175th Anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi

6 February 2015 marked the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and New Zealand Post celebrated this significant milestone with a commemorative stamp issue. 

Issue information

The Treaty of Waitangi is a document in Māori and English that intended to found a nation state and build a government in New Zealand. It was signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840 by Captain William Hobson, several English residents and around 45 Māori chiefs. By the time the Treaty had been taken around the country for signing, approximately 540 chiefs from around 39 areas of the country had signed. The Treaty consists of nine documents in all – seven on paper and two on parchment.

Different understandings of the Treaty have long been a subject of debate. However, today as Māori and the Crown are finalising the settlements of all major claims, the treaty is being seen in a different light, and is beginning to take on a more mediatory role rather than being a point of grievance.

A Stamp to Commemorate 175 Years

This over-sized commemorative stamp was a blend of the old and the new, and combined a coin design by James Berry with contemporary Māori design.

The central aspect of the stamp design depicted the figures of Tāmati Wāka Nene and William Hobson, and was based on the Waitangi Crown – a coin minted in 1935. Though the coin was not technically a commemorative coin, it functioned like one and was sold for more than their face value. This coin was struck after the New Zealand Numismatic Society approached the government suggesting a new coin marking the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

On the stamp, Ngapuhi chief Tāmati Wāka Nene was seen shaking hands with William Hobson, the first governor of New Zealand. They are set against a backdrop of sculptural designs executed by Rangi Kipa, based on his development of two Northland designs of Unahi (fish scale) and Kiri Kiore (Pacific rat). The fish scale design referenced the value of the abundant sea life that formed a staple part of the diet sustaining the many Māori coastal communities and the Kiri kiore design was a visual metaphor that related to the beauty of the Kiore pelt to that of a finely woven cloak which had great value in Māori society.

Miniature Sheet and Miniature Sheet First Day Cover

This special over-sized stamp was available on a miniature sheet and miniature sheet first day cover. Both were specially designed by Rangi Kipa to enhance the design of the stamp, and the first day cover incorporated a unique datestamp that combined contemporary Māori design with the Union Jack.

Product Listing for 175th Anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $2.50
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $3.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 4 February 2015
Number of stamps: One gummed stamp
Denominations: $2.50
Stamp, miniature sheet and first day cover designed by: Rangi Kipa, Te Atiawa, Taranaki Tuturu and Roy McDougall
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Miniature sheet size: 90mm x 150mm 
Paper type: Oblong watermark 104gsm gummed stamp paper
Perforation gauge: 14.40 x 14.00
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 3 February 2016.  The first day cover was removed from sale on 3 April 2015.