New Zealand Post stamps today
There’s no doubt that stamps reflect the full diversity of our lives and achievements as a nation. From landscapes and plants to birdlife, natural wonders, sport, the arts, industry, architecture, famous figures and significant events, New Zealand Post stamps reflect and celebrate some of our greatest triumphs.
- Definitive stamps
- Commemorative stamps
- Annual stamp releases
- Personalised stamps
Overseas stamp issues
Definitive stamps are most commonly used on mail and are issued specifically for everyday postage. Definitive stamps can remain on sale for many years, and often feature stunning photographs of New Zealand scenery.
Commemorative stamps are issued to mark an important event, a special person, an achievement or an anniversary. Some recent commemorative stamp issues are '100 Years of Surf Life Saving' and 'Royal Wedding'.
Annual stamp releases are commemorative stamp issues that New Zealand Post produces every year. Some examples of annual stamp releases are:
Health stamps are a distinctive New Zealand issue known by collectors around the world. The first ever Health stamp was issued on 11 December 1929 and featured the slogan ‘Help Stamp out Tuberculosis’.
At the suggestion of the Health Department, it was decided that the Health stamps would carry a surcharge of 1d, which would be donated to the Children’s Health Camps. These camps were started in Whanganui in 1919 to provide holiday health care for children with nutritional and minor physical problems.
Today, Health stamps still contribute to the seven Children’s Health Camps around New Zealand, which aim to help children and families with complex needs to build healthy and happy lives.
For the Maori people, the night skies in June/July traditionally have huge significance: they herald the dawn of a new Maori year. The annual appearance of the seven stars of ‘Matariki’ (or the Pleiades constellation) signals a time for renewal, reflection and celebration!
Matariki is a time of new beginnings. It was in this spirit that New Zealand Post chose Matariki, 5 June 2008, to launch the first in a series of annual stamp issues, exploring different aspects of Maori culture and heritage.
The first issue focused on Matariki itself through six key concepts, and was unveiled on Rongomaraeroa, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The latest Matariki stamp issue focused on 'Manu tukutuku' - traditional Maori kites.
Named after New Zealand’s jurisdiction in Antarctica, the first stamps inscribed ‘Ross Dependency’ were issued on 4 January 1957 in New Zealand and on 11 January 1957 at Ross Dependency, to coincide with the historic Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The initial set of ‘Ross Dependency’ stamps consisted of four stamps: 3d, 4d, 8d and 1s 6d.
When the Scott Base post office was closed in 1987 as part of the rationalisation of New Zealand Post, mail was subsequently handled in Christchurch, and the issuing of ‘Ross Dependency’ stamps ceased. However, New Zealand Post restarted issuing stamps solely inscribed for ‘Ross Dependency’ in 1994, owing to local and international demand.
While the denominations of ‘Ross Dependency’ stamps match those of contemporary New Zealand stamps, they are not valid on New Zealand mail. Mail from the Ross Dependency is processed by the ‘Ross Dependency Agency’, located at a post office in Christchurch and cancelled with the inscription ‘Ross Dependency Agency, Christchurch’.
Chinese Lunar New Year
New Zealand Post aims to reflect modern New Zealand’s ethnic diversity with its celebration of perhaps the most elaborate and colourful of Chinese festivals, the Chinese New Year. This stamp series was first launched on 15 January 1997 with the Year of the Ox and is now in its second 12-year cycle of this famed lunar calendar.
In 2011 we celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, which brings with it a much welcome blend of pace, reflection and peace. The Year of the Rabbit stamp issue features a vibrant range of stamp products that pay tribute to the co-existence of the Chinese and New Zealand cultures.
Game Bird Habitat Collection
New Zealand Post’s annual Game Bird Habitat Collection is produced on behalf of Fish & Game New Zealand, which was started in 1993 to collect funds for habitat protection. With a value of $10, the release is actually a ‘cinderella’ rather than a stamp because it’s not valid for postage.
Each season, the stamp depicts a different game bird in its natural New Zealand habitat. It is affixed to all annual hunting licences to validate the licences, and $2 from the purchase of every stamp goes directly to this programme. New Zealand Post also issues a limited edition print of the artwork, first day covers and a miniature sheet.
The first New Zealand ‘Christmas’ stamp was issued on 1 November 1960, featuring the painting ‘Nativity’ by the Dutch artist Rembrandt, and ‘Christmas’ stamps have been an annual release ever since.
Produced primarily for use on Christmas cards, the ‘Christmas’ stamp issue is usually issued in October to ensure it meets the international postage cut-off dates.
Personalised stamps are a great way to share your news and memories with friends and family and can even provide a unique memento for your scrap book. Combine a photograph of your choice with one of fun stamp designs and add a truly personal touch to your mail. From weddings to new arrivals and Christmas to birthdays, you will find a stamp to celebrate and commemorate your treasured moments and special events.
New Zealand Post also sells stamps on behalf of other countries, including Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Pitcairn Island, Malta, the United Nations and Hong Kong. We also produce and sell stamps on behalf of one of our closest pacific neighbours - Niue.