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

Matariki 2013 - Koru

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When the star cluster known as Matariki appears in the night sky it signals the Māori New Year and a time of new beginnings. The Matariki 2013 stamp issue celebrated the koru - a pattern symbolising new life and regeneration.

Issue information

Matariki is a significant event for Māori, and is widely acknowledged to signal a change of seasons. In traditional Māori society, Matariki was believed to foretell whether the year ahead would be plentiful. It was also a time of festivity, when communities would come together to reflect on the past and look ahead to new beginnings.

The message of new beginnings was represented in the koru pattern, which is derived from an unfurling silver fern frond. Each of the six self-adhesive stamps in this issue incorporated the koru pattern along with aspects of traditional Māori culture that have particular significance during the time of Matariki.

The set of six stamps was incorporated into a miniature sheet and two first day covers. The miniature sheet was the only way to obtain the stamps in a gummed format. The first day covers continued the theme of the koru and were a beautiful accompaniment to this Matariki stamp collection.


New Zealand Post wishes to acknowledge the following for their assistance and guidance in bringing together this special stamp issue: Matariki 2013 - Koru:

  • Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand
  • Te Puia, Rotorua
  • Toi Māori Aotearoa - Māori Arts New Zealand
  • Professor Charles Royal (Te Ahukaramū)
  • Dr Rangi Matamua
  • Leonie Sharp
  • Brian Flintoff
  • Dave Burke - Stamp designer

Commemorative Coins

Take a look at the commemorative coins that were also part of this issue. Click here to find out more.

Product Listing for Matariki 2013 - Koru

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 70c 'Piko' self-adhesive stamp.

The koru pattern is used in many Māori and New Zealand art forms and symbolises new life, regeneration, growth, strength and peace. For many this form is the symbol of renewal and of hope for the future. In this stamp the piko is blooming and will grow into a rauponga (fern leaf). The artwork surrounding the fern represents the domain of Tāne Mahuta - the God of the Forest.

Single Stamp

Single 70c 'Manu Tukutuku' self-adhesive stamp.

Sometimes the koru can be used in a non-literal way to symbolise aspects of Māoridom, and is often seen in carving and ta moko (tattooing). In this stamp the koru pattern symbolises the winds of Tāwhirimātea (the God of the Weather), and soaring on those winds is a kite, or a messenger between Heaven and Earth. In the background the sunrise depicts the first day of Matariki, and the sky - the domain of Tāwhirimātea.

Single Stamp

Singe $1.40 'Nguru' self-adhesive stamp.

The pattern that covers the nguru (flute) in this stamp is made from a series of koru shapes that depict the music making pleasing shapes in the silence. In the background is the face of Hine Raukatauri, the Goddess of Flute Music, who loved her nguru so much that she decided to live in it forever.

Single Stamp

Single $1.90 'Pataka' self-adhesive stamp.

This stamp design talks about Matariki as a time of abundance, feasting and the opportunity to flourish. The pātaka, or storehouse, is covered in koru, and represents the concept of planting and storing kai (food), the gathering of kai, and nourishment and wellbeing. This is the domain of Rongo-mā-Tāne, the God of Kūmara and Cultivated Food.

Single Stamp

Single $2.40 'Kotiate' self-adhesive stamp.

The mangopare design seen swirling around the kotiate (club) is a traditional Māori interpretation of a hammerhead shark, featuring symmetrical koru as the distinctive head. It symbolises strength, determination and an unwillingness to yield. It is very much the warrior symbol, and speaks of the attributes that a warrior must possess. The kotiate and mangopare together represent the domain of Tūmatauenga, the God of War and Balance.

Single Stamp

Single $2.90 'Patiki' self-adhesive stamp.

The pātiki (flounder) design, with its swirling koru inside the shape of the pātiki, is used in many carvings - particularly in pātaka and waka (canoes). It is the symbol of hospitality, and can represent the catching of fish from the domain of Tangaroa, the God of the Ocean.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $10.00
First Day Cover First day cover with six self-adhesive stamps affixed. $10.50
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $10.50
Presentation Pack

The presentation pack designed by Dave Burke is beautiful to look at, with detailed koru designs and imagery reflecting Matariki throughout. Inside was the complete set of stamps, the gummed miniature sheet and the first day cover, as well as further insights into the significance of Matariki in traditional Māori life.

Still available for purchase. Click here.

Limited Edition The limited edition was produced in limited numbers and contained a booklet written by Professor Charles Royal (Te Ahukaramū). Within the booklet was a plate blocks of each of the six stamps. Also included within the limited edition was a specially designed first day cover signed by Professor Charles Royal, a unique numbered imperforate miniature sheet, a complete set of stamps and colour separations of the $2.90 stamp. $135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 5 June 2013
Number of stamps: Six self-adhesive stamps
Denominations: 70c (x2), $1.40, $1.90, $2.40 and $2.90
Stamps designed by: Dave Burke Design, Auckland, New Zealand 
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography 
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Miniature sheet size: 150mm wide x 90mm high
Paper type: Self-adhesive: Tullis Russell 210gsm PSA red phosphor stamp paper; Gummed miniature sheets: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation: 13.33 x 13.60
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 4 June 2014.