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

Christmas 2008

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The story of Christmas may be the same across the world, but people’s experiences and perceptions of Christmas vary immensely. For some New Zealanders, it’s a family tradition repeated year after year with all the trimmings of turkey and Christmas pudding – while for others it’s a day at the beach with the barbecue and a beer. It’s a diversity we celebrated in style, with our Christmas 2008 stamps.

Issue information

The six-stamp issue combined the traditional and the modern. The ‘modern’ stamps were the result of our third annual ‘Design a Stamp’ competition, in which we invited school children throughout New Zealand to create stamps based on the theme of ‘Kiwi Christmas’. Once more we received a record-breaking response, with more than 20,000 entries from around 2,400 schools. The other three stamps take a more traditional approach. Designed by Auckland-based illustrator Martin Bailey, they depict images of the baby Jesus, born to Mary and her husband Joseph in a stable in the city of Bethlehem. Rich in hue and meticulous in detail, the stamps provided a lovely complement to the children’s images – and whether alone or in combination, made a beautiful addition to Christmas envelopes and parcels travelling the world.

Blending the Old and the New

The two different illustrative approaches were mirrored in the Christmas 2008 first day covers. One featured the Martin Bailey stamps, together with an image of the ‘Three Wise Men’ (Balthazar, Melchior, and Caspar) who are said to have followed a star, found Jesus and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The ‘Design a Stamp’ first day cover took a more modern approach, with the three winning stamps and a simple illustration of a Christmas tree – a symbol of Christmas magic for children the world over.

Product Listing for Christmas 2008

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price

Single Stamp



Single 50c 'Kirsten Fisher-Marsters / Sheep ready for Christmas' gummed stamp.

50c Design a Stamp winner
Kirsten Fisher-Marsters
Age 10
Maraetai Beach School, Auckland
“My sheep is ready for Christmas at the beach”


Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Nativity Scene by Martin Bailey' gummed stamp. $0.50
Single Stamp Single $1.00 'Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus from Nativity Scene by Martin Bailey' gummed stamp. $1.00
Single Stamp Single $1.50 'Mary and Baby Jesus from Nativity Scene by Martin Bailey' gummed stamp. $1.50
Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Tamara Jenkin / Pōhutukawa and Koru' gummed stamp.

$2.00 Design a Stamp winner
Tamara Jenkin
Age 12
Tawa Intermediate, Wellington
“This stamp holds the Christmas message of joy and life bringing with it clear New Zealand symbols. There is the pōhutukawa, ‘the kiwi Christmas tree’ and the koru, a traditional Māori symbol celebrating new beginnings”


Single Stamp

Single $2.50 'Molly Bruhns / Kiwi enjoying Christmas' gummed stamp.

$2.50 Design a Stamp winner
Molly Bruhns
Age 7
Prebbleton School, Christchurch
“This is a kiwi enjoying Christmas in the sun by Pōhutukawa”


Single Stamp Single 50c 'Nativity Scene by Martin Bailey' self-adhesive stamp. $0.50
Single Stamp Single $1.50 'Mary and Baby Jesus from Nativity Scene by Martin Bailey' self-adhesive stamp. $1.50
Set of First Day Covers Set of first day covers with six gummed stamps and two self-adhesive (Traditional & Design a Stamp) affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $11.00
Self-adhesive Dispenser Dispenser box containing 100 x 50c self -adhesive stamps. $50.00
Self-adhesive Booklet

 Booklet of 10 x 50c self-adhesive stamps.

Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet of 10 x $1.50 self-adhesive stamps. $15.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 1 October 2008
Number of stamps: Six gummed and two self-adhesive
Denominations: Gummed: 50c (x2), $1.00, $1.50, $2.00, $2.50; Self-adhesive: 50c, $1.50
Stamps, first day covers designed by:  Traditional: Martin Bailey, Auckland, New Zealand; Design a Stamp Competition: Communication Arts, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Gummed: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography; Self-adhesive: Australia Post, Sprintpak by offset lithography
Number of colours:  Four process colours
Stamp size and format: Gummed: 35mm x 35mm; Self-adhesive: 25mm x 30mm (vertical)
Paper type: Gummed: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper; Self-adhesive: CPI / Raflatac Self-adhesive laminate
Number of stamps per sheet: Gummed: 25; Self-adhesive: booklets of 10 x 50c and $1.50; coils of 100 x 50c
Perforation gauge: Gummed: 14.25 x 14.25; Self-adhesive: die cut
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 30 September 2009.