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NZ Post urges Kiwis to paint the mail black

1 June 2005

New Zealand Post urges Kiwis to paint the mail black

Rugby rivals Kate Thirkell and her husband Greig Thirkell face off at the mail box while posting their support for their teams. The couple were in Wellington today to launch the innovative jersey-shaped stamps celebrating the DHL Lions Series.

Fans of both the All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions will be able to show their true colours when sending letters home and abroad, with the launch this week of another innovative New Zealand Post stamps series.

To commemorate the much-anticipated DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2005, New Zealand Post have produced a stamp issue featuring two of the most powerful symbols in world rugby today - the jerseys of the mighty All Blacks and the fearsome Lions.

New Zealand Post General Manager Stamps Ivor Masters said that it was an honour for New Zealand Post to produce stamps in the image of the All Black jersey, which has been a symbol of national pride since it was first adopted in 1893.

"With 20,000 Lions fans due to descend on our country we need to ensure that black remains the dominant colour both on and off the pitch. We hope New Zealanders everywhere will get behind our team by sending the All Blacks jersey far and wide. "

NZRU Spokesperson Nigel Cass said that the Rugby Union was delighted to see such an important tour commemorated in the stamp issue. He urged All Blacks fans to put all their weight behind the team by painting the mail black.

"Fans should never underestimate how much their support helps players on the field. We encourage all New Zealanders to make as much noise as they can - and that means through the post as well as in the stands."

The Barmy Army, famous for their ability to fill foreign stadiums with carefully crafted 'Songs of Praise', will be able to make their own postal noise by branding postcards and letters home with stamps in the image of the Lions distinctive red jersey.

"There will no doubt be tension at the mailbox in the next seven weeks as the two camps wrestle for postal dominance," said Mr Masters. "The Lions have a dedicated and loyal group of supporters, and Kiwis can expect some tough postcard and letter competition up front, but it is a tournament of seven weeks and I believe at the end of the day the All Blacks jersey will command our postal channels."

In addition to the stamps series, New Zealand Post has produced a programme of three legal tender commemorative coins, in association with The Royal British Mint. This exciting coins series features a design by artist Michael Guilfoyle, which depicts a running rugby player against an outline of New Zealand and the Lion's Crest.

As with tickets to the games themselves, the coins are in short supply. The issue consists of a 22-carat gold coin with a mintage of 1000, a sterling silver coin with a mintage of 5000 and a nickel-brass coin with a mintage of 50,000.

The DHL New Zealand Lions Series stamps are available in denominations of 45-cents and $1.50. The stamps and first day cover were designed by Saatchi & Saatchi and printed by Southern Colour Print. Both the stamps series and the commemorative coin programme are available from all New Zealand Post retail outlets, the Stamps Centre in Wanganui and from the New Zealand Post stamps web site www.stamps.co.nz. from 1 June 2005.

ENDS

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