World Stamps

New Zealand Christmas stamps covered in symbolism

Oct 11, 2023, 11 AM
New Zealand issued four Christmas stamps Oct. 4. The designs feature gifts, each with colored metallic wrapping paper, tags shaped in classic Christmas images, bows and small branches of local flora.

By Molly Goad

New Zealand Post’s four 2023 Christmas stamps issued Oct. 4 contain elegantly wrapped gifts.

The stamp images include colored metallic paper as a nod to the offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh the three wise men brought to Jesus. Each gift is adorned with a tendril of native flora to represent the unique Christmas experiences of New Zealand. The tag on each box refers to a different detail of the Christmas story.

The metallic wrapping paper on the $2 stamp, which pays the rate for a medium-sized letter sent within New Zealand, is in an earthy rose gold tone to symbolize the gift of myrrh.

“Alongside a star-shaped gift tag, the white, star-like flowers of the clematis highlight a beautiful example of local flora and evoke the stars that guided the Three Wise Men,” New Zealand Post said.

The next stamp in the set is a $3.30 denomination to cover postage for a medium letter sent to Australia. The tree-shaped gift tag represents the affection locals have for Christmas trees, and the sprig of red flora is from one of the country’s pohutukawa trees.

Also known as New Zealand Christmas tree and iron tree, a pohutukawa produces a vibrant collection of red blooms each year around Christmastime.

A gold-wrapped gift is shown on the $4 stamp that pays the postage for a large letter sent to Australia. The gift tag is shaped like a dove, and silver fern fronds adorn the package. The symbols of a dove, fern and white ribbon were chosen to represent peace.

The final stamp in the series is denominated $4.60, the rate for an oversized letter sent within New Zealand. The purple metallic paper represents Jesus, as it is the color associated with royalty and Advent, the four-week period leading up to Christmas. Additionally, two small purple hebe flowers and an angel-shaped gift tag decorate the present.

The Christmas 2023 suite of products includes a mint set of four gummed stamps, a souvenir sheet with the four stamps se-tenant (side-by-side), sheets of 20 gummed stamps (one for each design), first-day covers and $2, $3.30 and $4 self-adhesive booklets of 10.

The set was designed by Helen Perkins and Nick Jarvie of New Zealand Post and printed by Brebner Print of Napier, New Zealand.

The stamps can be purchased from New Zealand Post.

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