The A to Z of New Zealand

Here was 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 were of well-loved kiwi icons and were sure to have you reminiscing about some good ole days.

Issue information

Of course there were 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.

Read on for a snapshot of the stamps that were on offer:

  • B is for Beehive – this stamp was 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 showed 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 took this a step further by showing how it is possible to identify due south by looking at the star constellation.
  • V is for Vote – was a timely reminder about election year with the big red tick of the ballot paper. Subtly, the stamp also paid 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 looked closely it’s not a real weta on the stamp! W is for Weta celebrated 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 finished the series, note the spelling of Zeeland with two e’s. Able Tasman (a Dutchman) sailed past the South Island in 1642 and then sailed onto what was to become known as Golden Bay, D'urville Island and Northland. It is from this voyage that the Dutch East India Company conferred the name New Zealand on 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 were hard pressed to pick a favourite.

The A to Z of New Zealand

Take the full 'T is for tiki’ tour through our veritable A to Z of New Zealand culture, history, heritage and downright kiwiana:

  • A is for Aotearoa
  • B is for Beehive
  • C is for Cook
  • D is for Dog
  • E is for Edmonds
  • F is for Fantail
  • G is for Goodnight Kiwi
  • H is for Haka
  • I is for Interislander
  • J is for Jelly Tip
  • K is for Kia Ora
  • L is for Log o’ wood
  • M is for Mudpools
  • N is for Nuclear Free
  • O is for O.E.
  • P is for Pinetree
  • Q is for Quake
  • R is for Rutherford
  • S is for Southern Cross
  • T is for Tiki
  • U is for Upham
  • V is for Vote
  • W is for Weta
  • X is for x-treme sports
  • Y is for Yarn
  • Z is for Zeeland

Three First Day Covers

When you know that ‘Y is for Yarn’ you were well on your way to appreciating The A to Z of New Zealand stamp issue. Because that’s exactly what you had when you purchased the set of three first day covers – a good yarn.

The stamps were such good talking points and examples of true Kiwiana, covering our heritage, history and landscape, that you wouldn't stop talking about them. And each time you looked, you discovered something new. The first had stamps ‘A is for Aotearoa’ to ‘F is for Fantail’. The second had ‘G is for Goodnight Kiwi’ to ‘P is for Pinetree’. The last had ‘Q is for Quake’ to ‘Z is for Zeeland’. Together, the three first day covers made a set – and, not surprisingly, the set covered each letter of the alphabet.

Free Poster

If you purchased a full sheet of stamps or a set of the first day covers, you also received the poster, with all 26 stamps and a commentary on each, absolutely free. It was A1 sized - that’s eight times a normal piece of paper.

It could also be ordered separately for $5.00.

Product Listing for The A to Z of New Zealand

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Set of Stamps Mint, used or cancelled sheet of 26 x 50c stamps. $13.00
Set of First Day Covers Set of three first day covers with gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $14.50
A1 Poster Print A1 poster featuring artwork from the stamp issue. $5.00

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: 30mm x 35mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 26
Perforation gauge: 14.25
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 5 August 2009.