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

Matariki 2009 - Heitiki

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24 June 2009 signaled the start of ‘Matariki’ – the dawn of a new Māori year. Traditionally a time for renewal, reflection and celebration, Matariki is also a time to honour Māori culture as a key influence on, and an integral part of, New Zealand’s sense of nationhood.

Issue information

In 2009, New Zealand Post honoured heitiki as an icon of Māori art - past and present. Expressed as images in six self-adhesive stamps, the collection also included two first day covers, a gummed miniature sheet, a presentation pack and – in a rare collector’s opportunity – a prestigious and meticulously designed and documented Limited Edition.

Product Listing for Matariki 2009 - Heitiki

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Heitiki' self-adhesive stamp.

International awareness of Māori culture soared in the 1980s with the enormously successful ‘Te Māori’ exhibition, in which traditional Māori artefacts went on display in galleries in New York, St Louis, San Francisco and Chicago, before returning to tour galleries in New Zealand’s four main urban centres. 2009 was the 25th anniversary of the Te Māori exhibition opening. The heitiki that appears on the 50c stamp played a significant part in this exhibition. 

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Heitiki' self-adhesive stamp.

The heitiki on the $1.00 stamp was carved by Raponi, a renowned Māori artist. New Zealand Post commissioned Raponi to produce this contemporary piece. The traditional design is recognised the world over as an enduring symbol of Māori culture, art and adornment. You can read more about the contemporary Māori heitiki in the presentation pack.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Heitiki' self-adhesive stamp.

Māori artist Rangi Kipa has established an international reputation for innovation while constantly drawing inspiration from his Māori heritage. This is particularly evident in this heitiki, which is made from corian – a manmade material commonly used for kitchen worktops and bathroom vanities. Rangi was commissioned by New Zealand Post to produce this piece for the stamp issue. In total Rangi produced five identical heitiki, two of which are to be sold through REAL Aotearoa stores in Auckland and Christchurch.

SIngle Stamp

Single $1.80 'Heitiki' self-adhesive stamp.

Similar yet always different, each heitiki is a work of art – carefully, lovingly designed, created and carved by Māori artists for generation after generation. Some, like this female heitiki – made from a kahurangi (pale) variety of pounamu (greenstone) – are now safely in the care of museums, often put on display as beautiful emblems of the Māori people and their home, New Zealand.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Heitiki' self-adhesive stamp.

This remarkably intricate carving has produced this miniature masterpiece. More than 160 years old, she’s now held by the New Zealand government, and is part of the collections of The Museum of New Zealand – Te Papa Tongarewa.

Single Stamp

Single $2.30 'Heitiki' self-adhesive stamp.

Heitiki have been made from a wide variety of materials, from pounamu and whalebone (paraoa) to cow bone, granite, wood and various plastic materials. Pounamu and paraoa remain the most prestigious – rare, precious and uniquely suited to carving. This 1991 paraoa heitiki (carved by Rangi Hetet) made its first appearance in the 2008 Matariki collection – and well deserves another outing here.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet with gummed stamps. $9.10
First Day Cover First day cover with self-adhesive stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $9.60
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $9.60
Presentation Pack Included a set of stamps, a first day cover and a miniature sheet.The presentation pack provided a unique perspective on the role of heitiki in Mäori life. Dr Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead, a foremost authority on Māori art and culture, looked at its past and present as ornament, heirloom and amulet. This three-panel pack included both English and te reo. $24.90
Limited Edition Limited edition set included a booklet of insightful commentary from Ngahiraka Mason (Ngāi Tūhoe), a foremost authority on Māori art, a special first day cover designed especially and personally signed by Ms Mason, a set of six gummed stamps, a numbered imperforate miniature sheet, colour separations of the $2.30 stamp and plate blocks for each denomination. Limited to 2,000 sets. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 24 June 2009
Number of stamps: Six self-adhesive stamps
Miniature sheet: Six gummed stamps
Denominations: 50c, $1.00, $1.50, $1.80, $2.00, $2.30
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Len Hetet – Ocean 64 Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand – by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours (self-adhesive tagged with red phosphor)
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type: Gummed: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper; Self-adhesive: Avery Dennison B90 Kraft Back Adhesive 210gsm
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: Gummed: 14; 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 23 June 2010.