2016 Year of the Monkey

According to the Chinese zodiac, 8 February 2016 ushered in a brand new year, when we said goodbye to the Year of the Sheep and greeted the Year of the Monkey. To celebrate the Chinese New Year festivities in New Zealand, China and around the world, New Zealand Post created this lunar stamp issue, commemorating the Year of the Monkey.

Issue information

The monkey is the ninth animal in the Chinese zodiac and is considered clever and cheeky. People born in the Year of the Monkey are witty and intelligent with magnetic personalities, and tend to be fast learners and astute opportunists. Personality traits such as mischievousness and curiosity mean that people often perceive monkeys as ‘naughty’.

The 2016 Year of the Monkey stamp issue celebrated the multicultural nature of New Zealand by bringing together New Zealand and Chinese design elements. The stamps were inspired by the Chinese folk arts of calligraphy, paper-cutting and line-art illustration and incorporate New Zealand’s iconic ‘long white cloud’ in the background.

Celebratory Collectables for Chinese New Year

Available in this issue was a miniature sheet, a first day cover and a miniature sheet first day cover. You could also order sheets of stamps, which were not only perfect for your postage needs, but also contained five gutter pairs that made a unique collectable to add to your collection.

Year of the Monkey Presentation Pack

The 2016 Year of the Monkey presentation pack contained the four gummed stamps, the miniature sheet, the first day cover and a paper-cut monkey. It was the perfect way to learn more about the Year of the Monkey and would have made a thoughtful gift or a great addition to any Chinese New Year stamp collection.

Limited Edition Gold-foiled Collectables

The 2016 Year of the Monkey collectables were complemented with three premium gold-foiled miniature sheets. These unique miniature sheets were made from 24-carat, 99.9 gold foil and were sure to please any Chinese New Year enthusiast or make the ultimate gift for Chinese New Year. They were replicas of the miniature sheet in the stamp issue and were not part of the official stamp programme.

Beautifully presented within an individually numbered frame (measuring approximately 39cm x 27cm), the large miniature sheet was limited to only 128 worldwide. The smaller miniature sheets were mounted in perspex display stands and were available in either coloured or gold stamps.

Year of the Monkey Gold-plated Medallion

For the first time, New Zealand Post commemorated Chinese New Year with a stunning gold plated, proof finish medallion. The medallion featured the ancient pictographic character for ‘monkey’ on one side, and a monkey hanging from a silver fern frond on the other side.

This collectable medallion was limited to only 999 worldwide and came with an individually numbered certificate that explained the significance of the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese lunar calendar. It was presented in a specially designed case and made a beautiful gift for anyone born in the Year of the Monkey.

Product Listing for 2016 Year of the Monkey

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Pictogram' gummed stamp.

The red colour of this stamp mirrors the integral part that red plays in Chinese New Year. Together with the ancient pictographic character for ‘monkey’, the overall design is one of restrained style rooted in tradition.

$0.80
Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Paper-cut Monkey' gummed stamp.

Paper cuttings are traditionally used as interior decorations during Chinese New Year. Contained within the design of this paper-cut monkey are Māori cultural motifs, which bring the diverse Māori and Chinese influences together. The monkey is depicted holding a peach, which is known as one of the best foods for monkeys.

$1.40
Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'The Monkey' gummed stamp.

The monkey often appears in Chinese culture and is widely used to describe certain aspects of people and affairs. This design captures the monkey’s restless nature in a fun, exaggerated way. The silver fern frond from which it hangs and the curled shape of its long tail are features of New Zealand design that give the stamp a distinctly local feel.

$2.00
Single Stamp

Single $2.50 'Monkey Island' gummed stamp.

Monkey Island lies off the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, and is thought to be named after the ‘monkey winch’ that was used to haul boats ashore. The stamp design contains an artistic representation of Monkey Island’s landscape as well as a bar-tailed godwit, a migratory bird that flies annually from New Zealand to north-eastern China.

$2.50
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $6.70
First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. $7.20
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $7.20
Presentation Pack The 2016 Year of the Monkey presentation pack contains the four gummed stamps, the miniature sheet, the first day cover and a paper-cut monkey. It was the perfect way to learn more about the Year of the Monkey and would have made a thoughtful gift or a great addition to any Chinese New Year stamp collection. $21.90
Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet in Perspex Stand Made from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, this miniature sheet was embossed and etched with micro fine detail and was mounted in a perspex display stand (measuring 18cm x 10cm). $188.00
Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet with Coloured Stamp in Perspex Stand Made from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, this miniature sheet was embossed and etched with micro fine detail and was mounted in a perspex display stand (measuring 18cm x 10cm). It featured vibrant coloured stamps and was produced in limited numbers. $188.00
Framed and Numbered Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet

This large miniature sheet was one of only 128 produced. It had been embossed and etched with micro fine detail from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, and was presented within an individually numbered frame (measuring 39cm x 27cm).

$560.00
Gold Plated Medallion This collectable medallion was limited to only 999 worldwide and came with an individually numbered certificate that explained the significance of the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese lunar calendar. It was presented in a specially designed case. Composition: Copper & zinc alloy with gold plating. Size: 50mm. Edge treatment: Milled. Worldwide mintage limit: 999. $69.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 13 January 2016
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Denominations: 80c, $1.40, $2.00 and $2.50
Stamps, miniature sheet, first day covers and presentation pack designed by: Asiaworks, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed 
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/Imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: Unless stocks were exhausted earlier, these stamps remained on sale until 12 January 2017. First day covers remained on sale until 12 March 2016.