1916 Courage & Commitment - 100 years on

8 March 2016

New Zealand Post tells the story of Cook Islander Soloman Isaacs who served with the New Zealand Tunnelling Company in its latest series of stamps commemorating the First World War. 

‘1916 Courage and Commitment’ is the third instalment of a five-year WW1 stamp and coin programme. The 2014 stamps featured West Coast solider Melville Mirfin, and the 2015 stamps told the story of decorated war nurse Evelyn Brooke. 

The ten commemorative stamps to be released on 6 April 2016 look at the effects of war both at home and abroad, including the work of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company on the Arras Tunnels and the start of military conscription in New Zealand in August 1916.  

“The reality of the war set in at Gallipoli, and by 1916, few New Zealanders had been left unscathed,” said Simon Allison, Head of Stamps and Coins at New Zealand Post. “Unfortunately Gallipoli was only the beginning of our darkest period of the war.”

“As the conflict shifted to the Western Front, the predecessor to New Zealand Post - Post and Telegraph -  played a key role in delivering wartime communications both home and abroad, and was the bearer of sad news for many. 100 years on, New Zealand Post is paying tribute to those who served and to those who lost their lives in the First World War.”

“The soldier featured in this year’s stamp issue is Solomon Isaacs who showed incredible courage and commitment hundreds of miles away from home,” says Simon Allison.  “He was just one of the many Pacific Islanders who left their families and homes to serve in the First World War.”

Solomon Isaacs was born in Tautu on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands and worked in Auckland as a labourer just before the war. His service took him from the Western Front to the Arras tunnels as he battled illness, danger and uncertainty while fighting for his adopted country and for the British Empire. His story is told in a special commemorative booklet, which contains further information about the war as well as 12 unique miniature stamp sheets. 

The stamps and coins were designed by Strategy Design and Advertising, Wellington. The stamp issue includes a sheetlet of 10 gummed stamps, a set of two miniature sheets, a stamp first day cover, a set of two miniature sheet first day covers and the commemorative booklet. The coin issue includes a 1oz silver proof coin, a ¼oz gold proof coin and the third coin in the five-year silver proof coin set. 

The issue is available for purchase from 6 April 2016 at all New Zealand PostShops. Pre-orders are availablenow through the Whanganui Collectables and Solutions Centre or online at nzpost.co.nz/ww1

For more information:

Libby Greatnews
Copywriting and Direct Marketing Specialist
Stamps and Coins
New Zealand Post
Tel: +64 4 496 4916
Email: libby.greatbatch@nzpost.co.nz