July 25, 2013

0767 NEW ZEALAND (South Island) - Moeraki Boulders

The Moeraki Boulders are unusually large and spherical boulders lying along Koekohe Beach, at a place named Kumara, midway between Hampden and Moeraki townships in North Otago. According to Maori legend, the origin of the boulders dates from the loss of the Arai-te-uru, one of the large sailing canoes that came from Hawaiki. On her quest south for the precious greenstone, the canoe was wrecked near Shag Point (Matakaea). The reef which today extends seawards is the canoe's petrified hull, while close by, in the shape of a prominent rock, stands the petrified body of her commander. Strewn along the beach are the boulders which represent the eel baskets, calabashes, and kumaras washed ashore from the wreck. The name Moeraki (Moerangi) means "drowsy day".

Scientifically, the boulders are actually grey-coloured septarian concretions, eroded out by wave action from the cliffs of soft, black mudstone that back the beach. They originally formed on the sea floor when the mudstone was accumulating during the early Tertiary period, some 60 million years ago. The largest concretions are traversed by cracks, filled by yellow calcite. In some the upper part is worn away; only a shell remains, looking like discarded segments of orange peel. The concretions weigh several tons and are up to 4m in circumference.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series dedicated to honey bees, issued on July 3, 2013. The stamps feature the whole process of honey making from hive to table:
• Collecting the nectar (0.70 NZD)
• Returning to the hive (1.40 NZD)
• In the hive (1.90 NZD)
• Harvesting the honey (2.40 NZD) 
• Ready to eat (2.40 NZD)

Moeraki Boulders - Wikipedia
Moeraki Boulders - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
The Dinosaur Egg Boulders of Moeraki - Enviromental Graffiti

sender: Aaron Howard (direct swap)
sent from Timaru (New Zealand), on 15.07.2013
photo: Bob Beresford

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