New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

1989 Heritage - The People

(No reviews yet) Write a Review

This issue titled 'The People' was another in the 'Heritage' series leading up to the 1990 150th anniversary celebrations in New Zealand. 

Issue information

These stamps focused on 'The People' who shaped our land.  Our early ancestors, from the first Polynesians who came here over 1000 years ago, to the immigrants of the nineteenth century who came from all parts of the world, to shape a new nation.  Although mostly from England and Scotland, Ireland and Wales there were others too - Germans, Americans, Chinese; people from many lands.

Product Listing for Heritige - The People

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'The Moriori' gummed stamp.

Little is known about the ancestry of the Chatham Island Moriori, a mystery never likely to be solved conclusively. However, most authorities today consider the Moriori were Polynesians like the Maori, sharing common ancestors, and that they reached their homeland from the mainland about 1000 years ago. The Chathams were not discovered by Europeans until 1791 and not completely charted until 1809. European disease decimated the 2000-strong population and in 1835 invading Maori wiped out or enslaved many Moriori. By the late 1860s their population had dwindled to fewer than 100 and by 1912 to a dozen.

Single Stamp

Single 60c 'The Prospectors' gummed stamp.

The first gold was found in New Zealand as early as 1842 but the gold rush began in earnest in the early 1860s when the Californian and Australian fields declined. Fortune seekers flocked to New Zealand and the population ballooned. Millions of pounds worth of gold was panned or dug in Otago, Westland and Coromandel. A few prospectors struck it rich, most did not. One notable strike was by two Californian gold miners who gleaned 1000oz of gold from the Clutha River in 1862. Weeks later, 3000 hopeful men arrived only to discover the harsh conditions of the canvas towns that had to be endured by all during the rush years of the 1860s. Gold mining has faded in importance but during its heyday it stimulated a young nation's economy.

Single Stamp

Single 70c 'The Land Settlers' gummed stamp.

Earliest European settlement by whalers and traders was temporary and land was bought from the Maori in an uncontrolled way. In 1840, Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi allowing the purchase of Maori land by the British Crown - a landmark settlement which put many land claims under dispute that same year and still causes controversy today.

Educated men with capital squatted on the land, imported and bred thousands of sheep, stocked their acres and reaped fortunes. Many of them departed quickly for home - usually England, to enjoy the fruits of their foresight. Others stayed bringing order to the land they farmed. The world wanted what they could produce - butter, cheese, meat and wool resulting in capital for more development and growth.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'The Whalers' gummed stamp.

Sealers from Sydney were the first to exploit the rich marine resources in the seas around New Zealand, virtually determining large colonies around the southern coasts.

As sealing declined, whaling began. The first recorded visit by a whaling ship to New Zealand was that of the "William and Ann" which called at Doubtless Bay in 1791 while hunting sperm whales in the South Pacific. Other early New Zealand whalers were British and American hunting from 100 small shore stations with longboats, well into the 1840s. Often they braved long, dangerous voyages in wooden ships to take the precious whalebone and whale oil back home, turning them into umbrellas, corset ribs, lipstick and soap. Three main species were hunted in the waters around New Zealand - the sperm whale, the humpback and the right whale. The last New Zealand shore station closed in 1964. The New Zealand government gave whales total protection in 1978.

Single Stamp

Single $1.05 'The Missionaries' gummed stamp.

On 25 December 1814 Yorkshire-born Samuel Marsden, a Sydney based Anglican, conducted the first Christian service on New Zealand soil at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands. The Wesleyans (Methodist) followed soon after the Anglicans. They worked closely together until the arrival of Frenchman Jeane Baptiste Pompallier who celebrated the first Roman Catholic mass in the Hokianga in January 1838.

The word of God, European style, spread south from the Bay of Islands, borne by missionaries some of whom were remarkable men - William Colenso, Henry and William Williams, George Augustus Selwyn and Octavius Hadfield. The missionaries were among the earliest purchasers of land from the Maori. The early mission stations were established in the North Island springing up in Kaitaia, Thames, the Waikato, Rotorua and Tauranga. 

Single Stamp

Single $1.30 'The Maori' gummed stamp.

The Maori were the first New Zealanders, discovering the country perhaps 1000 years ago. Their origins are obscure and theories about how they got to New Zealand, from where, and precisely when, abound.
Traditional belief is that ancient voyagers Kupe and Toi found New Zealand about 900AD to 1000AD and that the bulk of the original first settlers reached these shores by about 1350AD. Whatever the facts, the Maori people were well established when Abel Tasman and James Cook first sighted New Zealand. The Maori lived well, had strongly developed cultural and religious traditions - and constantly warred with each other. The Maori have made the strongest cultural contribution to New Zealand today and have the longest, deepest roots with the land we now all call home. 

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $5.08

Technical information

Date of issue:   17 May 1989
Designers: D Gunson, Auckland
Printers: Leigh-Mardon, Australia
Stamp size: 40mm x 28mm
Sheet size:   100 stamps per sheet
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 14 x 14.25
Paper type: Red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 17 May 1990.