – Cook Islands
Associated state





Quick reference

General issues: Postal area Cook Islands/New Zealand territory 1902-1932, Postal area Cook Islands/New Zealand associated state 1973-Present

Country name on general issues: Penrhyn Island, Penrhyn, Penrhyn Northern Cook Islands

Currency: 1 Shilling (Silingi) = 12 Pence (Pene) 1902-1932, 1 Dollar = 100 Cents 1973-Present

Population: 210 in 2011

Political history Penrhyn

Postal history Penrhyn

Please click on the image to enlarge

Penrhyn is an atoll located in the central-southern Pacific Ocean and one of the Cook Islands – for the exact location, please refer tot the map of Modern Oceania.  The indigenous population is Polynesian. The first Europeans to visit the atoll was the crew of the HMS Lady Penrhyn in 1788 – one of the ships in the First Fleet that sailed from Britain to colonize Australia. In the late 19th century, the chiefs of the major Cook Islands, including Penrhyn, requested British protection, which was granted in 1888. In 1900, the chiefs of the Cook Islands signed documents of cession and thus the Cook Islands became a British possession. The Cook Islands, including Penrhyn, were granted to New Zealand in 1901 as a New Zealand territory. Having been administered by New Zealand since then, the Cook Islands gained self government as an associated state in 1965.

Economically, the islanders live from small scale domestic farming and fishing and the manufacturing of hats made from coconut fiber.

Postal history Penrhyn

Postal history Penrhyn

1974 – Map and issues from the 1902-1932 period.

The first stamps used on Penrhyn were the issues of the Cook Islands from 1892. Although part of the Cook Islands, Penrhyn had a separate stamp issuing policy between 1902 and 1932. The first stamps were issued in 1902 – these being New Zealand stamps overprinted ‘Penrhyn Island’ and a new face value in the native language. In 1920 and 1927, two sets were issued inscribed ‘Penrhyn’. These sets are of the same design as concurrent issues for the Cook Islands as a whole, Aitutaki – also one of the Cook Islands with a separate postal administration – and Niue – a nearby atoll administered separately by New Zealand. Between 1932 and 1972, the stamps of the Cook Islands were used on Penrhyn.

Penrhyn resumed a separate stamp issuing policy in 1973. The issues were aimed at the thematic collectors market. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, particularly, significant numbers of stamps were issued – since the late 1990’s, stamp production has been limited. The stamps of the Cook Islands remain valid on Penrhyn, while the issues of Penrhyn are valid only on the island itself.

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