Statement NZ Post on 3 August 2022
We’re writing to notify you that the stamp issue titled ‘Māori Language Petition’ will not be issued on 3 August 2022 as previously announced.
This decision has been made following additional feedback from key stakeholders that was received after products were printed. While extensive consultation took place in the development of the designs, some expectations were not met and as a result the stamps cannot be issued in their current form or on the planned date.
We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment caused by this decision. The 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori Language Petition is an important commemoration for New Zealand, and we hope to acknowledge it at a future date.
For most of the 20th century, New Zealand‘s governments discouraged and banned people from speaking openly in the Māori language (te reo Māori). Then 50 years ago, te reo champions calling for it to be taught in schools presented the Māori Language Petition to Parliament. The petition carried the signatures of more than 30,000 New Zealanders.
In 1972, 14 September became Māori Language Day, an occasion that eventually expanded to what we know today as Māori Language Week. The peaceful protest also led to the successful te reo Māori claim (WAI 11) to the Waitangi Tribunal and the enactment of the Māori Language Act 1987. The Act recognised te reo as an official language of our country and created the Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori).
As well as marking 50 years since the presentation of the Māori language petition to Parliament, there are several other significant milestones for te reo Māori in 2022. It will be 35 years since te reo became an official language and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) began, 50 years since the launch of Māori performing arts festival Matatini and 40 years since the launch of kōhanga reo, an early childhood Māori language education and care service. In 2022 we will also see Matariki Day, the first public holiday to acknowledge te ao Māori, which the Māori Language Commission began lobbying for more than 20 years ago. Matariki celebrates the first rising of the Pleiades star cluster and marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar.
The 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori Language Petition at Parliament is led by Te Whare o te Reo Mauriora with Te Mātāwai guiding iwi and Māori initiatives and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) leading government initiatives.
Date of issue: 3 August 2022