Putting its stamp on history

TOURS OF DUTY:  New Zealand Post’s special stamp issue ANZAC 2013 – New Zealanders Serving Abroad highlights six overseas operations – Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Solomon Islands, Antarctica, Korea and Timor Leste.
TOURS OF DUTY: New Zealand Post’s special stamp issue ANZAC 2013 – New Zealanders Serving Abroad highlights six overseas operations – Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Solomon Islands, Antarctica, Korea and Timor Leste.

The postal service has played a major role in the development of New Zealand, both in communication and observing key events in the country's history.

New Zealand's first stamps were issued in July 1855, just 15 years after the Penny

Black was first stuck to an envelope in Britain. Posties were delivering the mail by the end of the 1860s, and the Post Office Savings Bank was established.

In 1881 the Telegraph and Post operations merged, bringing New Zealand into the electric communications era and linking up the country internally and internationally.

Commemorative stamps have long been a feature of the philatelic landscape, covering topics like coronations, centenaries, health camps and the scaling of mountains.

War stamps were first off the block back in 1900 when a special issue marked the Boer War.

Since then, many of the conflicts, wars and peacekeeping missions in which New

Zealand has been involved have appeared on New Zealand stamps in special sets and first-day covers.

In 1915 following the outbreak of World War I, the Post Office issued a special

overprinted halfpenny stamp aimed at increasing awareness of, and contributions to, the war effort.

When the Armistice was signed, a special set of "Victory" stamps was printed. The 21st anniversary of the Gallipoli landings was commemorated by

a series of Anzac stamps, sold at twice the face value as a fundraising initiative for returned service people.

And the end of the World War II prompted the release of a range of stamps called the "Peace" series.

The Post Office didn't just supply stamps for the war effort, its workers too played their part.

During the Gallipoli campaign and beyond, military post offices dealt with

a ceaseless flow of mail to and from the front. In World War II, Post and Telegraph workers were stationed in the Pacific as observers - some making the ultimate sacrifice.

Since then, New Zealanders have been serving continually in peace-support

operations around the world, as a part of its role in being a good international citizen.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War, where New

Zealanders served in a peacekeeping role following the end of hostilities. Since then the Defence Force has been active in many overseas locations, from Bosnia and Afghanistan to the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, and many others in-between, as well as providing ongoing support to Antarctica during its summer season.

New Zealand Post says the duties these dedicated men and women do are crucial to the work of the New Zealand Defence Force, and they are honoured in New Zealand Post's special stamp issue: ANZAC 2013 - New Zealanders Serving Abroad.

The stamps highlight six overseas operations - Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina,

Antarctica, Solomon Islands, Korea and Timor Leste - and come in a booklet along with information about each operation.

Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says he and all members of the Defence Force are delighted by the publication.

"New Zealand Post's Anzac stamp issue showcases to the public the diverse range of operations we have undertaken in recent times. Stamps can capture the core issues around their topic, and we think these images will resonate with the public.


"These stamps show our people coping with a diverse range of challenges - from

the ice of Antarctica to the tropical terrain of Timor, and the arid and mountainous regions of Afghanistan."

General Jones also said that although Anzac Day was a day on which to remember those who had served in conflicts long past, he hoped the public would also think about those men and women who are serving their country at the moment.

"This stamp issue will help in that cause, not just on Anzac Day itself, but for the time these stamps are used and remain publicly available," he said.

The ANZAC 2013 - New Zealanders Serving Abroad collection is available at

PostShops, online atnzpost.co.nz/stamps, or from the Collectables and Solutions

Centre, New Zealand Post Ltd, Private Bag 3001, Whanganui 4540, New Zealand.

A first day cover featuring the iconic poppy is also available.