50th Anniversary of NZSO

Before the National Orchestra, several cities had amateur orchestras but there had been only two previous professional symphony orchestras, both of which had hoped to become national orchestras. 

Issue information

The 1906 New Zealand International Exhibition Orchestra had been formed in Christchurch and the National Broadcasting Service String Orchestra was created in December 1939, later forming the nucleus of the 1940 Centennial Symphony Orchestra for the country's centennial celebrations. This too was intended to be retained as a full-time national symphony orchestra but was disbanded due to World War II. The dream was delayed but not forgotten, and after hostilities ended a full time national symphony orchestra was established.

The early concerts were billed as "events of national importance" as they were in a country starved of live professional orchestral music. Today, 50 years later, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is the country's leading performing arts organisation and is recognised as an orchestra of international standard. Ninety players give more than 100 concerts a year. It is Wellington-based but performs regularly throughout the country.

Product Listing for 50th Anniversary of NZSO 

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 40c 'Violin' gummed stamp.

The background musical score is from a piece written by New Zealand composer Gareth Farr to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the orchestra.

$0.40
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'French Horn' gummed stamp.

The background musical score is from a piece written by New Zealand composer Gareth Farr to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the orchestra.

$0.80
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $1.45

Technical information

Date of issue: 10 July 1996
Designer: Martin Bailey, Auckland, New Zealand
Printer: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand
Stamp size: 50mm x 30mm
Sheet size: 20 stamps per sheet
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 12
Paper type: Harrison and Sons, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 10 July 1997.