The World of Playing Cards Logo
Published April 05, 2023 Updated April 05, 2023

Seven Seas Maori Playing Cards

A Gift from New Zealand

1980 New Zealand United Empire Box Company Advertising Ethnic & Indigenous Maori Tattoo Add to Collection

I recently obtained this unusual pack of playing cards with court cards depicting Maori people with decorative clothing and traditional tattoos on the faces. The cards are printed in black and red, and interestingly the court cards are simulating the English pattern in the way the courts are facing and where the objects are placed. The reverse has a Maori design in blue.
After doing some research it looks like the cards were printed by the United Empire Box Company (UEB) who operated in New Zealand from the mid 1960's until 1989. The ace of spades is the same one they used often together with black and red English pattern court cards. The suit signs and index type are also the same as used by UEB.

I have not been able to find any references for this deck of cards, so it was possibly especially designed and printed for the Seven Seas company which is an International Shipping company with offices in Auckland, New Zealand, although I cannot find a match for the logo on the box.
The pack consists of 52 cards plus 1 fierce looking Maori joker and 2 blank cards in a slightly unusual flip top box. I estimate it to have been made in the late 1970's or early 1980's.
If a reader has any more information about these cards I would love to hear about it.


Below: the front and side of the box.

All cards shown are from the collection of Paul Symons ©

avatar
70 Articles

By Paul Symons

Member since February 01, 2016

I'm British but I have now lived in the Netherlands for more than 50 years and am still enjoying every minute of it. I started collecting playing cards in the early 1980’s after speaking with my neighbour who was at that time a croupier in a casino. I started with just collecting jokers, but that soon led me to complete packs of cards and eventually to specialising in old and antique playing cards, particularly those of C.L. Wüst of Frankfurt, Germany. I am presently the Dutch representative of the I.P.C.S. and the auctioneer at the IPCS conventions.


Related Articles

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

Woodblock and Stencil Jack of Hearts

A limited edition art print of the Jack of Hearts 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

Woodblock and Stencil Queen of Clubs

A limited edition art print of the Queen of Clubs 1984 woodblock joker.

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

Woodblock and Stencil Joker

A limited edition art print of the 1984 woodblock joker.

1965 ČZ playing cards

ČZ playing cards

Advertising pack for the Czechoslovak motorcycle factory Česká Zbrojovka.

1987 Bischofszell

Bischofszell

Advertising pack for the food producer Bischofszell, designed by Heinz Looser-Brenner, with non-stan...

1975 Scheffmacher

Scheffmacher

Advertising pack for Scheffmacher, master painters in Schaffhausen, with comic designs by Fritz Bünz...

1968 Knoll International

Knoll International

Geometric designs by the French artist Jean Garçon for Knoll International, the furniture company.

1980 SEMP playing cards

SEMP playing cards

Modified Anglo-American courts advertising a French medical publishing company.

2017 Campari playing cards

Campari playing cards

Publicity pack for Campari, designed for the Portuguese or Brazilian market.

1986 Hôtels-Grils Campanile

Hôtels-Grils Campanile

Publicity pack for the Campanile hotel and restaurant chain featuring French provincial costumes, wi...

Mohegan Sun playing cards

Mohegan Sun playing cards

Mohegan Sun playing cards published by Gemaco for Mohegan Sun casino.

Brooks dna playing cards

Brooks dna playing cards

Brooks dna playing cards produced by Gemaco for Brooks running shoes.

1820 Heathen Wars

Heathen Wars

German-suited ‘Heathen War’ playing cards published by Joseph Fetscher, Munich, c.1820.

Golf playing cards

Golf playing cards

Golf playing cards published by Marks & Spencer, UK.

2007 Shrek the Third playing cards

Shrek the Third playing cards

Characters from the 2007 film Shrek the Third, a DreamWorks Animation production.

1983 Jeu de cartes Armelle

Jeu de cartes Armelle

Advertising pack designed by James Hodges for a company specialising in regional cakes and biscuits....

1970 Louis De Poortere

Louis De Poortere

Psychedelic designs promoting Louis De Poortere, a company selling carpets and rugs.

2019 Murphy Varnish pack

Murphy Varnish pack

Reproduction of the 1883 Murphy Varnish transformation pack, USA, 2019

2019 Pendleton playing cards

Pendleton playing cards

Pendleton playing cards inspired by indigenous American artwork, USA, 2019.

2010 Specsavers playing cards

Specsavers playing cards

to help you see better when playing cards

2004 On-line offsite data backup

On-line offsite data backup

On-line offsite data backup publicity playing cards produced by The Bunker, United Kingdom, c. 2004....

1968 Möbel-Spiel

Möbel-Spiel

Publicity pack for the East German furniture industry, with designs by Werner-Hans Schlegel.

1986 Clamcleats playing cards

Clamcleats playing cards

Clamcleats playing cards for sailors designed by Celia Allison, New Zealand, 1986.

Pretty Frills

Pretty Frills

‘Pretty Frills’ playing cards promoting curtain and blind accessories.

2015 Malam playing cards

Malam playing cards

Malam playing cards created by Michael Muldoon, USA, 2015.

1971 Gibert Jeune

Gibert Jeune

Publicity pack for Gibert Jeune, the famous Parisian bookshop, with designs by James Hodges.

1990 The Saab 900 Convertible playing cards

The Saab 900 Convertible playing cards

A flicker pack with different backs, advertising the Saab 900 Convertible motor car.

1933 De La Rue 1932-1933 Sample Book of Advertising cards

De La Rue 1932-1933 Sample Book of Advertising cards

Complete contents of a sample book of advertising cards by De La Rue

1820 Costumes des Peuples Étrangers

Costumes des Peuples Étrangers

Costumes des Peuples Étrangers & Jeu d’Or dedicated to young people and likely used for games and fo...

2010 Bicycle Tattoo

Bicycle Tattoo

Bicycle Tattoo, USA, 2010

1981 Burgdorf Abschreckhärtetechnik

Burgdorf Abschreckhärtetechnik

Promotional pack for a German steel hardening business, with designs by Costante Costantini.

1967 Glico Almond Chocolate

Glico Almond Chocolate

Glico Almond Chocolate playing cards with designs by Izumi Tamai, produced by Nintendo, Japan.

1995 Race Card

Race Card

‘Race Card’ playing cards published by the Concept Card Co., New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

2015 Hawaiian playing cards

Hawaiian playing cards

Hawaiian playing cards in the style of classic Hawaiian wood carvings, USA, 2015.

What can we learn from mini-booklet advertisements?

What can we learn from mini-booklet advertisements?

Over the years I have collected a large number of mini-booklets and pocket guides offering rules and...

2014 Bicycle Tattoo Golden Edition

Bicycle Tattoo Golden Edition

Bicycle Tattoo Golden Edition created by Phoenix Playing Cards of Toronto, Canada, 2014.

1860 South American Costumes

South American Costumes

Costumes of people of Brazil, Peru and Mexico, with views of Rio de Janeiro on the aces.

1880 Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers

Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers

Delightful pack advertising Joseph Bardou & Fils cigarette papers for the Philippines.

1961 Neiman Marcus playing cards

Neiman Marcus playing cards

Cowboys and American Indians on a pack for Neiman Marcus, the Dallas department store.

1985 Wolfgang Dorn Werbe

Wolfgang Dorn Werbe

Designs by Jürgen Pankarz for the 20th anniversary of the Wolfgang Dorn advertising agency, Cologne....

1970 Cartavi

Cartavi

Promotional pack for AVI paints, with 54 different colours on the backs.

1970 La Rayonnante

La Rayonnante

Publicity pack for a French cleaning business, with suit-signs given smiling faces.

1980 Seven Seas Maori Playing Cards

Seven Seas Maori Playing Cards

A Gift from New Zealand