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Whānau Mārama - Family of Light

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One of the names for Marama is ‘the eye of the night’. The bright face of Marama and its lunar phases (maramataka) help Māori to interact with the stars of Matariki. One story tells of Rona, who stumbles in the dark after Marama (the Moon) passes behind a cloud. When Rona abused Marama and after she refused to stop, she was captured and taken to reside with Marama forever.

Tamanuiterā has two wives, Hineraumati (summer) and Hinetakurua (winter). The pathway that Tamanuiterā follows in summer is different to that which he traces during winter. This means the Matariki star cluster is positioned differently during each season. The Sun is also referened in the legends of, Māui who slowed the journey of Tamanuiterā across the sky. Each day Tamanuiterā sped across the heavens leaving no time for work to be completed. Using his grandmother’s jawbone, Maui harnessed the Sun to create the pattern of sunrise and sunset we experience today.

Stamp descriptions

Tamanuiterā (the Sun) and Marama (the Moon) together with Ngā Whetū Matariki (the Pleiades Star Cluster) make up the family of heavenly bodies known as Te Whānau Mārama (the Family of Light).

This stamp issue celebrates Matariki, the Māori New Year, in 2021 with stories of the Sun and the Moon.

$1.50 Marama

Where art thou, Rona? - After abusing Marama for hiding behind a cloud, Marama captured and pulled Rona her to her, where she now resides forever.

$2.80 Marama

The eye of the night - The bright face of Marama and her lunar phases (maramataka) help Māori to interact with the stars of Matariki.

$3.60 Tamanuiterā

Fast to rise, fast to set - Using his grandmother’s jawbone, Māui and his brothers slow the journey of Tamanuiterā across the sky to make the day longer.

$4.10 Tamanuiterā

Summer path, winter path - Tamanuiterā has two wives, Hineraumati (summer) and Hinetakurua (winter). The Matariki star cluster is positioned differently during each of the seasons.

Product listing for Whānau Mārama - Family of Light

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Image Title Description Price
Whānau Mārama - Family of Light first day cover | NZ Post Collectables First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $12.50
Whānau Mārama - Family of Light miniature sheet first day cover | NZ Post Collectables Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover wth gummed miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $12.50

Technical information

Date of issue: 2 June 2021
Number of stamps: Four gummed
Denominations: $1.50, $2.80, $3.60 & $4.10
Designed and illustrated by: Dave Burke, Tauranga, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 45.6mm x 35mm (horizontal)
Miniature sheet size and format: 180mm x 90mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 106gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14.78 x 14.86
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks are available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 1 June 2022. First day covers will remain on sale until 28 July 2021.