Year of the Rat stamps from New Zealand

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New Zealand Post have issued four special stamps to mark the Chinese New Year, celebrated on 25 January, which will be the Year of the Rat.

The four stamps in the series, which are available as a miniature sheet, celebrate the following aspects of Chinese culture:

$1.30 Calligraphy – the art of writing Chinese characters with a brush. 

$2.60 Paper-cutting – a type of folk art that has been part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. Paper-cutting art is known to be very intricate, with clever use of negative space. While used mostly for decorative purposes, paper-cutting is a common art form for Chinese New Year decorations.

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$3.30 The Rat – The ship rat is the most commonly found rat in New Zealand, having stowed aboard the vessels of early European settlers. Common on New Zealand’s main islands, the rat poses a threat to native species who are vulnerable to this imported predator. 

$4.00 Sky Tower – The Chinese New Year celebration is one of Auckland’s event highlights. The Sky Tower is a landmark of Auckland city and is represented in the $4 stamp. The bright red light on the Sky Tower represents the Chinese New Year and Auckland’s multicultural community and diversity.

The miniature sheet and first day covers feature Chinese symbols for each of the animals in the lunar calendar - the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig in blue and gold, the colours of the rat.

Technical information

Date of issue: 4 December 2019
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Denominations: $1.30, $2.60, $3.30, $4.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Asiaworks, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer: Australia Post
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 30mm x 40mm (vertical)
Paper type:  104g Tullis Russell Red-Phosphor, OBA Free, PVA Gummed Paper
Number of stamps per sheet:  25
Perforation gauge: 13.33 x 13