Celebrating an ancient Māori art form

11 May 2015

New Zealand Post is issuing its annual stamp issue celebrating Matariki, with this year’s issue focusing on the ancient Māori art form of kōwhaiwhai.

“Kōwhaiwhai patterns are iconic to New Zealand, we see them every day in various shapes, forms and places,” said Simon Allison, New Zealand Post Head of Stamps and Coins, “We decided to depict kōwhaiwhai because we hadn’t represented it before on our stamps, and it’s a really important element of New Zealand culture.

“Kōwhaiwhai represents not only the natural world, but ancestry and genealogy. Kōwhaiwhai patterns adorning Wharenui (meeting houses) in different regions have different meanings, but each pattern has a deep spiritual significance and represents the mana (prestige) of the artist and their ancestors.”

The stamps were designed by Rangi Kipa and Roy McDougall, and feature artworks from six accomplished Māori artists. Each of the artworks depicts kōwhaiwhai in a unique way and has been chosen with the guidance of Toi Māori Aotearoa - Māori Arts New Zealand.

The stamp issue includes a sheetlet of six self-adhesive stamps, a gummed miniature sheet, a stamp first day cover, a miniature sheet first day cover and a visually stunning presentation pack. The presentation pack features more information about the artworks featured, written by Anna Maree White (curator at The Suter Art Gallery), as well as a Te Reo Māori translation.

The issue is available for purchase from 3 June 2015 at all New Zealand PostShops and REAL Aotearoa stores. Pre-orders are being taken now through the Whanganui Collectables and Solutions Centre or online at nzpost.co.nz/stamps

For more information:
Libby Greatbatch
Copywriting and Direct Marketing Specialist
Stamps and Coins New Zealand Post
Tel: +64 4 496 4916
Email: libby.greatbatch@nzpost.co.nz