A foreign butterfly has mistakenly been used on one of NZ Post's latest stamp designs instead of a New Zealand butterfly the red admiral, angering the Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust.

NZ Post has apologised for the blunder saying its lengthy processes failed to pick up that the stamp design was the V. atalanta butterfly and not the intended butterfly - the New Zealand red admiral.

The butterfly stamp features on the $2.40 stamp and is part of NZ Post's latest release of postage stamps to mark the goal of Predator Free 2050 , which aims to remove key mammalian predators from the New Zealand landscape.

Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust secretary Jacqui Knight was disappointed by the blunder and said it was easy to differentiate the two species as the V. atalanta butterfly has a red band on the outer edge of its hind wings. The red admiral had white spots fringed with paua blue near the tips of the fore wings, and four black circles on the hind wings with the paua blue repeated.


"It is a travesty that New Zealand Post has not done their homework and has used the wrong species."

Knight berated NZ Post for missing an opportunity to promote conservation of the red admiral.

"These butterflies play an important part in our biodiversity - besides gracing the environment with their splashes of colour, the larvae add great variety to the diet of our native birds."

NZ Post Head of Stamps and Collectables Simon Allison apologised for the mistake that had happened despite a number of checks along the way.

"We go to great lengths to research and check our designs, but unfortunately in this case our processes did not pick up that the butterfly on the stamp design was the V. atalanta, not the New Zealand red admiral, and for that we sincerely apologise.

"In this instance, the designer researched the objects to represent, these were illustrated and then checked with a number of experts."