Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Cook Islands - Pukapuka

Pukapuka was my first island to visit in the Northern Cook Islands. These islands are very rarely visited  by tourists as there is no regular flights. It took me over one year to organise and book as part of a charter to the Northern Islands. It is also very very expensive . It gives you a look at Island life pure and simple
 Arriving at PukaPuka airport. Well the airport was really a shack. You have to get a small boat as seen here across the lagoon to reach the main village.
 The only means of transport for our luggage was this road roller from the airport to the boat.
 Across the Lagoon
 Here we are with the Postmaster. Incredible as it may seem but no one uses the post office here for sending mail out. I was told sending mail was obsolete !! In fact the postmaster had not keys to the safe with the stamps with him this day , as they have no call for stamps. My Postcards out was the first mail out of Pukapuka in 7 years. How Amazing
 The Post office

 Staff at the Government offices.. Time to relax... Island time.

Sunday, 29 May 2016


Aitutaki is one of those special islands. Part of the Cook Islands and is the second most visited in the group.  Stayed here a few  days. Pure luxury with great beaches and a fantastic lagoon.

 The Airport at Aitutaki

 This is the Aitutaki Post office . The Manager is Alice as seen here. The Post office is open Monday to Friday. But as I only arrived on Saturday , it was arranged with Air Rarotonga that they would especially open the Post office for me !!! Thank you Alice. The Post office sells a mix of Cook Islands stamps and Aitutaki stamps. They dont have a philatelic section as such. They also dont have sets for collectors to purchase.
Alice tells me that they get quite a bit of philatelic mail for postmarking. So this is all done here in real time in the Post office.
I brought Aitutaki stamps with my that I purchased from the Agent in the USA. Needless to say the stamps had not been put on sale here . There is no First Day Cover service here or in the Cook Islands. Those covers are all postmarked in the USA by the Agent.

Just like the rest of the Cook Islands the Post office is now Blue Sky.

 This is One Foot Island Post office . This is just one of the little islets on the Lagoon . Had a great day here. The Post office was not opened on the day I was here Saturday. But they have a special postmark in agreement with the Main Post office in Aitutaki.

A beautiful island and managed to do some swimming here and plenty of fish to keep one company as you can see.   

Monday, 23 May 2016

Rarotonga Cook Islands

Only spent a couple of days in Rarotonga the main island in the  Cook Islands. The weather was a little windy but since I was spending 2 weeks in the islands I did not mind. My first port of call was the Post ofifice. Since last year the Post office in the Cook Islands is now known as bluesky. 
It involves Mail, Phone, TV and mobile products. So you will no longer see Post any more , this just happens to be the old sign they have not taken down. 

Elizabeth as seen here is the manager of the office. We had a great chat and I learned a lot about the postal and philatelic services here. 

The Bureau as per the third photo closed last year. So the post office only has stamps and no sets or philatelic products in any post office. Collectors or tourists who want stamps for collection are told to write to the agent which is based in the USA. All stamps issued in the Cooks Islands are approved locally by a committee which includes Elizabelth 
The stamps on sale when I was here was a complete mix and included stamps from Aitutaki and Cook Islands. No Rarotonga or Penryhn stamps were on sale or availalble. Penryhn stamps are only sold at the Bluesky office in Penryhn . 

On the question of philatelic mail .When the bureau was open mail was sent in there and dealt with . Most of the philatelic mail is sent back to the USA agent for processing. The Post office in Rarotonga does not have any postmarks or stamp mail for Penryhn or Aitutaki. 

So it is likely that while the bureau was in business they did postmarked Aitutaki and Penryhn mail for philatelic purposes. I suspect that mail may even be postmarked in the USA for collectors as no flirst day covers ever reach the islands or are ever postmarked in these locations. 

Currently the situation is that the Bureau is due to reopen next year or late this year and philatelic mail is being held at the Post office and not being sent to the agent. 

A lot of the new Cook Isalnd stamps I brought with me to the Post office Elizabeth has not seen in use and they themselves have not received the issues yet. It is likely that many of the stamps never reach the Post offices in the Cooks Islands 


This is the Post office . It is part of the KIwi bank , same as in New Zealand. This has just change since late last year. So you can see only a small sign outside the office in Alofi the capital. 

The Post office /Bank has a selection of stamps. They do not sell sets and mostly individual mixed stamps. They also offer a registered service using the old stype labels. However the staff do encourage use of this service  , as they told me it is very slow. 

Here is the only Post office worker who only works in the Post section. He is the Niue Postman . Since Niue post and Kiwi bank became one he now delivered mail around the island direct to customers. This is most unusual His name is Pana and everyone knows him. I told him he is famous .... 

This is the Philatelic bureau and Numismatic company of Niue. Stamps purchased here are officially for collection . The Bureau is supplied stamps from New Zealand Post. When Niue Post requires stamps they make a request from the Bureau . The Bureau is around the corner from the Post Office. 

This is inside the Bureau. They sell stamps and coins. However if you want stamps for mail they will re direct you over to the Post office. Interesting that the current definitive issue is sold out at the bureau and not available in the Post office either. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is a very beautiful island. The Norfolk Pines are everywhere. 

Above is the settlement in Kingston. However the administration and centre is now in Burnt Pine. 

Norfolk Post office in Burnt Pine. The big news is that Norfolk Island is to loose its status as a self dependent territory of Australia from July 1. Many people on the island are not happy. What that means from a Stamp point of view is that Norfolk Post office will no longer exist. Australia Post will take over and a new Post office . Australia stamps will only be valid from July 1. It is expected that Australia post will issue Norfolk stamps from time to time like Cocos and Christmaas Island. No issues are planned as yet. There is only a registered service for mail using a Australia Post envelope with a AU code. 

The Post office counter has a selection of stamps . The philatelic bureau is upstairs and I was able to pay a visit. However the ladies up there are camera shy. They do not know what will happen . However I did happen to meet the new people from Australia post setting up the new office on the plane , so got on the info . Norfolk have some beautiful stamps. Loads of tourists here and plenty of postcards. 

Many people not happy losing their parliament .