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Niue Traditional Weapons

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The traditional weapons of Niue are now most commonly used ceremonially or seen in museum displays, but they were once an important part of island life. 

Issue information

Niuean weapons required skill and ingenuity in both creation and use. They were carefully crafted from natural materials found on the island, and required strength and accuracy to be used effectively. The four stamps in this issue look at two types of weapon - katoua (clubs) and tao (spears).

30c and $3.00 - Tao (Spear)

Tao are long, heavy spears, measuring up to two metres in length and usually made from heavy, sturdy wood. The handles and spear points were often made from different materials, so if the spears were thrown but missed their target, the spear point would often break off, preventing the enemy using the spears. The tao on the 30c stamp is made from wood and measures 1.895 metres long, and the the tao on the $3.00 stamp is made from wood, cloth and plant fibre and measures 2.764 metres long.

$1.40 and $4.00 - Katoua (Club)

Katoua are items unique to Niue and are used nowadays in festival and school performances. They’re usually made from sturdy wood, and were more likely to be used in close-combat scenarios, similar to Maori taiaha.The katoua on the $1.40 stamp is made from wood and measures 2.475 metres long, and the katoua on the $4.00 stamp is made from wood and hair and measures 1.045 metres long.

Collectables to add to your Niue stamp collection

This collectable issue includes a miniature sheet, a first day cover and a miniature sheet first day cover. The first day cover features a photograph of a Niuean warrior performing in front of a crowd, and the miniature sheet and miniature sheet first day cover feature a photograph of Tuapa Landing, Niue from 1886/7.

Technical information

Date of issue: 5 August 2015
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Denominations: 30c, $1.40, $3.00 and $4.00
Stamps and first day cover designed by: New Zealand Post Ltd, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer: Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post, Whanganui, New Zealand
Number of Colours Four Process Colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper Type Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16 stamps
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 4 August 2016