A significant moment in the history of New Zealand. During the Empire period they shipped many millions of tons of sheep meat to the mother country. Even today, with Great Britain unhappily ensconced in the EU, the old country receives 50,000 tonnes of delicious NZ wooly p.a. However, China now receives nearly 70,000 tonnes p.a. with consumption growing rapidly. There are 1.3 billion Chinese. For the first time ever New Zealand's sheep (population a mere 30 million) are threatened with extinction.
Two stamps from the same centennial series. It's easy to tell who the explorer is. He's neatly dressed, wears a tricorne hat and carries a neatly rolled map. The captain knows where he's going. The Maori were obviously not exploring, they were just adrift.
Mr Wurundjeri returns from walkabout to discover somebody has built Flinders Street Station on his land.
A classic colonial set. Engraved and intaglio-printed scenes of a Crown Colony in 1953. The recently-crowned queen watches over her subjects as they work hard producing commodities for the metropole. My personal favourite is the two shillings and sixpence. It's the prawns. I also like the 1d stamp with its magnificent Bornu horsemen. The date stamp tells us it was franked in Kano on 10 September 1960. Three weeks later Nigeria became independent and this stamp was history. Its replacement can be seen below.
Tasman's expedition made contact with the Maori of South Island in 1642. The Maori knew an invader when they saw one and sent out their war canoes. They killed four Dutch sailors, Maori casualties from the encounter unknown. Tasman called the place Murderers' Bay (it can be seen on the map to the right). If Maori war canoes had appeared uninvited in the roads of Rotterdam I'm sure the Dutch would have sent out their war canoes. When gold was discovered in the 1850s the site of the first meeting between Europeans and Maori became Golden Bay.
1935. This kiwi doesn't look too happy. Not surprising since many of his relos are dead and he lives under constant threat from European invaders: dogs, cats and stoats.
Palmerston North is where I started life. About the only thing I remember was the time the mattress factory near our apartment on Te Awe Awe Street went up in flames. I had a cracking view from my bedroom window. Note the many Maori place names. Mangatainoka certainly has a ring to it. Bunnythorpe does not. This detail is from a map of North Island published in August 1953 by New Zealand's Lands & Survey Dept. In other words it was being printed at the same time I was being born. It's not looking that young anymore either.
A beautiful illustration but the Maori weapons depicted are innapropriate. The Maori used clubs, and guns when they could get them. It seems Victorian illustrators could not imagine a native without a spear. The author, G. A. Henty (1832 - 1902), wrote 122 works of historical fiction, many in the glorious-Empire mode. The heroes are often two English pals who enjoy adventures in the colonies. There is always plenty of fighting to be done, be it on the Gangetic Plain, along the Nile or in the New Zealand bush. Jingoistic and racist primers for English schoolboys. The books are no longer in print but Henty's notions of white supremacy are with us still. UK, 1891.
"Mr. Atherton keeps the mouth of the defile." Defiles were often a problem for European colonisers. Natives the world over had the sneaky habit of setting ambushes in them. The Incas did it, the Apaches did it, while the Afghans were the acknowledged masters of the mountain-pass massacre. Just ask the British, the Russians and the Americans, they will tell you. From Maori and Settler, A Tale of the New Zealand War, G A Henty, UK, 1891.
Otters. I like otters.
Spain, 1962 issue.
Czechoslavak newspaper stamp, 1920. Design by Alphonse Mucha. This 5h value stamp apparently holds the title for the most-printed stamp ever: 3.6 billion. That's a lot of newspapers.
From a long-lost encyclopaedia. Detail of a mandril. Published in London, 1821. The illustrator's name is given as S. Davenport.
Detail from a 1943 British War Office aero map of southern Spain and Portugal.
A Wampanoag chief. From Indians of America, USA, 1935. This little picture book describes 74 Indian tribes from Apaches to Zuni. The tone is sympathetic and respectful - the indigenes have been conquered, now they can be admired. The Wampanoag fought the English settlers in 1675 in what was called King Philip's War. King Philip was the English name of Metacom, chief of the Wampanoag. The colonists were decimated in a conflict that saw them experience proportionally the worst losses ever in all the North American colonial wars. The Wampanoag lost worse of course and Metacom died at the hand of a native ally of the English. In the time-honoured tradition the war is ascribed to the natives who had been rude enough to react violently to the depredations of the settlers. Thus we have Zulu Wars, Indian Wars, Maori Wars and so on. Colonisers don't start wars, natives start wars. This tradition is still with us today.
The 1d stamp from the October 1, 1960, independence issue. Even with the Warhol treatment the stamp is not a patch on its predecessor. Gone are the magnificent horsemen. Gone too the beautiful engraving and elaborate design, replaced by photogravure and a stock image. In other words, the British had lost interest. To be fair, the British were a bit skint in the 1950s. They could no longer afford the luxury of ruling far-away peoples.