Military Uniforms

For more than 140 years, New Zealand's armed services have played a vital role in defending and protecting both our own and others' shores.

Issue information

And just as history has meant a continually changing military landscape, so too our uniforms have evolved.

This stamp issue illustrates 20 of the uniforms worn by New Zealand's army, air force and navy personnel in combat and peacekeeping operations - and in countries ranging from South Africa to those of Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. The stamps also include distinctive uniform details as well as the service medals relevant for each period - a fascinating glimpse of the heroes of our nation.

Forest Rangers Officer 1860s
Insets: 'Pillbox' cap and a silver FR (Forest Rangers) cap badge.
Medal: New Zealand Medal 1860-66.

'Lieutenant Commanding', Napier Naval Artillery Volunteer 1890s
This officer is also a member of the Royal Naval Reserve.
Insets: Royal Naval Reserve Cap and Officer's button,
Medal: New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal.

Amuri Mounted Rifles Officer, 2nd Regiment North Canterbury Mounted Rifles 1900-1910
Insets: Black cloth helmet puggaree, with a gold 2nd Regiment North Canterbury Mounted Rifles helmet plate, and a cross belt plate of the North Canterbury Mounted Rifles.
Medal: New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal.

Trooper 5th New Zealand South African Contingent 1899-1902
Insets: Brass NZMR (New Zealand Mounted Rifles) shoulder titles, and the silver plate with the Royal Cypher in the centre which was part of a horses bridle.
Medal: Queen's South Africa Medal.

Staff Officer of the NZ Division 1918
Insets: New Zealand Signal Corps (NZ Engineers) cap badge and a blue armlet with a silver fern worn by staff officers with Brigade HQ NZ Division.
Medal: Victory Medal.

Petty Officer 1914-18
Insets: Petty Officer rank insignia, with chevrons that indicate 8 years good conduct (top). Torpedoman badge (bottom) Medal: Victory Medal.

Rifleman of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (NZRB) 1916-18
Insets: Brass NZRB shoulder titles, and soldier with the rank of corporal manning a trench.
Medal: Victory Medal.

New Zealand Engineers (NZE) Sergeant, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) 1939-45
Insets: NZE grenade collar badge, and 2 NZEF brass 'Onward' cap badge
Medal: New Zealand War Service Medal.

Matron Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Hospital, 1940s
Insets: Lieutenant Commander rank straps, with red tips to indicate the wearer is a member of the medical branch.
Unofficial hand embroidered anchor, from front corners of cape, to indicate naval association.
Medal: New Zealand War Service Medal.

New Zealand Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) 1942
Inset: Green and black embroidered "Onward: badge, and a NZFC (New Zealand Forces Club, Cairo)
Medal: New Zealand War Service Medal.

RNZAF Bomber Pilot attached to Bomber Command (Royal Air Force), 1943
Insets: Escape compass (concealed in a button), RNZAF Pilot's badge
Medal: New Zealand War Service Medal.

Fighter Pilot, No 1 (Islands) Group RNZAF, Command Air South Pacific (COMAIRSOPAC) 1943
Insets: RNZAF Tropical Flying Helmet with oxygen mask, 14 Squadron badge
Medal: New Zealand War Service Medal.

Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) Driver, New Zealand, 1943
Insets: WAAF Beret, Hat badge
Medal: New Zealand War Service Medal.

Gunner 16th Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA), Korea 1950-53
Inset: RNZA brass cap badge, and a New Zealand Commonwealth arm brassard.
Medal: Korea Medal.

Acting Petty Officer, HMNZS Tamaki 1957
Insets: Trousers creased in particular fashion to facilitate easy stowage in a kit ocker. Standard Navy cap.
Medal: Korea Medal.

New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) scouts Malaya 1955-57
Inset: Jungle green hat
Medal: General Service Medal 1918-1962 with clasp "Malaya"

RNZAF Canberra Pilot in the Far East Air Force (Royal Air Force), Malayan Emergency 1960
Insets: 75 Squadron badge, Protective Helmet with oxygen mask
Medal: General Service Medal 1918 - 1962 with clasp "Malaya"

Infantryman, Victor Company, 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, South Vietnam 1960s
Inset: Jungle green hat
Medal: Vietnam Medal.

Infantryman, New Zealand Battalion, United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) 2000
Inset: UN shoulder brassard, and UN base ball cap
Medal: New Zealand East Timor Medal.

New Zealand member of Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) Bougainville, 2001
Inset: PMG white dove badge, and yellow sun hat.
Medal: New Zealand General Service Medal (Peacekeeping Operations)

On the reverse of each stamp is a brief description of the uniform and the medal depicted. This is only the third occasion that New Zealand Post has produced this special feature in recent times.

Miniature Sheets
Four miniature sheets, incorporating stamps from this issue were produced as part of a special miniature sheet booklet.

Technical information

Date of Issue: 2 April 2003
Designers: Ross Jones, Watermark, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand
Stamp Size: 30mm x 40mm
Sheet Size: 20
Process: Lithography
Perforation Gauge: 14
Paper Type: De la Rue 103gsm red phosphor coated litho stamp paper