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

Māori Performing Arts

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This stamp issue, which celebrated Māori performing arts, was withdrawn from sale after consultation with a range of Māori arts and culture communities when concerns about the design and style of the stamps were raised.

Issue information

Traditional Māori performing arts - kapa haka - is a growing part of Māori culture. Ranging from the haka (war dance) to the more peaceful waiata ā-ringa action songs, using the poi, patu or taiaha, kapa haka affirms Māori identity for those immersed in their cultural roots, and those who wish to return and be a part of these historical performances.

Kapa haka has always been a strong spiritual and cultural part of Māori tradition. Kapa haka is unique as performers sing, dance and coordinate expression and movement into each dance performance. Each action is deliberate and links to the words sung. The strong vocals accompanying the music are unlike those of many cultures. Beautiful harmonies and carefully executed body language combine to produce a clear and vibrant performance.

First Day Cover

The graphics used in this stamp issue to commemorate Māori Performing Arts were presented on this first day cover. All stamps were affixed and the vivid background image exaggerated the active nature of the issue.

Presentation Pack

The Māori Performing Arts collectables were presented in a presentation pack. It featured the five stamps and first day cover along with information on each of the five stamps and information on the history of kapa haka. The presentation pack was intended to be a great way to collect both stamp products for the issue and understand more about these fantastic performances.

Limited Edition

This stamp issue was one of the few issues chosen for 2006 to have a ‘limited edition’ status. Intended to be available to only 2,000 collectors worldwide, this was to be a prestigious New Zealand Post product.

Each limited edition contained a signed gold foiled first day cover, numbered sheet of 20 stamps (made up of four strips of five stamps where each stamp rotates through the strip) and colour separations of the $2.00 haka stamp.

Each limited edition first day cover was hand signed by Morvin T. Simon, an established and renowned tutor of kapa haka. Morvin also wrote the copy for the numbered booklet, which contained detailed information about Māori performing arts, the history and culture.

Withdrawal from Sale

After careful consideration, New Zealand Post decided not to release the Māori Performing Arts stamp issue. This decision followed consultation with a range of Māori arts and culture communities.

Some concerns about the design style of the stamp were raised with New Zealand Post when the business first promoted the stamp issue. Consequently, they sought additional advice and concluded that the stamps would cause offence to some people.

The issue was withdrawn from sale before the issue date and was never sold over-the-counter for postal use. All stock that had been dispatched to PostShops and held in other locations was recalled and destroyed.

In addition to samples kept on file for archival purposes, eight orders to customers were shipped in error. One of the advisers used in the design received some 'product' and 48 blank first day cover envelopes (without stamps) were shipped to customers well in advance of the scheduled release date.

Known to be in Circulation

  • 2006 Māori Performing Arts gummed products: 4 x $2.00 single stamp (mint), 9 x first day covers, 6 x sets plate imprint blocks, 3 x complete single stamp sets (mint), 1 x complete single stamp set (used).
  • 2006 Māori Performing Arts self-adhesive products: 1 x 45c dispenser box, 2 x 45c single stamp (mint), 1 x 45c single stamp (used), 11 x stamp booklets.
  • 3 x presentation packs.
  • 48 x blank first day covers.

Product Listing for Māori Performing Arts

Title Image Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c ‘Poi’ gummed stamp.

The poi, if used by an experienced performer, is manipulated and twirled to the music and song of many performances. It is believed the poi was used as a means of training warriors to strengthen their wrists. During performances however, it is the women who use the long or short poi, singularly, doubly or in a quad formation. The long poi is mainly used for spinning movements and actions. The short poi is used for flicking, catching and slapping movements to mark a rhythm of a song.

Single Stamp

Single 90c ‘Taiaha’ gummed stamp.

The taiaha is a long staff measuring up to 1.5 metres in length. It has a carved face with an arero (tongue) on the end of it, often incorporating ornate carvings, feathers or paua shell. A work of art as well as a weapon, this staff is used in the kapa haka.

Single Stamp

Single $1.35 ‘Pukana’ gummed stamp.

The pukana, or widening of the eyes, is part of the performance usually linked to wiri, or shaking of the hands. These expressions are used at various times in the performance to reinforce meaning and add force to the words. Pukana is described as the innermost expression of wairua (soul) being released.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 ‘Patu’ gummed stamp.

The patu, mere or short club is popular for female performers in kapa haka. The mere symbolises the facing and overcoming of life’s challenges and difficulties.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 ‘Haka’ gummed stamp.

The haka can be performed with or without weapons, and this stamp image shows the haka with precise choreographed actions. From pre-European times, the haka was performed without weapons, but with well defined actions. Following the First World War the haka developed in vibrant and vigorous forms, used to express many private or public sentiments.

Single Stamp Single 45c ‘Poi’ self-adhesive stamp. $0.45
First Day Cover First day cover with gummed stamps and self-adhesive stamp affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $7.15
  Self-adhesive Dispenser Dispenser box containing 100 x 45c self-adhesive stamps. $45.00
Self-adhesive Booklet Booklet containing 10 x 45c self-adhesive stamps. $4.50
  Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $14.95
  Limited Edition Limited edition collectable containing exclusive stamp products not available anywhere else. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 7 June 2006
Number of stamps: Five gummed and one 45c self-adhesive stamp
Denominations and designs: 45c Poi (gummed and self-adhesive), 90c Taiaha, $1.35 Pukana, $1.50 Patu, $2.00 Haka
Stamps and first day cover designed by: Abel Vaireka, Brownstone Design Group, Petone, Wellington
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: Gummed: 40mm x 30mm (vertical); Self-adhesive: 30mm x 25mm (vertical)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value block and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps were withdrawn from sale prior to the issue date (refer to withdrawal from sale explanation in the issue information).