Sunday, 13 May 2018

2018 Maui and the Fish

Maui and the Fish - Te Ika-a-Maui.

       The first time I can remember hearing this story was on the Sunday Children Request show, on the radio station, 1ZB. This and How the Kiwi Lost His Wings became favourites of mine when they appeared on the show. These days, of course, television has taken over children's entertainment on a Sunday morning. 
        So being born in New Zealand, I grew up with many of these stories but being a Pakaha (White European), I didn't have much contact with Maori mythology once I became an adult. When I began this blog I soon discovered there were many stamp issues with Maori Mythology themes. Since then, the richness and complexity of the Maori culture became a source of fascination and intrigue.  

         New Zealand has issued two other stamps telling the story of Maui and the Fish. These can be found below, at the bottom of this post, or via links from our index page New Zealand Maori.

NZ Post describes this issue:- 
        Māui and the Fish - Te Ika-a-Māui is one of many tales of the mischievous demigod chronicled for centuries across Pacific cultures. Despite the considerable distance between islands such as Hawaii, Tonga and even New Zealand, the similarities between many of the legends are uncanny.
        Many versions of this story exist as it has been passed from generation to generation. We present this story with words by Louis Armstrong, Cultural Education Lead for the iwi of Raukawa in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa.

        Since, I do not understand much te reo Maori, when I came to layout this page I debated as to whether I should include the Maori versions captions of this story under each stamp as they appeared on the NZ Post website. Finally, I decided the value of adding the story in two languages was worth doing. 

 The Stamps.

$1.20 - An impending storm.
Excitement, curiosity and a mischievous nature pushed Māui into action. He could not shake the urge to stow away quietly on board his older brothers’ waka as they prepared for a fishing trip. Despite the fine weather, his intuition told him that a storm was looming and somehow it would bring him greatness.
He tai haruru.
Ko te kōrawa, ko te māhirahira, ko hīanga koirā katoa i ākina a Māui ki te mahi. Tē taea e Māui te ngāueue te whakaaro kia konihi ki te waka o ōna tuākana huna ai i a rātou e whakarite waka ana ki te hī ika. Ahakoa te paki o te rā, e matakite ana ia tērā tētehi tai haruru e pūhia mai ana te pūrākau mōna.

$1.20 - Launch the waka.
In preparation for the fishing voyage, lashings were tightened, fishing nets and lines were checked, hooks were sharpened and the hull was checked for seaworthiness. The sea was like glass, the weather was calm and the winds looked favourable for a quick journey to the brothers’ favourite fishing grounds.
Whakarewaina te waka.
Hei whakarite waka ki te hī ika, i whakakikīa ngā aukaha, i tirohia ngā kupenga me ngā aho, i whakakoia ngā matau, i purua katoatia ngā aurukōwhao i te takere anō hoki. I āio te moana, i rangi paihuarere, ā i kōtengitengi te hau kia tere ai te rere o te waka ki tō ngā tuākana tino tauranga ika. He tohu pai ēnei kia riro i a rātou te mahi a te ika.

$1.20 - A legendary heirloom.
Māui lay hidden under a pile of clothing at the rear of the waka. He dared not move, fearing that his brothers might throw him overboard. He gripped tightly his late grandmother’s heirloom jawbone as comfort in his frightening predicament. On reaching the fabled fishing grounds, he would emerge from his hiding place.
He marutuna tuku iho.
I takoto huna a Māui i raro i tētehi haupūranga kākahu i te kei o te waka. Tino kore nei ia e paku oi, kei rukea ia e ōna tuākana i te waka. I raraui te kauae tuku iho o tōna kuia kua mate noa atu hei mamahutanga mōna i tēnei wā whakamataku. Kia tae atu rātou ki te tino tauranga ika ka puaki rā anō ia i te wāhi huna.

$2.40 - The fierce battle.
Māui stood at the bow of the waka, his entire body straining with the effort to haul in his prize. The enormous fish thrashed violently back and forth, its immense tail triggering tsunami-sized waves. Māui looked skyward, calling for divine intervention to give him the strength needed to overcome this mighty fish.
Te kakaringa wawana.
Ka tū a Māui i te ihu o te waka, ka whakawhēnanauhia katoatia te tinana ki te hī ake i te ika kāmehameha. E kowheta mai ana, e kowheta atu ana te ika kaitā, ka ara ake ngā parawhenua mea i tōna hiku kaha. Ka whakaterangi te titiro a Māui, ka takitaki i ana karakia kia uaua parāoa te ringaringa ki te hī i te ika rīrā nei.

$3.00 - The carving of the land.
On breaking the sea surface, the fish hardened into a huge land mass. Māui lay on the waka after the fierce battle with the fish. Māui’s brothers jumped from the waka, retrieved the jawbone and used it to ruthlessly to carve up the land. These actions would set the future landscape of Aotearoa - New Zealand.
Te tāraitanga o te whenua.
I te putanga ki te karetai o te moana, ka whakauka te ika hei whenua. Mutu kau ana te putakari hirahira me te ika ka takoto kau a Māui i te waka. Ka heke iho ngā tuākana o Māui i te waka ka tiki i te kauae ka tīmata ai tā rātou tārainga pūhungahungatanga o te whenua. Ka riro mā tēnei mahi a Aotearoa e whakaahua i taua rā, ā mohoa noa nei.

$3.60 - The fish of Māui and the waka.
Te Ika-a-Māui and the waka are historic reminders of the heroic deeds of Māui that formed both the North and South Islands of Aotearoa – New Zealand. This story is only one of many versions passed down from generation to generation depicting the creation of this unique paradise called home by many.
Te ika a Māui me te waka.
Ka noho Te Ika a Māui me te waka hei whakamaharatanga i ā Māui mahi tuahangata kia puta mai ko ngā moutere e rua e mōhiotia nei ko Aotearoa. Ko te korero nei tētehi o roto mai i ngā kōrero huhua e tuku iho ana hei whakaatu i te orokohanganga o tēnei whenua taurikura hei kāinga mō te tini tāngata.

Miniature Sheet and First Day Cover.
The miniature sheet and the first-day cover both feature the full set of six stamps illustrating the story of Māui’s epic feat.

 Miniature Sheet showing all six stamps.

 Official First Day Cover - 6 June 2018.

Presentation Pack.
Many versions of this story exist as it has been traditionally passed from generation to generation. The Presentation Pack presented this story with words by Louis Armstrong, Cultural Education Lead for the iwi of Raukawa in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa. Read and learn more about this special piece of New Zealand mythology.

Set Configurations - Collector Items.
Set of six Plate Blocks.                                                                       Set of six Value Blocks.

Set of six Full Sheets.

Other Stamps and Post Telling this Story.

$1.00 - A carved meeting house panel depicting Maui, his fish hook and Cape Kidnappers are shown on the stamp.

45c - Maui pulling Te Ika-a-Māui from the depths of the ocean.

I also added this story and these two stamps to my post on Kupe, telling how this "Legendary Explorer" left his homeland of Hawaiki aboard his waka, Matawhaorua, and travelled in search of the fish of his ancestor, Te-Ika-a-Mäui.

Technical information.

Date of issue: 6 June 2018.
Number of stamps: Six self-adhesive stamps.
Denominations: $1.20 x3, $2.40, $3.00, $3.60.
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: David Hakaria, Wellington, New Zealand.
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd, Dunedin, New Zealand by lithography.
The number of colours: Four process colours.
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical).
Miniature sheet size and format: 150mm x 90 (horizontal).
Paper Type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper.
The number of stamps per sheet: 25.
Perforation gauge: 13.33 x 13.6.
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 5 June 2019. First-day covers will remain on sale until 5 August 2018.

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

Information & images for this post came from.

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