An iconic view of Mauao and Mount Maunganui features in a new set of stamps recently released by New Zealand Post.

A local stamp collector says it's only the sixth time Mount Maunganui has featured, and the first time since 2013 - but it does not hold the significance it would have once had.

Mount Maunganui features on the new $2.40 stamp for large letters.

It is one of a trio of new "scenic definitive" designs created because the cost to send a letter will go up from July 1.

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Brian Ducker, secretary of the Tauranga and District Stamp Club and a chronicler of Tauranga's postal history, said that in the past appearing on a "definitive" stamp would have been quite special.

"Definitive issues were once defined as the regular stamps interrupted occasionally by commemorative, pictorial or other special issues, so you could say that appearing on a definitive issue creates additional mana for the subject," said Ducker.

"However, stamp issues are now so frequent - I think around 150 new stamps will be issued this year - that these old distinctions are lost and forgotten."

He said Mount Maunganui had featured on five previous stamps:

- 1977 Beach Scenes (Ocean Beach, Mount Maunganui)
- 1982 Anniversaries (Tauranga with Mount Maunganui in the background)
- 1997 Scenic Trains (Tauranga Harbour)
- 1998 Scenic Skies (Mount Maunganui)
- 2013 Classic Travel Posters (Tauranga For Winter Sunshine).

Tauranga stamps had appeared in 1956, 1979 and 1998, Te Puke had featured twice, and Mayor Island (Tuhua) also has a stamp.

It was relatively few for an area that has grown from an "isolated backwater" into New Zealand's fifth largest city.

"Awareness of the area's importance has still to catch up."

Ducker believed contributing factors included Tauranga's position off the well-beaten tourist track and the area's lack of an established image as a place with its own history, identity and activities.

Mount Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming said it was "absolutely fantastic" to see the area featured on a stamp.

"It's an opportunity to promote our world-class destination and the significance of Mauao."

Taranaki's Tongaporutu and Fiordland's Lake Te Anau will feature on the new $3 and $4.40 stamps, respectively.

Illustrations telling the legend of Māui and the Fish - Te Ika-a-Māui cover the new $1.20 stamp.

The rate increases were announced in March. NZ Post said they were necessary because of a significant loss in revenue with fewer letters being sent.

Stamp rate changes

New postage rates applicable from July 1.

Medium - From $1.00 to $1.20
Large - From $2.00 to $2.40
Oversize - From $3.00 to $3.60