Wednesday, 26 November 2014

1993 - Second Heritage Series - Emerging Years 1940s.

Overview of the Complete Series. 

Back to Emerging Years 1930s.         Forward to Emerging Years 1950s.

The 1940s.
          It was a decade of enormous contrast. From the harsh tragedy and shortages of war ... to VJ Day ... to the enormous nationwide party which seemed to continue right through the latter half of the 1940s. The pendulum had swung.
         Those who were around in the 40s - as children, as civilians or in the services - will recall the extremes of war and the celebration of peace. It was a decade which saw New Zealand come of age. Fresh from the hardship of the 1930s depression, then plunged into war, we became a mature society with a developing sense of national identity. It was a turning point, as the 'New Zealander' - a person with national pride and values - began to emerge.
         The two major developments shown on these stamps was Hydro Electricity, delivering clean, green power, and Aerial Topdressing, improving pasture and farming, which was reflected in greater exports. They both had long term effects on that even today continue to deliver benefits for New Zealand. 

45c - New Zealand at War.                                    50c - Aerial Topdressing.

New Zealand at War - 45c.
New Zealand was just getting back to normal after the depression of the 1930s, when war broke out in 1939. Over the next six years, 140,000 New Zealanders - men and women - served overseas in the armed forces. Of these, 11,625 were killed, 15,749 wounded and 8,395 were held as prisoners of war.

Aerial Topdressing - 50c.
1946 saw a turning point in the way New Zealand pastures were fertilised. Following the significant aeronautic developments brought about during the war, a plane was used to successfully apply copper sulphate to vast areas of pasture, from the air.

This was a major breakthrough for our farming industries as farms could increase their production, thereby increasing our exports. Topdressing was only one of many advances that makes New Zealand the leading country in Dairy Farming today.

80c - State Production of Hydro-Electricity.           $1.00 - New Zealand Marching Association.

The State Produces Hydro-Electricity - 80c.
"White coal ... the silent maid ... obeying every wish ..." That is how electricity was explained to housewives using it for the first time in the 1920s. Throughout the 1940s, electricity - with its labour saving convenience - quickly eclipsed gas and coal as a power source. In 1946 the State Hydro-electric Department was established and in 1947 Karapiro - on the Waikato River - was the site of the first hydro-electric power station in New Zealand.
Today we need to thank those men who had the foresight to build the Hydro Power Stations around New Zealand as they have become the back-bone of our green renewable energy programs. Today in 2014, Karapiro Power Station is owned by Mighty River Power and is still  producing electricity as it was designed to do in 1947. 

The New Zealand Marching Association - $1.00.
In 1945 the New Zealand Marching Association was established. As a spin-off from war-time drill, marching became a popular competitive sport amongst thousands of young New Zealand women throughout the 1940s - and well beyond.

$1.50 - American Invasion.                                                $1.80 - Victory. 

The 'American Invasion' - $1.50.
The stationing of American troops in New Zealand in 1942 provided a welcome distraction from the realities of war - particularly for the young women of New Zealand. With them the Americans brought charm, nylon stockings, exotic accents, dances like the jitterbug and the jive and the wartime music of Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.
I don't think we should under estimate what effect this had on the people of New Zealand. Up until then the main focus had been to England, the mother country. Now the country became more open to the USA too. Today we can not see New Zealand as just a British country as the culture is now a mix of American and British with some others thrown in to. Lets just call it New Zealand culture.  

Victory - $1.80.
15 August 1945, VJ Day (Victory Japan Day) and the war was over, New Zealanders celebrated in the streets, whilst not forgetting those who had lost their lives in the battle for victory. New Zealand was about to enter a new post-war era.

Now large numbers of men would begin arriving home, many having been away a number of years. They had to leave the army way of life and fit back into New Zealand society again. This brought many problems for the country too.

First Day Cover - 3 November 1993.
The First Day Cover, showing a man in the army, fighting overseas while a woman is at home doing the work normally done by men.

Technical information

                         Date of issue: 3 November 1993
                         Designer: Phillip Andrews, Wellington, NZ
                         Printer: House of Questa, England
                         Stamp size: 28mm x 40mm
                         Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet
                         Process: Lithography
                         Perforation gauge:    14.25 x 14
                         Paper type: Red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
                         Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 3 November 1994.

Some of the images in this post were used with permission from the illustrated catalogue of StampsNZ
You can visit their web site and On-line Catalogue at,

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