This issue commemorated the New Zealand International Exhibition of Arts
and Industries which was held in North Hagley Park, Christchurch, between
November 1906 and April 1907. It was the first set with large stamps to be
designed, engraved and printed entirely within New Zealand.
also the first commemorative stamp set issued in New Zealand. The stamps
were only on sale for the duration of the exhibition and could only be
bought from the post office at the exhibition. One third of the revenue
from stamp sale went to the organisers.
The Exhibition was government subsidised and no expense was
spared. Large wooden buildings were constructed solely for the exhibition
and were dismantled afterwards. The show was a huge success with close to
two million people attending - roughly twice the population of New Zealand
at that time.
The halfpenny green stamp depicts the arrival in
Aotearoa of the Arawa canoe. Te Arawa is a confederation of Maori iwi and
hapu (tribes and sub-tribes). The history of the Te Arawa people is
inextricably linked to the Arawa canoe. In Maori tradition, Arawa was one
of the great ocean-going, voyaging canoes that was used in the migrations
that settled New Zealand. It was formed from a great tree in
The one penny red stamp shows the prow of a Maori canoe
being carved inside a Marae by a group of Maori craftsmen.
colour three penny stamp stamp depicts the landing of Captain Cook on his
first voyage to New Zealand at Poverty Bay on the east coast of the North
Island on the 7th of October 1769. This first meeting led to the deaths of
six local Maori during skirmishes with the crew, due to a misinterpretation
of the traditional Maori challenge. Cook was unable to gain many of the
provisions he and his crew needed at the bay, and for this reason gave it
The dual colour six penny stamp depicts the annexation of
New Zealand on the 30th of January 1840. Governor Hobson read his
Proclamations which were the beginnings of the Treaty of Waitangi in the
presence of a number of settlers and the Maori chief, Moka
'Kainga-mataa'. A document confirming what had happened was signed
at this time by around forty witnesses; including Moka, the only Maori
There is considerable
controversy over the one penny claret stamp. The exhibition organisers
were not happy with the claret colour and ordered that the stamps be
reprinted in a brighter red at their expense. The original stamps were
destroyed except for one sheet which went to the Postmaster-General, one
to exhibition organisers and 14 which were retained by the Post and
Telegraph department. According to legend, one sheet got mixed up with the
new stamps and was sold over the counter at the Post Office. Of course, the
stamp is only of value to collectors if it was actually available for sale
across the counter for postage. The Post Office accounts however do not
record any sales of the claret stamp and while there are several mint
copies of the stamp in circulation, the only used copies appear to have
been cancelled five days after the exhibition post office had closed.
Indeed, three of the stamps are on a cover addressed to the secretary of
the exhibition committee.