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Matariki 2010 – Manu Tukutuku

New Zealand post proudly mark the occasion with a unique stamp collection focused on manu tukutuku (traditional Maori kites). Authentic emblems of Maori cultural practice, these kites are also rich in cultural significance and an integral part of Maori folklore and rituals. Traditionally manu tukutuku were produced and flown at the time of Matariki.

50c – Manu Aute
Maori made many of their kites in the shape of birds (manu), reflecting their belief that this was how a person’s soul or spirit was made manifest. ‘Manu aute’ was one of the largest birdlike kites, and the one featured on our 50 cent stamp is the oldest of all surviving specimens. Read the presentation pack to find out where you can see it for yourself.

$1.00 – Manu Patiki
New Zealand’s indigenous plants and birds provided Maori with ample materials for making manu tukutuku – from the leaves and bark of aute (paper mulberry), raupo (native bulrush), manuka (tea tree) and kareao (supplejack) to the feathers of pigeons, hawks and other birds. Read more about manu tukutuku and and Matariki celebrations in the Limited Edition.

$1.80 – Manu Taratahi
Only four known specimens of manu taratahi have survived to the present day – one is located at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, two (including the one on the stamp) at the Auckland Museum and one in Honolulu. Named after the single projecting plume at its upper end (taratahi means ‘end point’), this 700-millimetre-wide triangular kite would have been a spectacular sight for young and old.

$2.30 – Upoko Tangata
Maori children would have delighted in the upoko tangata (named after the plant from which its covering was made). Smaller than most other kites and essentially rectangular in shape, it featured two short, wing-like extensions that reduced instability in flight – so it was probably designed especially for the younger generation. The kites depicted on this stamp and on the $1.00 stamp were designed by Veranoa Hetet – applying contemporary materials to traditional designs.

Title: Matariki 2010 – Manu Tukutuku
Date of Issue: 9 June 2010
Country: New Zealand
Denominations: 50c, $1.00, $1.80, $2.30

Source: www.stamps.nzpost.co.nz/

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One comment

  1. “NZ Post must be condemned for their suppressive portrayal of traditional Maori kite arts in their recent 2010 Matariki manu tukutuku stamp issue. The hatchet job is in essence a glorification of the totally inept work by curators from NZ and overseas museums in this field and an example of the continued subjugation of the technological mastery of kite flying which pre-colonial Maori kite artisans possessed. Another great kite flying civilization, China, also started with basic designs made from grasses but who in their right mind would represent the glory of Chinese Kite flying without depicting their magnificent dragon kites? NZ Post have left out the most spiritual of kites which were historically flown during ancient Matariki celebrations – the wairua of an entire hapu would be imbued in the Manu Whara. Where are the massive signal kites, the colourful ‘death’ kites (Take Ohaki) and the fishing kites? This stamp issue in no way portrays the ingenious nature of Maori kite flying and abetting their callousness are poorly researched booklets which imply that their kite photographs depict pre-colonial kites which have been preserved in museum care. They are simply post-contact mock-ups which were quickly made by laymen. One needs only visit Te Papa or the Auckland Museum Maori kite display to see how poorly these arts are represented! Annette Sykes, counsel for the Treaty of Waitangi claim on the ongoing suppressive nature of NZ society towards Maori recreation and sports, now has another example of racist ineptitude to add to her portfolio.


    Harko Brown
    Author, ‘Nga Taonga Takaro: Maori Sports & Games’
    Member, ‘He Manu o Aotearoa’ – International Maori Kite Group

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