Expo stamps draw on cultural similarities

30 April 2010

The cultural similarities between New Zealand and China are reflected in a New Zealand Post commemorative stamp issue released today, marking New Zealand's presence at the largest World Expo in history, Expo 2010 Shanghai China, opening on Saturday 1 May.

The expo offers an international environment that allows New Zealand to present its nature, culture, innovation and technology, and gives New Zealand businesses an opportunity to develop and build international relationships in China.

"I'm delighted that New Zealand Post is supporting our endeavours in Shanghai through these stamps," said Ambassador Phillip Gibson, New Zealand Commissioner-General for the expo. "This release will really help raise awareness of an event that has huge significance for New Zealand."

Ivor Masters, New Zealand Post's General Manager Stamps, said each of the five stamps is double the size of a standard stamp, to accommodate two images - one New Zealand, the other Chinese - together reflecting significant cultural similarities between the two countries. The design concept also complements the expo's theme "Better City, Better Life" and draws on various features, from the New Zealand pavilion.

The 50 cent stamp features pohutukawa and peony flowers. The peony bloom is a motif often used in Chinese art. Both blossoms are red, a colour of significance in Chinese and Maori cultures.

The Maori kaitiaki and China's fu dog, on the $1.00 stamp, have similar roles as guardians and protectors.

A carving of Tane, the Maori god of the forests, which will greet visitors as they enter the New Zealand pavilion at the expo, is on the $1.80 stamp, with Pan Gu, the central figure in one of China's creation myths.

Auckland and Shanghai, respectively the largest cities in New Zealand and China, are on the $2.30 stamp, while the $2.80 denomination carries images of the Maori heitiki and Chinese cong carved from jade (pounamu), a stone of significance in both cultures. The original carvings are on loan to the New Zealand expo pavilion from the Otago Museum and the Shanghai Museum respectively.

The stamp range will be complemented by a souvenir envelope available from 1 May to coincide with the expo opening.

These stamps will also be available at the New Zealand pavilion, for the 70 million visitors expected to attend Expo 2010 Shanghai China.

The Expo 2010 Shanghai China stamp issue includes five stamps, a miniature sheet, first day cover and a unique souvenir envelope. These products are available for purchase at all New Zealand PostShop stores, REAL Aotearoa stores in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, the Wanganui Collectables and Solutions Centre and online at www.nzpost.co.nz/stamps from 30 April 2010 (excluding the souvenir envelope which will be issued on 1 May 2010). The stamp products will also be available for sale at the New Zealand pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai China.