Friday, 5 July 2013

2000 / 2012 The Year of the Dragon.

See my complete collection of Chinese New Year Issues.

Dragon from the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival, Auckland 2016.

2012 The Year of the Dragon.
        In 2012 New Zealand again celebrated Chinese New Year with a set of four stamps. These same stamps also appeared on the miniature sheet issued at the same time. The stamps followed the recent trend of having the Chinese symbol on the lowest value, then two values depicting an associated with the Lunar Year, in this case a dragon and the highest value a New Zealand Icon.
        The dragon is an important ancient symbol for the Chinese people, and it is believed to ward off evil spirits. Everything connected with the dragon is thought to be blessed, which makes this lunar stamp issue particularly special.

 60c - Year of the Dragon.                                         $1.20 - Paper-cut. Dragon.

60c - Year of the Dragon.
The Chinese character for 'dragon' expressed using Calligraphy, a traditional
Chinese art form. Notice the silver fern down in the lower corner, this was first introduced in 2004.
$1.20 - Paper-cut. Dragon.
Paper-cutting is a Chinese folk art that became popular shortly after paper was invented.
It is used for many Chinese weddings, ceremonies and festivals. This skilfully crafted
paper-cut dragon indicates prosperity, amiability and celebration.

      $1.90 - Dragon Lantern.                                         $2.40 - New Zealand Icon.

$1.90 - Dragon Lantern.
Chinese lanterns are an important part of Chinese New Year, and the
Chinese Lantern Festival marks the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations.
$2.40 - New Zealand Icon - Dunedin Railway Station.
The highest value of this set featured the usual New Zealand Icon, in this case the Dunedin Railway Station. Dunedin had an early association with Chinese immigrants who came to New Zealand to work in the Otago Gold Fields.

The Chinese New Year miniature sheet again displayed the four stamps. I do like this
new style compared to the older one which you can see in the 2000 issue below.
Other than the four main stamps there is really nothing which stands out on the sheet.

Gutter Designs.


Each of these stamp had a gutter design down the centre of each sheet. Here are examples of gutter pairs from all four values.

2012 Beijing International Stamp and Coin Expo.
         To mark this event on Nov 2 New Zealand Post issued a exhibition miniature sheet and souvenir cover to celebrate the expo. The souvenir miniature sheet incorporates three stamps from the 2012 Year of the Dragon stamp issue set against an image of the Dunedin Railway Station, which also features on one of the stamps. Dunedin was one of the earliest settlements for Chinese immigrants in New Zealand.
This sheet and $2.40 stamp appear in our Dunedin Railway Station collection.

See my complete collection of Chinese New Year Issues.
2000 The Year of the Dragon.
        Following on from the last few years New Zealand released a miniature sheet for Chinese New Year. At the same time a set of six stamps was released depicting Maori Spirits and Guardians. I like these stamps as they have nice bright colours and their subject makes you stop of a better look. The last two values were also featured on the miniature sheet but other than that none of the stamps had any reference to Chinese New Year.

Araiteuru - 40c                                                                    Kurangaituku - 80c

40c Araiteuru - North Island Sea Guardian.
A North Island female taniwha who lived in the Hokianga region of Northland. She had eleven sons and together they created the many branches of the Hokianga Harbour.

80c Kurangaituku - Giant Bird Woman.
Kurangaituku was a giant bird-women who stood as tall as a tree. She hunted for prey in the forest, spearing birds and lizards with her long sharp fingernails.

  Te Hoata and Te Pupu - $1.10                                         Patupaiarehe - $1.20

 $1.10 Te Hoata and Te Pupu - Volcanic Taniwha Sisters.
These were two taniwha sisters, who were believed to have been the origin and personification of the supernatural fire that creates volcanoes and thermal activity of the central North Island of New Zealand.
See our post  2000  The Volcanic Taniwha Sisters.

$1.20 Patupaiarehe - Mountain Fairy Tribe.
Handsome spirit people who lived on hilltops in the swirling mist. They were usually only seen overcast days. The men were known to be expert flute players.

  Te Ngarara-huarau - $1.50                                                Tuhirangi - $1.80

$1.50  Te Ngarara-huarau - Giant First Lizard.
The picture of this stamp is based on a story which tells how a giant reptile kidnaps a woman, makes her his wife. He is then hunted down and killed by her people.

$1.80  Tuhirangi - South Island Sea Guardian.
A taniwha who travelled with Kupe from Hawaiki when he discovered the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand). In the late 19th century, Tuhirangi became associated with a white dolphin that inhabited a stretch of water off Pelorus Sound, north of French Pass. While Europeans called this dolphin Pelorus Jack, the Maori people recognised him as Tuhirangi.

Designing these Stamps.
From the then New Zealand Post Stamps Marketing Manager - Wendy Riley.
         "There are many stories that are told about the different creatures which feature on these stamps. Each of the six stamps in the Spirits & Guardians issue tells just one interpretation of these stories. Waiheke Island designer Manu Smith was chosen to design the stamp issue because of his knowledge of Maori culture and past experience with illustrating books and materials on Maori legends. Of Te Aupouri and Ngati Kahu descent, Manu has been illustrating Maori legends for over 20 years. His work has been included in over 70 books as well as a range of other materials including phone cards, posters and calendars.
         Working with Manu, we were able to draw upon his extensive knowledge of Maori legends and the oral traditions that are associated with them, as well as make the most of his extraordinary design skills. This combination of talent and experience has resulted in a stamp issue that is quite spectacular and is a celebration of the stories for all New Zealanders to share." 

The Chinese New Year miniature sheet featured the usual circle of Lunar Year
symbols, now with the dragon in the centre. To the left is two stamps from
the Spirits and Guardians issue. (See above)  I think that these two are the most
dragon like of the creatures depicted on the stamps.
Some of the images in this post were used with permission from the illustrated catalogue of StampsNZ
You can visit their web site and On-line Catalogue at,

Technical information 2012 Year of the Dragon.

Date of issue:
5 January 2012
Number of stamps:
Four gummed stamps
Miniature sheet:
One sheet with four gummed stamps
60c, $1.20, $1.90 and $2.40
Stamps designed by:
Bananaworks, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer and process:
Cartor Security Printing, France by offset lithography
Number of colours:
Four process colours
Stamp size and format:
30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type:
103gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number stamps per sheet:
Perforation gauge:
13.25 x 13

Technical information  2000 Year of the Dragon

                                           (Spirits and Guardians.)

        Date of Issue:
9 February 2000
Manu Smith, Waiheke Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Southern Colour Print, New Zealand
        Stamp Size:
44mm x 28mm
        Miniature Sheet Size:                    
100mm x 135mm
        Sheet Size:
100 stamps
        Perforation Gauge:
        Paper Type:
103 gsm red phosphor coated

Some of the images in this post were used with permission from the illustrated catalogue of StampsNZ
You can visit their web site and On-line Catalogue at,  


  1. Oh I love that dragon photo at the top. Where was that taken? Looks like it could have been the lantern festive in Auckland.
    I like the 2000 issue better. Nice bright colourful stamps. The miniature sheet looks good too.

    1. Yes Rodney
      That was taken at Chinese New Year in the Auckland Domain this year. Its not a good photo as it was taken by my phone camera in difficult conditions but I agree it gets the message. I'm going to get a few more next year for my other Chinese New Year pages.