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

2009 Year of the Ox

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These stamps were a celebration of the Year of the Ox and so much more. They were issued to reflect New Zealands increasingly multicultural nation and also as a recognition of the strong and enduring links that Chinese communities have forged with Kiwis nationwide.

Issue information

Chinese New Year has become something we all celebrate, with Chinese lantern festivals held in Auckland and Christchurch each year, and a Chinese New Year Festival in Wellington. New Zealand Post celebrated this issue with three stunning stamps designed to welcome 2009 Year of the Ox.

Wishes for a Lucky New Year

The Year of the Ox first day cover broadcasted a message to the world: ‘Great Good Fortune for the Year of the Ox’! Featuring all three stamps, it also included the Ox character in its earliest ‘Small Seal’ script, set against a red background in a form that resembles the Chinese seal (or ‘chop’). Red is an important symbol of celebration throughout the Chinese world, strongly associated with joy, life, happiness, youth, sincerity, summer and marriage.

Celebrations Steeped in Tradition

The miniature sheet and miniature sheet first day cover reinforced the traditions of Chinese New Year – a time for Chinese families to congratulate each other on reaching the end of the one year and see the beginning of another. Flowers and fruit are regular parts of the festivities, with plum blossoms symbolising courage and hope, and tangerines and oranges promising good luck and wealth. Many families keep eight-compartment trays of dried fruits, sweets and candies to welcome guests, each compartment filled with a special food of significance to the New Year season.

Product Listing for 2009 Year of the Ox

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Year of the Ox' gummed stamp.

The Ox is the second of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac – an emblem of spring and agriculture and, it’s believed, able to repress the evil spirits that disturb the waters of lakes, rivers and oceans. The Ox symbol on this stamp is set against a cloud motif, a device commonly used in Chinese art to symbolise great good fortune and joyfulness.

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Ox' gummed stamp.

People born in the Year of the Ox are natural leaders – dependable, calm, modest and hardworking. Just like the animal they represent, they are tireless in their work and capable of enduring any hardship without complaint. They’re also known for their intelligence, although they can be strong-minded and stubborn, and they hate to fail or be opposed. Famous Oxen include Napoleon Bonaparte, Vincent Van Gogh and Walt Disney.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Auckland Harbour Bridge' gummed stamp.

No Chinese New Year is complete without the beautiful red lanterns that light up the night sky. Symbols of fertility, they also have a traditional role in ensuring the safe passage back to the ‘world beyond’ of the souls of ancestors who return to the homes of their descendants for the festivities. Hundreds of these lanterns, specially imported from China, featured at Auckland’s Chinese Lantern Festival between 6 and 8 February 2009.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $3.50
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $4.00
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $4.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 7 January 2009
Number of stamps: Three gummed stamps
Denominations: 50c, $1.00, $2.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Bananaworks, Auckland
Printer and process: Cartor Security Printing, France by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (vertical)
Miniature sheet: 120mm x 90mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Red Phosphor 102gsm gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25 with a ‘Lunar’ label (gutter pair) between the fourth and fifth stamp on each row
Perforation gauge: 13 x 13.2
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 6 January 2010.