50 Years of NZ-Samoa Friendship Celebrated

26 July 2012

Each of the stamps features a contemporary view of selu tuiga or ‘head comb’ - a traditional Samoan headdress that is worn at important occasions – and captures elements of Samoa’s unique culture including traditional arts, heritage, architecture and agriculture.

  The five stamp designs featuring selu tuiga and other symbolic motifs

Michel Tuffery’s inspiration for the designs came from researching the history of the relationship between New Zealand and Samoa.

“The designs are the result of extensive research into the relationship between Samoa and New Zealand. This subject is close to my heart and I grabbed the opportunity to be involved when approached by New Zealand Post,” says Michel Tuffery.

“My research into colonial architecture was a major influence on the designs. I spoke with historians overseas and with help from Te Papa I looked through the photos, objects and texts exchanged between the two countries over the years.”

The strong architectural influence can be seen in three of the stamps. The 70c stamp features the original Samoa Fale Fono, or Parliament House, alongside the Beehive. The 110 year-old Maota Fa’amasino, or Court House building, which is one of the oldest buildings in Samoa, is featured on the $1.90 stamp. The $2.90 stamp pays tribute to the Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral, which was demolished after the 2009 earthquake and tsunami.

“To me, the combs and the architecture are deeply connected. They’re also a metaphor for the artistic process of ‘combing’ through the history,” Michel Tuffery added.

The other stamps feature a niu, or coconut tree, an important source of food, shelter and raw materials for thousands of years, and tatau, or traditional Samoan tattoo, with patterns taken from nature.

The 50 years of friendship: New Zealand and Samoa engraved legal tender commemorative coin is designed in the shape of a Pua (frangipani flower) and features tatau which are a symbol of strength in Samoan culture. The 1oz pure silver coin is housed within a crystal glass stand that reflects the architecture of the traditional ‘ava bowl. Only 1,000 coins will be produced in a limited edition run.

  The 50 Years of Friendship limited edition commemorative coin

Simon Allison, Sales and Marketing Manager of Stamps for New Zealand Post says, “Michel Tuffery has produced stunning, intricate designs which pay tribute to the close historic and modern-day ties between New Zealand and Samoa. We’re very proud to be involved in marking this important anniversary in our history.”

Michel Tuffery is a multi-disciplinary artist of Samoan, Rarotongan and Tahitian descent. He is a leading voice in contemporary Pacific art in New Zealand and his work is exhibited regularly around the globe.

The 50 Years of Friendship stamps and coin will be on sale from 1 August. The coin is available through selected PostShops and from REAL Aotearoa stores in Auckland and Wellington. The stamps are available through all PostShops, REAL Aotearoa, online at www.nzpost.co.nz/stamps or 0800 692 646.

Note: New Zealand Post is authorised by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as the only official issuer of legal tender New Zealand commemorative coins.

For more information, interviews and images contact:
Jaimee Burke, Media & Community Relations Advisor, New Zealand Post on 0277055092.