1931 Airmail

The history of aviation in New Zealand dates from some time between 1900 and 1904 when Richard Pearce, of the Waitohi Valley near Timaru, built and flew a high-wing monoplane, but it was not until March 1914 that a lengthy flight was successfully accomplished from Timaru to Christchurch.

Issue information

In 1918 the question of utilising aircraft for the conveyance of mail in New Zealand was considered and an Air Board was set up to assist the Postal Department and trial flights were approved. The first official airmail flight was conducted between Auckland and Dargaville in December 1919.

The successful crossing of the Tasman Sea by Charles Kingsford Smith and C T P Ulm in the 'Southern Cross' heralded the first airmail service between Australia and New Zealand,  a small bag of mail was carried on the plane - the stamps on which were cancelled with the Christchurch postmark dated 11 September 1928.

As a result of deliberations at the Universal Postal Union Convention, held at London in 1929, an international agreement was drawn up, and came into force on 1 July 1930. In accordance with this agreement, arrangements were made to accept correspondence posted in New Zealand for conveyance by air services in Australia, Canada, the United States of America and by the Karachi-London service.

Acknowledgments

New Zealand Post would like to acknowledge the following for their assistance and guidance in bringing together this stamp issue:

Historical information included on this page sourced from The Postage Stamps of New Zealand published by the Royal Philatelic Society of NZ. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link: https://www.rpsnz.org.nz/

Product Listing for 1931 Airmail

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 3d 'Chocolate' gummed stamp.

The perforation gauge on this stamp was 14 x 14.5, however some were 14 x 15.

3d
Single Stamp Single 4d 'Chocolate' gummed stamp. 4d
Single Stamp Single 7d 'Purple' gummed stamp. 7d

Technical information

Date of issue: 10 November 1931
Designers: L C Mitchell, Wellington
Printers: Government Printing Office, New Zealand
Stamp size: 40mm x 24mm
Sheet size: 120 stamps per sheet
Process: Surface printed - Typography
Perforation gauge: 14 x 14.5; Some 3d stamps : 14 x 15
Paper type: Cowan chalk surfaced, NZ and star watermark
Period of sale: These stamps were withdrawn from sale on the 31 October 1935.