Five giant creatures - past and present - found in and around New Zealand are being featured in a combined stamps and coins series released by New Zealand Post today.

The five-stamp series showcases the colossal squid, southern right whale, the giant eagle and giant species of the moa and weta.

"The giant creatures are brought to life through illustrations on giant stamps that are almost a third larger than usual," general manager stamps and coins Ivor Masters said today.

"The Giants of New Zealand stamp series is complemented by a limited edition set of five legal tender pure silver bullion coins, each featuring one of the giants."

The 50-cent stamp showcases the extinct South Island giant moa, the tallest bird ever, reaching up to three metres in height.

The $1 stamp features the first specimen of the colossal squid found in a sperm whale's stomach in 1925.

Others include:

* $1.50 stamp - the southern right whale, once found in huge numbers around New Zealand, but due to whaling verged on extinction in the early 20th century;

* $2.00 stamp - the giant eagle with its three-metre wingspan; and

* $2.50 stamp - the weta which grows up to 10cm in length.

The Giants of New Zealand legal tender coin sets are individually numbered and limited to 1500 worldwide.

- NZPA