He Tohu

He Tohu is a remarkable new exhibition, shedding new light on three iconic constitutional documents that shape our nation: 1835 He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni - Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand, 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi - Treaty of Waitangi and the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition - Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine. 

Issue information

This permanent exhibition is in the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa in Wellington, and opened on 20 May 2017. He Tohu, can have many meanings, but in the context of this exhibition it means simply “the signs” and refers to the signatures on the documents and to those who signed them.

Stamps and First Day Cover

A set of stamps and a first day cover celebrating the exhibition were available from 17 May 2017. The issue consisted of three stamps - one for each of the documents. Two stamps featured historic and modern figures - reflecting the relevance of the documents both at the time they were signed and today. The third stamp, Te Tiriti o Waitangi - Treaty of Waitangi, reflected partnership. The stamps were also available together on a first day cover, where on the reverse, you could read more about the exhibition in both Māori and English.

The colours and style of the stamps and first day cover echoed the He Tohu exhibition.

Product Listing for He Tohu

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single $1.00 '1835 He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni' gummed stamp.

Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand.

The figure behind the young person in the foreground is a stylised rangatira representing the signatories to the declaration. He is holding a taiaha, signifying strength and willingness to defend independence. Pacific blue represents the ocean, especially in the north of New Zealand where the document was signed.

$1.00
Single Stamp

Single $2.00 '1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi – Treaty of Waitangi' gummed stamp.

The young boy and girl are facing the future of Aotearoa New Zealand together in partnership, in the spirit of Te Tiriti o Waitangi – Treaty of Waitangi. The ochre colour is associated with the Māori tradition that the first woman was formed from the red earth. Kaka wing feathers are a similar vivid orange and are associated with chiefly status. 

$2.00
Single Stamp

Single $2.20 '1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition - Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine' gummed stamp.

The figure in the background of the Women’s Suffrage Petition stamp is a sytlised “suffragist” from the 1890's, representing the hundreds of volunteers who door-knocked in all weathers in communities across the country to collect the signatures that won New Zealand women the vote. Purple was the official colour of the movement. 

$2.20
First Day Cover First day cover with three gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $5.70

Technical information

Date of issue: 17 May 2017
Number of stamps: Three gummed stamps
Denominations: $1.00, $2.00 and $2.20
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Spencer Levine, Story Inc, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd, New Zealand by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours with synseal overgloss
Stamp size and format: 46mm x 35mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104 gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14.286 x 14.47
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 16 May 2018. First day covers remained on sale until 16 July 2017.