What we know as the kiwifruit (or just kiwi) today was originally known as the Chinese gooseberry, the edible berry of several species of woody vines in the genus Actinidia. The most common cultivar group of kiwifruit (‘Hayward’) is oval, about the size of a large hen’s egg (2.0-3.1 inches or 5–8 cm in length and 1.8-2.2 inches or 4.5–5.5 cm in diameter). It has a … Continue reading Kiwifruit

Basket Weaving

When I received this particular stamp in a mixture earlier this year, my first thought was of the old idiom about a major in “underwater basket weaving” indicating a decline in academic standards (Wikipedia actually cites a 1956 article in The American Philatelist as a possible origin of the phrase!).  Actually, the process of weaving or sewing pliable materials into two- or three dimensional artefacts, … Continue reading Basket Weaving

The Māori Legend of Rangi and Papa

In Māori mythology, the primal couple Rangi and Papa (or Ranginui and Papatūānuku) appear in a creation myth explaining the origin of the world (though there are many different versions). In some South Island dialects, Rangi is called Raki or Rakinui. The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, originating with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of … Continue reading The Māori Legend of Rangi and Papa

New Zealand and the Māori in World War I

With researching the “town New Zealand saved” earlier this week and yesterday’s Anzac Day commemoration, I became quite interested in New Zealand’s contribution to World War I, specifically the role of the indigenous Māori soldiers in the war. Scott #167 is the only stamp I currently own from the 1920 Victory set so it seems an appropriate subject for today’s “random stamp”. I plan to add … Continue reading New Zealand and the Māori in World War I

Anzac Day, Lest We Forget

April 25 is observed each year as Anzac Day — a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. Anzac Day was originally devised to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army … Continue reading Anzac Day, Lest We Forget

The Town New Zealand Saved

On those days that I choose a random stamp to feature when an event anniversary doesn’t match up with something in my collection, I never know in advance what will catch my eye. One of my few firm criteria for “random stamp days” is that an issue from the United States is NOT featured as the nation is aptly covered with commemorations (although, in time, … Continue reading The Town New Zealand Saved

Tokelau #83 (1982)

Tokelau is an island country and dependent territory of New Zealand in the southern Pacific Ocean. It consists of three tropical coral atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo), with a combined land area of 4.2 square miles (10.8 km²) and a population of approximately 1,500 people. Its capital rotates yearly between the three atolls. Tokelau lies north of the Samoan Islands, Swains Island being the nearest, … Continue reading Tokelau #83 (1982)

Abel Tasman Discovers New Zealand

On December 13, 1642, Dutch seafarer, explorer and merchant Abel Janszoon Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. He was in command of two vessels that belonged to the Dutch East India Company (VOC) which had dispatched Tasman to look for the fabled Southern Continent in August 1642. Eventually, he sailed across the sea which now bears his name and arrived off the … Continue reading Abel Tasman Discovers New Zealand