Tokelau Christmas 2011

Tokelau Christmas 2011 is the first stamp issue produced by New Zealand Post under a new exclusive agreement to design, produce and distribute stamps for the Pacific nation of Tokelau.

Issue information

New Zealand and Tokelau have a strong bond, with a shared currency (New Zealand dollar) and around 6,800 Tokelauans living in New Zealand. Tokelau is a non-selfgoverning territory of New Zealand, and this five-year partnership will strengthen the long standing ties between the two nations.

A glimpse of Tokelau

Tokelau is situated in the central Pacific, and lies halfway between Hawaii and Auckland, roughly 500 kilometres north of Samoa. It is made up of three main coral atolls – Fakaofo, Nukunonu and Atafu - which are spread over almost 200 kilometres. Tokelauan life is based on sharing, co-operation and inclusiveness within the family group (kaiga) and village community. The church is an important part of village life, with Catholic and Protestant missionaries arriving from Samoa in the mid-1800s.

Tokelauans have become very skilled at living sustainably, and the men commonly fish, farm and build, whilst the women have the responsibility of caring for the welfare of the villages. Enjoying a tropical climate, stunning marine life and spectacular coastlines, Tokelau is a remote Pacific paradise that’s well worth a visit.

Christmas stamps with a Pacific touch

Christmas is celebrated throughout the Pacific, and the small but stunning coral atolls of Tokelau are no exception. Meaning ‘The North Wind’, Tokelau is home to around 1,500 people, who celebrate Christmas by spending time with friends and loved ones.

Christmas in Tokelau is a busy time, with many locals hosting friends and family from overseas. Typically Christmas Day is spent attending church services as well as sharing food with neighbours and extended family. Cricket or 'kilikiti' is often played during the day with great competitiveness, and the evenings are spent participating in cultural dancing or 'fatele'.

This festive spirit is captured in the Tokelau Christmas 2011 stamp issue, which is made up of four gummed stamps featuring traditional Christmas decorations. The iconic Christmas tree, bauble, stocking and angel are set against a background depicting the tropical hibiscus flower – giving these colourful stamps a uniquely island flavour.

Technical information

Date of issue: 16 November 2011
Number of stamps: Set of four gummed stamps
Denominations: 40c, 45c, $1.40, $2.00
Stamps and first day cover designed by:  Stamps and Collectables Business, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post, Whanganui, New Zealand
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Special blocks: Plate and value blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until close of business 15 November 2012