In 2019 Chinese New Year was celebrated on 5 February, bringing in the Year of the Pig, according to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. New Zealand Post created a special stamp issue and medallion to commemorate this annual celebration.
The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, which means it’s divided according to astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun and the phases of the moon. Each day begins at midnight and ends at midnight the next day, while each month begins on the day of a new moon and ends on the day before the next one. The 12-month solar year is made up of 24 solar terms, each about half a month long, that are established according to the position of the sun and the changes in climate.
People born in the Year of the Pig tend to be straightforward, kind-hearted and generous. They enjoy spending time and sharing things with others, although their openminded, trusting, fun-loving attitude and tendency to say ‘yes’ can leave them open to being taken advantage of. While Pigs are generally relaxed, easy on themselves and often romantic, they’re also straight-talkers with a strong and earnest sense of justice. They approach tasks assigned to them with energy and perseverance and complete them to the best of their abilities. They can be trusted to do a good job. In tough times though, Pigs can become emotional, spiral into a negative state of mind and lose all motivation. They can also be prone to judging others – a characteristic that can get them into trouble.
People born in the Year of the Pig are known for being calm under pressure, no matter how difficult the problem or the situation. They’re also curious by nature, although their interest in the latest gossip can land them in hot water with friends and family for ‘overstepping the mark’. As well as being faithful, gentle and unpretentious, Pigs have great analytical skills, a rich imagination, wisdom and resilience. They’re also vocal about the things they care about, and have the courage to stand up for what they believe in. They’re good with others, particularly in navigating interpersonal relationships. The Pig’s shortcomings are few, but they include stubbornness, a quick temper, aimlessness and a tendency to let good opportunities pass them by. They also go out of their way to earn power and status, and sometimes reveal a shallowness in their knowledge and behaviour and a weakness in giving in to temptation. Pigs should have good fortune this year and do well at work; some may even get pay rises. They’re advised to focus more on projects that are already underway than invest in new ones.
Miniature Sheet and First Day Covers
The miniature sheet featured Chinese symbols for each of the animals in the lunar calendar - the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The first day covers used a traditional Chinese pattern overlaid with a warm, reddish hue, a colour which features prominently in Chinese culture.
The presentation pack provided further detail about the characteristics of people born in the year of the pig. Extra information regarding the Chinese lunar calendar is also provided for a bit more understanding. This was accompanied by a key showing the 12 animals of the Chinese New Year and the years they will fall in for the coming future. The presentation pack contained a complete set of stamps, a miniature sheet, first day cover and an intricate paper cut-out of a pig.
Gold Foiled Miniature Sheets
To go with these bright, festive stamps, there was also a range of gold-foiled products available.
Lucky Red Envelope
Alongside this year's Chinese New Year stamp issue, 2,019 lucky red envelopes were available. These envelopes each contained one 2019 Year of the Pig miniature sheet.
Product Listing for 2019 Year of the Pig
Single $1.20 'Calligraphy' gummed stamp.
Calligraphy (hanzi) is a unique art form that for centuries has been a key part of Chinese culture, traditions and everyday life. Today, couplet-writing and calligraphy continue to have an essential role in Chinese New Year celebrations, and this year they featured in the design of the $1.20 Year of the Pig stamp.
Single $2.40 'Paper-Cutting' gummed stamp.
Paper-cutting (jianzhi) is a 1,500-year-old form of Chinese folk-art in which the people and animals of folktales and legends are recreated in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Paper-cut animals of the Chinese zodiac are popular features at Chinese New Year, when they’re used for decoration and as gifts for family and friends visiting from afar.
Single $3.00 'The Pig' gummed stamp.
The origins of the rare Arapawa pig are clouded in mystery, but it’s said that explorer Captain James Cook introduced them to New Zealand’s Arapaoa Island (in the Marlborough Sounds) when he visited almost 250 years ago. This stamp connected New Zealand to China and Chinese New Year with an Arapawa pig depicted in line art.
Single $3.60 'State Highway 85' gummed stamp.
State Highway 85, in the South Island of New Zealand, is also known as the ‘Pig Route’. One of the popular stories behind the name dates back to the goldrush of the 1880s when, it’s said, wild pigs would approach the miners’ horses and rub noses with them. Today, the highway is the main route from Alexandra to Central Otago.
|Miniature Sheet||Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet.||$10.20|
|First Day Cover||First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue.||$10.70|
|Miniature Sheet First Day Cover||First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue.||$10.70|
This informative presentation pack provided some background detail to the Chinese lunar calendar, as well as elaborating on the characteristics of someone born in the year of the pig. You could take a closer look at the products and discover the animals for the upcoming years with the helpful key provided.
|Envelope||Alongside this year's Chinese New Year stamp issue, 2,019 individually numbered lucky red envelopes were available. These envelopes each contained one 2019 Year of the Pig miniature sheet. They were intended to bring good luck to the recipient.||$12.90|
|Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet in Perspex Stand||
Made from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, this miniature sheet had been embossed and etched with micro fine detail and was mounted in a Perspex display stand (measuring 18cm x 10cm).
|Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet with Coloured Stamp in Perspex Stand||
Made from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, this miniature sheet had been embossed and etched with micro fine detail and is mounted in a Perspex display stand (measuring 18cm x 10cm). It featured vibrant coloured stamps and was produced in limited numbers.
|Large Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet in Frame||
This large miniature sheet was one of only 103 produced. It had been embossed and etched with micro fine detail from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil and was presented within an individually numbered frame (measuring 39cm x 27cm).
|Large Gold Foiled Miniature Sheet with Colour in Frame||
This large miniature sheet was one of only 21 lucky-numbered miniature sheets to feature colour on the stamps. It had been embossed and etched with micro fine detail from 24-carat 99.9 gold foil, and was presented within an individually numbered frame (measuring 39cm x 27cm).
The available lucky numbers were: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 23, 28, 33, 38, 66, 88, 99, 100, 111, 118, 128.
|Date of issue:||16 January 2019|
|Number of stamps:||Four gummed stamps|
|Denominations:||$1.20, $2.40, $3.00, $3.60|
|Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by:||Asiaworks, Auckland, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Cartor Security Printing, France, by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||30mm x 40mm (vertical)|
|Paper type:||Red phosphor gummed paper 106gsm|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||25|
|Perforation gauge:||13 x 13.25|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 15 January 2020. First day covers remained on sale until 12 March 2019.|