Friday, 16 January 2015

2015 - 175th Anniversary Treaty of Waitangi.

          6 February 2015 marks the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and New Zealand Post marked this significant milestone with a commemorative stamp issue.
          The Treaty of Waitangi is a document in Maori and English that intended to found a nation-state and build a government in New Zealand. It was signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840 by Captain William Hobson, several English residents and around 45 Maori chiefs. By the time the Treaty had been taken around the country for signing, approximately 540 chiefs from around 39 areas of the country had signed. The Treaty consists of nine documents in all – seven on paper and two on parchment.
          Different understandings of the Treaty have long been a subject of debate. However, today as Maori and the Crown are finalising the settlements of all major claims, the treaty is being seen in a different light, and is beginning to take on a more mediatory role rather than being a point of grievance.

           This over-sized commemorative stamp is a blend of the old and the new, combining a coin design by James Berry with contemporary Maori design.
           The central aspect of the stamp design depicts the figures of Tamati Waka Nene and William Hobson and is based on the Waitangi Crown – a coin minted in 1935. Though the coin was not technically a commemorative coin, it functioned like one and was sold for more than their face value. This coin was struck after the New Zealand Numismatic Society approached the government suggesting a new coin marking the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
On the stamp, Ngapuhi chief Tamati Waka Nene is seen shaking hands with William Hobson, the first governor of New Zealand.
          They are set against a backdrop of sculptural designs executed by Rangi Kipa, based on his development of two Northland designs of Unahi (fish scale) and Kiri Kiore (Pacific rat). The fish scale design references the value of the abundant sea life that formed a staple part of the diet sustaining the many Maori coastal communities and the Kiri kiore design is a visual metaphor that relates the beauty of the Kiore pelt to that of a finely woven cloak which had great value in Maori society.

 For an index to all our posts concerning The Maori People.

First Day Cover.

 This special over-sized stamp is available on a miniature sheet and miniature sheet first-day cover. Both have been specially designed by Rangi Kipa to enhance the design of the stamp, and the first-day cover incorporates a unique datestamp that combines contemporary Maori design with the Union Jack.

Miniature Sheet.

Technical information.    

Date of issue:
4 February 2015
Number of stamps:
One gummed stamp
Designed by:
Rangi Kipa, Te Atiawa, Taranaki  Tuturu and Roy McDougall
Southern Colour Print.
Offset Lithography
Number of colours:
Four process colours
Miniature sheet size:                      
90mm x 150mm 
Paper type:
Oblong watermark 104gsm gummed stamp paper

History of the Treaty in Stamps.

2015 175th Anniversary.
2015 - Treaty of Waitangi 175th Anniversary.

2012 A Tiki Tour of New  Zealand No 2.
This special large sheet of twenty stamps had one that depicted the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. Rather than including the whole sheet showing sights throughout New Zealand I have only included the one stamp here.

1990 150th Anniversary.
 This miniature sheet marked an important milestone in the history of New Zealand. The scene, of course, is the Treaty of Waitangi on an original watercolour painting by Len Mitchell, father of the miniature sheet designer, AG Mitchell.
           Lieutenant Governor William Hobson.                                        The signing of The Treaty of Waitangi.

1990 Treaty of Waitangi 150th Anniversary.
A miniature sheet showing the two stamps above. I don't think many of these stamps would have been removed for general postage so I believe that over time you might see used copies gaining greater value.

1974 New Zealand Day.
During the 1970s an attempt was made to change Waitangi Day to New Zealand Day. The purpose was to create a day celebrated by everyone in New Zealand. It wasn't long before Waitangi Day returned as it has been until today.
To mark New Zealand Day this special miniature sheet was issued on the 5th Feb 1974.
 Top left:- The Treaty House where the Treaty was signed.
Bottom left:- Signing the Treaty - Captain William Hobson and a Maori Chief. 
Centre:- Queen Elizabeth II who attended the Waitangi celebrations in 1974.
Top right:- Parliament Buildings - Modern Government.
Bottom right:- Children at School - showing different races together in the classroom. 

1940 100th Anniversary.

 2½d - Treaty of Waitangi.
I have just noticed that my example of this stamp is actually a printing error, a downward shift of the green centre.

Part of the Centennial celebrations included the issuing of a pictorial set of 13 stamps as can be seen in the group below. One of them, the one seen above, shows an illustration of the actual signing of the Treaty of Waitangi which I believe is the first stamp showing this event.

From A Colony to an Independent Country.
          The progression of New Zealand from British colony to independent country has been an extremely drawn out and at many stages reluctant journey - often prompted by legislative changes from Westminster rather than Wellington:

1840 - The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi marked the beginning of organised British colonisation of New Zealand.

1852 - The British Parliament passed the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 to grant the colony's settlers the right to self-governance in domestic matters. The New Zealand Parliament was still bound by a number of Acts of the British Parliament.

1869 - Creation of New Zealand flag.

1901 - New Zealand did not ratify the Australian Constitution, and rejected membership of the Australian Commonwealth

1907 - On the 26th of September the United Kingdom granted New Zealand "Dominion" status within the British empire. This date was declared Dominion Day. However, Westminster still retained control over New Zealand's foreign affairs and the military.

1919 - Prime Minister Bill Massey signed the Treaty of Versailles giving New Zealand membership of the League of Nations. This indicated that New Zealand had asserted a degree of control over foreign affairs. However, New Zealand signed along with other Dominions as part of a "British Empire Delegation" and all names were indented in a list following that of Britain

1921 - At the Imperial Conference, British Prime Minister Lloyd George stated: "In recognition of their service and achievements during the war, the British Dominions have now been accepted fully into the comity of the nations of the whole world. They are signatories to the Treaty of Versailles and all other treaties of peace. They are members of the Assembly of the League of Nations, and their representatives have already attended meetings of the League. In other words, they have achieved full national status and they now stand beside the United Kingdom as equal partners in the dignities and responsibilities of the British Commonwealth. If there are any means by which that status can be rendered even more clear to their own communities and to the world at large, we shall be glad to have them put forward."

1926 - The Balfour Declaration declared the Dominions as autonomous Communities, equal and in no way subordinate in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs. For practical purposes, this had the effect of acknowledging New Zealand's control over foreign policy and military.

1931 - The Statute of Westminster created the legal basis for independence established by the Balfour Declaration, but did not take effect until each Dominion chose to adopt it. It was prompted by nationalist elements in South Africa and the Irish Free State. Both Australia and New Zealand were hostile towards this development.

1939 - the Governor-General ceased to be Britain's High Commissioner to New Zealand - instead an independent officer was appointed. On the 3rd of September, New Zealand declared war on Germany at the same time as Britain - the declaration of war is normally regarded as an indication of sovereignty.

1944 - The New Zealand government announced the intention to adopt the Statute of Westminster. There was a strong outcry that this would weaken the British Empire in a time of need and the decision was deferred.

1947 - The Statute of Westminster was finally ratified by New Zealand as New Zealand legally accepted independence. The New Zealand Parliament accepted full legislative powers, extra-territorial control of the New Zealand military and legally separated the New Zealand Crown from the British Crown.

1949 - In accordance with the New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948, all New Zealanders became New Zealand citizens but remained British subjects.

1973 - Even during the 1950s and 1960s many New Zealanders still referred to Britain as 'home'. This attitude began to change when the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. The vast majority of New Zealand's exports went to Britain at that time and joining the EEC forced Britain to sever these trade agreements which pushed New Zealand into economic recession.

1974 - The Royal Titles Act formally recognized Queen Elizabeth II as the "Queen of New Zealand" thus recognising New Zealand as an independent Commonwealth Realm.

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

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