Well earned ‘stamp’ of approval for an adopted kiwi classic

9 August 2011

It’s been an unofficial Kiwi anthem for 44 years – but only now has it received official recognition as a true Kiwi icon.

“Ten Guitars” - originally released as a B-side for Engelbert Humperdinck in 1967 - quickly struck a chord with New Zealand listeners. Ignored elsewhere in the world, it spread like wildfire in New Zealand, with local renditions quickly adopting a distinctive ‘Māori strum’.

Ever since it has, arguably, been the most frequently performed song at kiwi parties, barbecues, pubs and clubs and even in the halls of Parliament. It’s been re-recorded dozens of times, and was name-checked in the lyrics of kiwi musical icon Don McGlashan. There’s even a Facebook petition for “Ten Guitars” to be the New Zealand national anthem.

But only today, after four decades of service, has “Ten Guitars” earned the official stamp of approval - by being chosen to feature in a series of New Zealand Post stamps about kiwi icons and distinctive aspects of New Zealand’s culture and history.

The 60 cent “Ten Guitars” stamp features in a new set of Kiwiana stamps, which take people on a numerical journey from 1 to 21 in a quintessentially ‘kiwi’ way.

Sales and Marketing Manager of the New Zealand Post Stamps Business Simon Allison says the ‘Counting in Kiwi’ stamp issue celebrates a diverse range of things which have become woven into the fabric of what it means to be a kiwi. Traditional kiwi icons are featured in the issue - like number 8 wire, and the 4 stars of the Southern Cross, as well as the Bluff oyster, the jandal and the humble lamington.

“When kiwis look at these stamps they’ll immediately think ‘I’ve done that’, ‘I remember that’ or ‘that’s something I must get round to’,” Simon Allison said. “And for international audiences these stamps record some of the things which make kiwi culture unique and vibrant’.

The stamps are available as a sheet, and as part of a first day cover set. A free poster featuring the iconic stamps is available with both the stamp sheet and first day cover set. Visit www.nzpost.co.nz/stamps for details or to order online. The Counting in Kiwi stamp issue can also be purchased from New Zealand PostShop stores, REAL Aotearoa stores and the Whanganui Collectables and Solutions Centre. The stamps will be available from 10 August.