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1903, as Cook Islands.

FIRST STAMPS ISSUED New Zealand stamps overprinted January 1903.

FIRST STAMPS RE-ISSUED Cook Islands stamps overprinted 7 August 1972.

One of the Cook Islands group, discovered by Captain Bligh shortly before the mutiny on the Bounty.

It was annexed at about the same time as the rest of the group though the islanders claim it was in 1891, after the group was a protectorate but before the official annexation. Administered as a separate unit from the Cook Islands by New Zealand from 1900 to 1932 when it became a part of the group. In 1972 Aitutaki became a port of entry into the Cook Islands and it is a separate postal entity.

Postal History
There was no PO on the island prior to New Zealand control in 1903. New Zealand stamps were used with suitable overprint until 1932 when the island was included in the Cook Islands for postal purposes. Cook Islands stamps were used from 1932 to 1972. On 1 April 1972, Cook Islands stamps were withdrawn because the island had become postally independent and it has continued to issue its own stamps.

South-East Pacific to 1940
Click map for larger view

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