A to Z of New Zealand

Here’s your opportunity to take a ‘T is for tiki’ tour through a veritable A to Z of New Zealand culture, history, heritage and downright kiwiana. The A to Z of New Zealand stamp issue was a feel-good look at our past and present; the quirky stamps are of well-loved kiwi icons and sure to have you reminiscing about some good ole days.

Issue information

Of course there are 26 stamps, one for each letter of the alphabet, and each showing something uniquely New Zealand. Where else would an ‘L’ stand for ‘log o wood’ – referring of course to the hotly contested provincial rugby Ranfurly Shield; or ‘G’ for ‘goodnight kiwi’ the lovable little chap who’s bedtime ritual used to signal the night’s end to TV viewing.

B is for Beehive – this stamp is designed to reflect a postal Cancellation Stamp, for those who don’t know this was designed by British architect Sir Basil Spence and shows the Beehive, our distinctive and award-winning house of parliament.

D is for Dog – there could be no other dog on a New Zealand ‘D is for Dog’ stamp than Wal’s faithful friend from the Footrot Flats cartoon strip. Footrot Flats, showcasing elements and antics of our rural community, still graces some of our newspapers today. And, we still don’t know the dog’s name… 

P is for Pinetree – Colin ‘Pinetree’ Meads – a colossal of a man, epitomises what New Zealand rugby stands for: passion, grit and darn hard yacker. The stamp shows Colin Meads in King Country colours, the union he played for at representative level for many years. 

S is for Southern Cross –  another New Zealand icon in its own right, yet the stamp takes this a step further by showing how it is possible to identify due south by looking at the star constellation.

V is for Vote – is a timely reminder about election year with the big red tick of the ballot paper. Subtely, the stamp also pays homage to one of our greatest campaigners, Kate Sheppherd, the figurehead of the suffragette movement in New Zealand; remember we were the first to give women the vote in 1893.

W is for Weta – and if you look closely it’s not a real weta on the stamp! W is for Weta celebrates not only one of our indigenous and adorable (it’s not all about looks) insects but also the hugely successful Weta Workshops that created many of the special effects for Peter Jackson’s famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as the weta on this stamp.

Z is for Zeeland – lastly the Zeeland stamp fittingly finishes the series.  Note the spelling of Zeeland with two e’s. New Zealand was discovered by Able Tasman (a Dutchman) who named the country after the island Zeeland off the coast of the Netherlands.

A little bit cheeky and just plain old-fashioned fun, with 26 stamps to a sheet, you’ll be hard pressed to pick a favourite.

Technical information

Date of issue: 6 August 2008
Number of stamps: 26 gummed stamps
Denominations and designs: 26 designs, one denomination (50c)
Stamps, and first day cover designed by:  Clemenger BBDO, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours:  Four process colours plus one special colour (silver)
Stamp size and format: Gummed: 30mm x 35mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 26
Perforation gauge: 14.25