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New Zealand Token

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New Zealand Token
New Zealand Token

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Registered: August 2005
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 2,362
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The first coin I posted from New Zealand just had to be this gorgeous Tradesmen's Token of Milner & Thompson. The depictions of Maori tribesmen is just spectacular! In all probability this portrait is of Māori rangatira (chief) Tamati Waka Nene of the Ngāpuhi iwi (tribe) (1785 - 1871 CE). The company was in Christchurch and issued a number of designs, this one being the best. Other tokens state they were "Sole Agents for Brinsmead Pianos" (anyone see the movie "The Piano"). These tokens were manufactured during a shortage of official coinage from 1857 to 1881. This company must have broken the practice because their tokens seem to have all been struck in 1881.
Some additional information: Copper One Penny Token, minted by Stokes & Martin, Melbourne. Issued by Milner & Thompson, Canterbury Music Depot, Christchurch, 1881. Milner & Thompson's Music store, the Canterbury Music Depot, was opened in 1874 by Robert Thompson, some time soon afterwards he took John Milner into partnership and they worked together for 21 years. When Milner retired Thompson continued in the business until he passed it to his sons in 1907. The business was bought by Charles Begg and Co. in 1920, and was still a going concern in 1950. Milner & Thompson were the last issuers of tokens in New Zealand.

Obverse: Maori warrior, or probably a chief, standing on an island in front of a palm tree. He holds a large square shield on the ground with his right hand and a weapon in his left. The shield is quartered with plants in each sector, a kiwi emerges walking left from behind the shield. In the sea behind the prow of a war canoe can be seen to the left of the kiwi and a mountainous island is seen in the background. Around, NEW ZEALAND
Reverse: Bust a Maori warrior facing three-quarters right with tattooed face, wearing a feather headdress and holding a spear in his right hand and shield; around, ADVANCE NEW ZEALAND.

The Polynesians had no form of written language so tattooing was used to express individuality, genealogy, life history, achievements, social status and rank. Ta moko is the Maori customary form of a tattooing tradition that extends back thousands of years, and it is still an extremely visible component of contemporary New Zealand culture. Ta moko is related to the tatu of Eastern Polynesia and the tatau of Samoa (settled around 200 CE). Both words mean “to mark”.
Maori used a number of traditional designs and many of them are still in use today. The most recognisable is perhaps the koru (or loop) design, along with the hei tiki (or tiki). The koru represents the spiral shape of an unfurling New Zealand fern frond and stands for new life, renewal and hope for the future as exemplified in this Maori proverb:
"Ka hinga atu he tete-kura - ka hara-mai he tete-kura"
(As one fern frond dies - one is born to take its place.)
Each koru in a tattoo signifies a loved one and loving relationships. The tail design of Air New Zealand aircraft displays the koru and you can see the koru in the facial moko below. [JM: Also in this fascinating token of New Zealand.] See a painting of a Maori man with koru tatoo at this: [ link ] [excerpt from "Ancient History Encyclopedia", article by Kim Martins]
· Date: November 19, 2011 · Views: 7,680 · Filesize: 33.2kb, 90.5kb · Dimensions: 890 x 447 ·
Keywords: New Zealand token
Denomination: N/A - denominated by weight (Penny)
Reference #: KM# Tn52; Lampard 334
Date/Mintmark: N/A - 1881
Condition: AU - some red
Weight: 12.1 gm
Metal: copper


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