In 1993 Tongariro National Park became the first property to be inscribed on the World Heritage List under the revised criteria describing cultural landscapes. The mountains at the heart of the park have cultural and religious significance for the Maori people and symbolize the spiritual links between this community and its environment. The park has active and extinct volcanoes, a diverse range of ecosystems and some spectacular landscapes. The park includes many towns around its boundary, and has in the centre the active volcanic mountains Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro.
Mount Ruapehu is one of the world's most active volcanoes and the largest active volcano in New Zealand. It is also the highest point in the North Island and includes three major peaks: Tahurangi (2,797m), Te Heuheu (2,755m) and Paretetaitonga (2,751m). In addition, the North Island's major skifields and only glaciers are on its slopes.
Ruapehu began erupting at least 250,000 years ago, and in recorded history major eruptions have been about 50 years apart, in 1895, 1945 and 1995-1996. Minor eruptions are frequent, with at least 60 since 1945. Between major eruptions, a warm acidic crater lake forms, fed by melting snow. Major eruptions may completely expel the lake water.
About the stamps
The wonderful stamp is part of the series Matariki 2013, issued on July 5, 2013 to celebrates the koru - a pattern symbolising new life and regeneration. When the star cluster known as Matariki appears in the night sky it signals the Maori New Year and a time of new beginnings. The message of new beginnings is represented in the koru pattern, which is derived from an unfurling silver fern frond. Each of the six stamps in this issue incorporates the koru pattern along with aspects of traditional Maori culture:
• Piko - the piko is blooming and will grow into a rauponga (fern leaf). The artwork surrounding the fern represents the domain of TaneMahuta - the God of the Forest. (0.70 NZD)
• Manu Tukutuku - the koru pattern symbolises the winds of Tawhirimatea (the God of the Weather), and soaring on those winds is a kite, or a messenger between Heaven and Earth. In the background the sunrise depicts the first day of Matariki, and the sky - the domain of Tawhirimatea. (0.70 NZD)
• Nguru - the pattern that covers the nguru (flute) is made from a series of koru shapes that depict the music making pleasing shapes in the silence. In the background is the face of Hine Raukatauri, the Goddess of Flute Music, who loved her nguru so much that she decided to live in it forever. (1.40 NZD)
• Pataka - the pataka (storehouse) is covered in koru, and represents the concept of planting and storing kai (food), the gathering of kai, and nourishment and wellbeing. This is the domain of Rongo-ma-Tane, the God of Kumara and Cultivated Food. (1.90 NZD) - it's on this postcard
• Kotiate: the mangopare design seen swirling around the kotiate (club) is a traditional Maori interpretation of a hammerhead shark, featuring symmetrical koru as the distinctive head. It symbolises strength, determination and an unwillingness to yield. (2.40 NZD)
• Patiki - The patiki (flounder) design, with its swirling koru inside the shape of the patiki, is used in many carvings - particularly in pataka and waka (canoes). It is the symbol of hospitality, and can represent the catching of fish from the domain of Tangaroa, the God of the Ocean. (2.90 NZD)
Tongariro National Park - Wikipedia
Tongariro National Park - UNESCO official website
Mount Ruapehu - Wikipedia
Matariki 2013 - International Stamp News
sender: Joanne / smokinjo (postcrossing)
sent from Te Awamutu (North Island / New Zealand), on 29.07.2013
photo: Jo Miller