Sunday, 18 May 2014

2014 Matariki - Papatūānuku and Ranginui.

The Rising of Matariki.        
        For the Māori people, the night skies in June traditionally has huge significance as the dawn of a new Māori year. The annual appearance of the seven stars of ‘Matariki’, also known as the star cluster 'The Pleiades' in the constellation Tauris, or by its common name 'the seven sisters', signals a time for renewal, reflection and celebration! This celebration is something unique to New Zealand.
        Each year New Zealand Post  issues a set of postage stamps to mark this event. These stamps always feature some aspect of Maori culture. The 2014 Matariki issue was about the well known story of Papatūānuku and Ranginui. The set of six stamps show how six famous artists used this story to inspire their art.

Friday, 16 May 2014

2014 Scenic Definitives

  Definitive Tour.
Back to 2012 Scenic Definitives.                                        Forward to 2016 Scenic Definitives.

      May 7th, 2014 saw the release of a set of five definitive stamps to meet planned changes in postal rates. Three of these stamps were produced using the normal gummed format while another two were produced as adhesive stamps. One of these adhesive stamps was also produced in a gummed version as part of a special miniature sheet. Sound confusing? I will explain this further when we begin looking at the individual stamps.

        There have been a lot of these scenic definitives over the years and many have turned out to be terrible looking stamps. The small format of a postage stamp does not show a lot of detail so what I think makes a good scenic stamp is to capture an interesting foreground combined with a not too crowded distant scene. Some of the stamps below achieve this very well while others don't.
         For me the best was $2.00 - Mount Taranaki, with the cows grazing in the foreground and the mountain behind, this makes a great scene of typical New Zealand. $1.60 - Moeraki Boulders is good too as it captures these unusual boulders. On the other hand I believe the $2.50 - Pancake Rocks do not show us the full effect of this amazing place.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

2009 Giants of New Zealand.

          I found an interesting collection of abandoned art work that had been prepared for the 2009 Giants of New Zealand issue by the designer Dave Gunson, from Auckland. I thought it would make a great subject for this blog. First we are going to look at the set as issued then we will go through this small collection of art work trials.

          The 2009 Giant Issue featured five creatures from around New Zealand, that were extra large for their kind. They were displayed using a cartoon form of drawings on five extra large postage stamps. Two of the creatures shown have long been extinct while the other three still survive, although they are all on the rare or endangered list.

          These are very colourful stamps with their larger format being used to its full potential. Personally, I would have rather seen the drawings being closer to real life, particularly on the Giant Eagle. It appears the design selection for this issue was partly driven by the need to produce stamps that would stand out, almost shock, in their appearance.