75th Anniversary of the Navy

2016 marked 75 years of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), and we celebrated with a commemorative stamp issue that reflects the essential role that the RNZN plays.

Issue information

As the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force, the RNZN is committed to defending New Zealand’s interests at sea and making a difference at home and abroad.

On 1 October 1941, His Majesty King George VI approved the designation ‘Royal New Zealand Navy’, creating the independent maritime force that is the RNZN today. Since then, many thousands have served with the Navy, playing a crucial role in contributing towards the prosperity and security of New Zealand.

The issue consisted of six large gummed stamps - each represented a different aspect of the Navy’s history or role today: The loss of HMS Neptune, Conflict in Korea, Women at sea, Supporting the United Nations, Disaster relief in Christchurch and The Navy family.

The stamp design featureed a brass scuttle that was recovered from the wreck of the Moa, sunk by Japanese bombers in 1943. The scuttle framed the images on the stamps, which were coated with spot UV, to replicate the effect of looking through glass.

A miniature sheet and two first day covers were also available. The first day cover featured a photo of HMNZS Endeavour I at McMurdo Sound in January 1957, and an Inshore Patrol Vessel was the focus of the miniature sheet.

For the complete collectables, you could order the presentation pack and the limited edition. The presentation pack contained the set of six stamps, the miniature sheet and the first day cover. It had been written by Michael Wynd, Researcher at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy, and told the story of the Navy’s past 75 years.

The limited edition was limited to 2,000 copies and contained exclusive stamp products not available anywhere else. 

Product Listing for 75th Anniversary of the Navy

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'The loss of HMS Neptune' gummed stamp.

On 19 December 1941 the cruiser HMS Neptune was lost in an enemy minefield off the North African coast. 757 officers and ratings lost their lives, with Able Seaman John Norman Walton being the sole survivor. Amongst those lost were 150 New Zealanders who had joined the ship in preparation for its transfer to the RNZN, including the 19-year-old twins Bruce and William Anderson of Kohimarama, featured on this stamp. The sinking of Neptune led to the greatest loss of life ever suffered by the RNZN in a single action or incident.

$1.00
Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Conflict in Korea' gummed stamp.

During the Korean War six RNZN frigates, HMNZS Rotoiti, Pukaki (pictured on this stamp), Hawea, Taupo, Kaniere and Tutira, were deployed to the UN naval forces operating off Korea. Two frigates were kept on station at all times. From shore bombardments to escort work, the frigates helped the land forces and secured the seas. Approximately 1,350 officers and ratings served and in their eight tours of duty the New Zealand ships steamed a total of 339,584 miles and fired 71,625 rounds of ammunition in action. The deployment ran from July 1950 to March 1954.

$1.00
Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'Women at sea' gummed stamp.

In order to free men from shore-based tasks, women first entered the RNZN in 1942 with the formation of the WRNZNS. The Wrens made a critical contribution in the fields of signalling and intelligence, and were also employed as drivers, boat crews and watchkeepers at headquarters ashore. 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of women first being posted to a seagoing ship, HMNZS Monowai. By the mid-1990s women were serving alongside men at sea in all our ships. Today women make up 22 per cent of naval personnel, can serve in any trade and are critical to the ongoing success of the Navy.

$1.80
Single Stamp

Single $2.20 'Supporting the United Nations' gummed stamp.

Since the 1960s the RNZN has supported the UN by sending ships and personnel on peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations. Our ships assisted in East Timor in 1999 and our frigates, HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana (featured on this stamp during her 2004 deployment), have operated with multinational naval forces in the Indian Ocean region, conducting counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and anti-piracy operations. Te Kaha conducted a successful maritime security patrol in 2015, intercepting several drug smugglers and seizing more than 260 kilograms of heroin.

$2.20
Single Stamp

Single $2.70 'Disaster relief in Christchurch' gummed stamp.

The RNZN plays a significant role in humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and responded swiftly to the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. When the February 2011 earthquake struck, HMNZS Canterbury, Otago and Pukaki immediately rendered assistance, providing emergency food and shelter. Canterbury later carried emergency supplies to Lyttelton, while HMNZS Resolution carried out hydrographic survey operations in Akaroa and Lyttelton Harbours. Canterbury has also undertaken relief operations throughout the Pacific following natural disasters.

$2.70
Single Stamp

Single $3.30 'The Navy family' gummed stamp.

People come from all over New Zealand to serve in the RNZN, and the Navy’s core values of Courage, Commitment and Comradeship are instilled in recruits from the first day of service. Comradeship demands that members of the RNZN work together as an effective team, as they serve at the naval base and abroad for long periods of time. Their families who remain at home form an important part of the Navy’s wider whānau; without their ongoing support the Navy wouldn’t be able to advance New Zealand’s interests at sea.

$3.30
Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $12.00
First Day Cover First day cover with six gummed stamps affixed. $12.50
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $12.50
Presentation Pack

The presentation pack contained the set of six stamps, the miniature sheet and the first day cover. It has been written by Michael Wynd, Researcher at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy, and tells the story of the Navy's past 75 years.

Still available to purchase. Click here.

$29.90
Limited Edition

A limited edition was also included in this issue, which was limited to 2,000 copies. It included a 20-page booklet detailing the history of the RNZN. Inside you also found a uniquely designed first day cover signed by Rear Admiral John Martin, ONZM, Chief of Navy; a unique, numbered miniature sheet incorporating the six stamps; colour separations of the $3.30 stamp and a block of the six stamps.

Still available to purchase. Click here.

$135.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 5 October 2016
Number of stamps: Six gummed
Denominations: $1.00 (x2), $1.80, $2.20, $2.70, $3.30
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Helcia Knap, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours: CMYK + spot UV and metallic
Stamp size and format: 50mm x 32.86mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14.4 x 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: Unless stocks were exhausted earlier, these stamps remained on sale until 4 October 2017. First day covers remained on sale until 4 December 2016.