World Stamps

New Zealand honors Year of the Horse, Chinese connections

Dec 20, 2013, 3 AM

New Zealand will celebrate the Year of the Horse with four stamps to be issued Jan. 8.

The stamps continue a series that highlights the successful coexistence of the Chinese and New Zealand cultures.

The series began with the Year of the Ox in 2009 (Scott 2223-2225a), followed by stamps for the Year of the Tiger in 2010 (2288-2291a), the Year of the Rabbit in 2011 (2346-2349a) and the Year of the Snake in 2012 (2441-2444a).

Each of these stamp sets, as well as the new Year of the Horse stamps, feature Chinese folk arts and views of New Zealand.

For example, the $2.40 Year of the Horse stamp pictures the Rotorua Museum of Art and History. The museum is located in a formal geothermal spa, called the Bath House, that opened in 1908.

The stamp’s design also includes a red Chinese paper lantern, fireworks exploding in the sky, and clouds in the lower corners.

According to New Zealand Post, the clouds shown on this and the other three Year of the Horse stamps represent New Zealand as “the land of the long white cloud.”

The $1.90 stamp highlights New Zealand’s reputation for horse breeding, horse racing and horse riding. The design features a line-art illustration of show jumping.

A paper-cut illustration of a horse is shown on the $1.40 stamp.

New Zealand Post says of this traditional Chinese folk art: “In China, paper-cuts are mainly used as home decorations, on everything from walls, windows and doors to mirrors, lamps and lanterns. Chinese people believe that red paper-cuts on the doors of houses can bring good luck and happiness to the families who live there.”

Paper cutting developed some time after the Chinese invention of paper around 105 A.D. Stylized representative drawings called pictograms are even more ancient, dating back thousands of years.

A pictogram of a horse is shown on the 70¢ stamp.

The firm Asiaworks in Auckland, New Zealand, designed the stamps. Cartor of Meauce, France, printed them by offset in sheets of 25.

In addition, a souvenir sheet contains the four stamps se-tenant (side-by-side).

According to New Zealand Post’s new-issue announcement, the Year of the Horse is “expected to bring a blend of optimism, growth, fulfillment, prosperity and positive developments.”

People born during the year are considered to be energetic, intelligent and often have physical strength.

For ordering information, visit the web site of New Zealand Post at; or write to New Zealand Collectables and Solutions Center, Private Bag 3001, Wanganui 4540, New Zealand.

The new-issue agency representing New Zealand Post in the United States is Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557-0420.