The links between New Zealand and Samoa not only stem from the fact that they are close Pacific neighbours, but are also due to the large number of New Zealanders of Samoan descent living in New Zealand.
Samoans make up around 50 per cent of New Zealand’s Pacific Island population and the arts and culture of Samoa have become a distinctive voice in New Zealand society.
Each of the five stamps features a contemporary view of a selu tuiga – a head comb that takes the shape of a traditional tuiga. A tuiga is a Samoan headdress that is worn at important events by the m?naia (son) or the taupou (daughter) of the high chief of the village.
The tuiga is a unique symbol of the chiefly nature of Samoan society, and a significant number of tuiga were worn when Samoa gained independence.
70c – Fu’a
Fu’a is the Samoan word for flag and the fu’a of independence flies in front of the original Samoan Maota Fono or Parliament House. This Maota Fono was built in the shape of a circular Samoan meeting house. Chiefs and orators have discussed issues in a circular manner since time immemorial – making the form of the circle a traditional and sacred symbol.
The coconut tree or niu is a very important tree for sustenance. For thousands of years, the lives of the Samoan people depended on this tree of life. It provided food, milk and oil as well as shelter, baskets and other woven artefacts used by Samoans in their everyday lives.
$1.90 – Maota
The Maota Fa’amasino or the Courthouse building is 110 years old, and one of the oldest buildings in the city of Apia. The building was built by the Germans in 1902 and has seen two foreign administrations (Germany and New Zealand) occupy it, before Samoans took over after gaining independence from New Zealand.
$2.40 – Tatau
Traditional Samoan tatau (tattoo) motifs and patterns are taken from nature. There are the tul? (godwit) bird, the centipede, the trochus shell and the ‘aso, the rafters of a fale on to which thatches are lashed, and a number of other shapes including a va’a (twohulled canoe) that sits at the top on the back of a male tatau.
Malumalu o le Atua means ‘church building’ and the Catholic Church’s Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral at Mulivai was a symbol of spiritual sustenance that graced the shoreline of Apia Harbour. Sadly, the Cathedral was demolished after 127 years, when the 8.1-magnitude earthquake of September 2009 shook it to an irreparable state.
Title: 50 Years of Friendship New Zealand and Samoa
Date of Issue: 1 August 2012
Country: New Zealand
Denominations: 70c, $1.40, $1.90, $2.40 and $2.90