2012 Year of the Dragon

The 2012 Year of the Dragon stamp issue is certainly one to celebrate. The powerful dragon is the most vibrant of all 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and when the Year of the Dragon begins on 23 January 2012, it will bring with it health, wealth, prosperity and success.

Issue information

The dragon is an important ancient symbol for the Chinese people, and it is believed to ward off evil spirits. Everything connected with the dragon is thought to be blessed, which makes this lunar stamp issue particularly special. Not only do the stamps portray the dragon through different aspects of Chinese culture they also celebrate the growing multicultural society in New Zealand.

The individual stamps in this issue are as follows:

60c - Year of the Dragon

Calligraphy is a traditional Chinese art form, and the Chinese character for 'dragon' expressed on the 60c stamp is from the Xi Xia Song stone monument. Carved in the 'Lishu' calligraphy style, the character has an authoritative feel that reflects the strength and confidence of those born in the year of the dragon.

$1.20 - Paper-cut Dragon

Paper-cutting is a much-loved Chinese folk art that became popular shortly after paper was invented. It is used for many Chinese weddings, ceremonies and festivals, and the skilfully crafted paper-cut dragon n the $1.20 stamp indicates prosperity, amiability and celebration.

$1.90 - Dragon Lantern

Chinese lanterns are an important part of Chinese New Year, and the Chinese Lantern Festival marks the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations. The dragon lantern featured on the $1.90 stamp was used in the Auckland Lantern Festival, which annually celebrates New Zealand's multicultural society.

$2.40 - New Zealand Icon - Dunedin Railway Station

Situated in the South Island, Dunedin was one of the earliest settlements for Chinese immigrants in New Zealand. Over the centuries New Zealand has welcomed many different cultures and this is depicted by the pair of swallows on the $2.40 stamp, which in the Chinese culture symbolise hope, blessings and happiness in the land.

Technical information

Date of issue: 5 January 2012
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Miniature sheet: One sheet with four gummed stamps
Denominations: 60c, $1.20, $1.90 and $2.40
Stamps, miniature sheet, first day covers and presentation pack designed by: Bananaworks, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer and process: Cartor Security Printing, France by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type: 103gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 13.25 x 13
Special blocks: Plate/Imprint blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks are available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 4 January 2013