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.
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.
|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.|