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

Matariki 2014 - Papatuanuku and Ranginui

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When the star cluster known as Matariki rises in the sky it will signal the beginning of the Māori New Year. The Matariki 2014 stamp issue tells the Māori creation narrative of Papatūānuku and Ranginui.

Issue information

As with many stories born from ancient folklore, there are different variations of the story of Papatūānuku and Ranginui. A widely known account tells that Ranginui, the Sky Father, and Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother, loved each other dearly and embraced so tightly that their sons were stuck in the darkness between them. Their sons decided to separate them so they could live in the light, and their son Tāne, god of humankind and forest life, pushed with all his might to force them apart. Ranginui was sent to live in the sky and Papatūānuku was sent below to live as the earth, creating Te Ao Mārama, the world of light.

This self-adhesive stamp issue looked at this creation narrative through the eyes of six accomplished New Zealand artists, who represent parts of the narrative in their own unique ways.

The set of six stamps was displayed on a miniature sheet and two first day covers. The miniature sheet was the only way to obtain the stamps in a gummed format.


New Zealand Post wishes to acknowledge the following for their assistance and guidance in bringing together this special stamp and coin release celebrating the Māori creation narrative.

  • Toi Māori Aotearoa - Māori Arts New Zealand
  • Rangi Kipa
  • Roy McDougall
  • Cliff Whiting
  • Phil Makaraka Berry
  • Kura Te Waru Rewiri
  • Fred Graham
  • Pauline Kahurangi Yearbury
  • Robert Jahnke
  • Tina Makareti
  • David Hakaraia
  • Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand
  • National Library of New Zealand
  • Archives New Zealand
  • Fermer Galleries
  • Russell Museum
  • Riki Manuel.

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 2014 - Papatūānuku and Ranginui

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Cliff Whiting' self-adhesive stamp.

Te wehenga o Rangi rāua ko Papa

A monumental work for its time, this piece is housed in the National Library, and shows the central figure of Tāne thrusting apart his parents in the inverted position by using his legs. This image is part of a larger work that explores the Māori narrative on the creation of Te Ao Mārama, the world of light.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Phil Mokaraka Berry' self-adhesive stamp.

Rangi and Papa

In this work Berry uses the design languages of Māori tattooing and the kaokao pattern from the traditions of other Māori artistic conventions of Tāniko and Tukutuku to add emphasis to the representation of Tāne separating his parents. This customary design symbolises the energy and strength needed to wrench the heavens from the earth.

Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Kura Te Waru Rewiri' self-adhesive stamp.

Te whakamamae o te wehenga

This work shows the triangular mask of Tāne that separates his parents, Rangi and Papa. The three siblings of Tāne are represented as pou (posts) and stand on the upper eyelid of their mother, aghast at the pain of the separation. The vessel in the sky has been prepared as the place where Rangi will dwell, forever separated from Papa; thus night and day are created.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Fred Graham' self-adhesive stamp.

The separation of Rangi and Papa

This work is housed in the National Archives, which also houses Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Graham has applied the theme of the Rangi and Papa narrative to symbolise the role of the National Archives as an institution that seeks to enlighten people through the dissemination of knowledge. It is noteworthy that the relevance of the dual meaning of ‘marama’: light and knowledge is founded in this creation narrative.

Single Stamp

Single $2.50 'Pauline Kahurangi Yearbury' self-adhesive stamp.

The children of Rangi and Papa

In this frame, Papa is clutching Rangi in a supportive embrace with the umbilical cord of her last child still present. This work by Yearbury is indicative of her visceral style and her clever use of line to project movement in her visual exploration of Māori narratives. Yearbury was lost to the Māori art world well before her contribution had been fully recognised.

Single Stamp

Single $3.00 'Robert Jahnke' self-adhesive stamp.

The Ranginui doorway

This doorway was commissioned for the Marae floor in Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand. It retracts upwards and layers the three levels of colour over the other panels. When the doorway is fully lifted, it represents the state of Te Po (darkness), and when fully closed it represents Te Ao Mārama.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $10.50
First Day Cover First day cover with six self-adhesive stamps affixed. $11.00
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $11.00
Presentation Pack

Designed by Rangi Kipa, the presentation pack told the tale of Papatūānuku and Ranginui in English and Te Reo alongside information about the art pieces featured on the stamps. Contained within the pack was the full set of stamps, the miniature sheet and the first day cover.

Still available for purchase. Click here.

Limited Edition

This unique product was produced in limited numbers and contained a booklet written by Tina Makereti. Makereti is an award-winning writer who has published collections of short stories and her first novel in 2014. Within the booklet was plate blocks of each of the six stamps. Inside the pack was a specially designed first day cover signed by Rangi Kipa, a unique numbered miniature sheet, a complete set of stamps and colour separations of the $3.00 stamp.

Still available for purchase. Click here.


Technical information

Date of issue: 4 June 2014
Number of stamps: Six self-adhesive stamps
Denominations: 80c (x2), $1.40, $2.00, $2.50 and $3.00
Stamps designed by: Rangi Kipa, Te Atiawa, Taranaki Tuturu
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography 
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal and vertical)
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 gauge: 13.33 x 13.60 (miniature sheet)
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 3 June 2015.