The Christmases of my youth were quite similar to what you might see in holiday movies — snowy days outside engaging in sledding or snowball fights, warm evenings inside next to the fireplace sipping cider, bell-ringers at the mall, caroling on front porches, and so much more. It’s a lot different in warmer parts of the world — it’s downright hot on Christmas Day in Thailand and yet I still must dress in a Santa suit to bring Good Cheer to predominantly non-Christian children. They only know the holiday from the FUN aspect of receiving gifts and eating lots of sweet treats.
As an old hand now at southern Christmases, I was not confused by New Zealand Post’s introduction to their 2022 Christmas issue:
“Synonymous with fun summer activities, a break from work or school, and looking back on the past year, Christmas is celebrated throughout New Zealand.”
Their description of the set of five gummed stamps, miniature sheet of five and three self-adhesive booklet stamps continues:
“The Christmas stamps for 2022 offer a colourful and distinctively New Zealand aesthetic alongside traditional symbols of the Christian festival.
“Each year on 25 December families around New Zealand enjoy a day off together to share food, gifts and a range of religious, cultural and personal Christmas traditions. The Christmas stamps for 2022 reflect the unique aspects of a New Zealand Christmas with native flora and fauna and traditional Christmas symbols.
“Christmas-red kākābeak flowers, candle-like toetoe and raupō, bauble-like poroporo berries, decorative mānuka flowers and iconic kōwhai blooms adorn soothing stamps with a comfortingly nostalgic colour palette. Among the Christmas symbols you’ll find a star, a candle, a bell, a dove-like kererū and a decorative fantail/pīwakawaka.”
The set was issued on October 5; already, some of the 33 different products available for purchase are listed as “temporarily out of stock.” All items were designed by Donna McKenna of Wellington, New Zealand, and printed by Southern Colour Print, Napier, New Zealand using four-color lithography with metallic silver. The gummed stamps measure 30mm x 40mm vertically and come in sheets of 20 stamps for each design while the self-adhesive stamps were issued in booklets of 10 stamps each design and measure 25mm x 30mm. Further technical details appear following the stamp and cover images (three of the latter are available).
NZ$1.70 ‘Christmas star and kākābeak’ gummed stamp.
“Christmas-red kākābeak flowers, which hang from the tree’s branches in decorative clusters, surround a shining star. The Christmas story speaks of a bright star that led three wise men to the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem.”
NZ$3.00 ‘Christmas candle, toetoe and raupō’ gummed stamp.
“Many cultural and religious festivals place importance on candles and symbols of light. Here the Christmas candle represents the light of the star of Bethlehem. The candle is surrounded by native toetoe and raupō, both candle-like in appearance.”
NZ$3.80 ‘Pīwakawaka and poroporo’ gummed stamp.
“Bright and festive decorations are an important part of Christmas celebrations. Here a pīwakawaka’s decorative fan tail sits among bright orange, bauble-like poroporo berries and ornamental purple flowers.”
NZ$4.30 ‘Christmas bell and mānuka blooms’ gummed stamp.
“Symbolising joy and harmony, the Christmas bell is connected to the tradition of church bells. The bell is surrounded by mānuka blossoms, which symbolise health, prosperity and nurturing new life.“
NZ$4.50 ‘Kererū and kōwhai’ gummed stamp.
“The dove-like New Zealand pigeon carries a kōwhai branch adorned with gold kōwhai flowers, symbolic of peace.”
NZ$1.70 ‘Christmas star and kākābeak’ self-adhesive stamp.
NZ$3.00 ‘Christmas candle, toetoe and raupō’ self-adhesive stamp.
NZ$3.80 ‘Pīwakawaka and poroporo’ self-adhesive stamp.
First Day Covers
Christmas Card Set
“Donna McKenna’s gorgeous designs have been channeled into a set of five Christmas cards. The cards are blank inside and envelopes are included.”
|Date of Issue:||5 October 2022|
|Number of Stamps:||Five gummed stamps; three self-adhesive|
|Denominations:||Gummed: $1.70, $3.00, $3.80, $4.30 & $4.50; Self-adhesive $1.70, $3.00 & $3.80 (booklets of 10 stamps)|
|Stamps and First Day Covers Designed by:||Donna McKenna, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer and Process:||Southern Colour Print, Napier, New Zealand by lithography|
|Number of Colors:||Four process colours plus metallic silver|
|Stamp Size and Format:||Gummed: 30mm x 40mm (vertical); Self-adhesive: 25mm 30mm (vertical)|
|Miniature Sheet Size and Format:||160mmx 90mm (vertical)|
|Paper Type:||Gummed: tullis russell red phosphor paper 106gsm; Self-adhesive: arconvert securpost MC 90/Cprint100 P11p|
|Number of Stamps per Sheet:||20|
|Perforation Gauge:||Gummed: 14; Self-adhesive: kiss cut|
|Special Blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least five stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks are available in A and B formats.|
|Period of Sale:||Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 4 October 2023. First day covers will remain on sale until 2 December 2022.|