Saturday, 29 November 2014

1994 - Second Heritage Series - Emerging Years 1950s

The 1950s.
          The 1950s were a time of prosperity, comfort, full employment and a healthy economy. In contrast to the extremes of the previous decades, the 1950s gave New Zealanders much to be content about.  

          Our contribution during the war, outstanding achievements in the international sports arena, the conquest of Mount Everest, social welfare and education systems of world class standard - even words of flattery from the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II - New Zealand was becoming a mighty little country in its own right. New Zealanders understandably discovered a new sense of pride and patriotism.         
          This is my decade. I was born in 1955, about half-way through the 10 years. Of course I personally remember nothing myself but family photos and stories have told me much of what things were like then. It was certainly a good time for New Zealand. My family moved from the city to live on the country property I live on today.
This is the last issue in the Second Heritage Series.

45c - Rock and Roll Music.
80c - Conquest of Mount Everest - Edmund Hillary.

Rock and Roll - 45c.
It was the sound that changed the face of music forever. American rock 'n' rollers like Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Bill Haley and the Comets not only inspired their frenzied fans halfway around the world - they also saw a whole new breed of 'home grown' musicians like Johnny Devlin and Max Merritt emerge.
Rock and Roll opened the way to the changing scene of pop that arrived towards the end of the decade and into the 60s. If it hadn't been for Rock and Roll then parents of the 60s would have been more closed minded about the changing world of music their kids were into.

Conquest of Everest - 80c.
In a decade which saw New Zealand find its feet as a nation, perhaps the biggest single event was that Edmund Hillary conquered the mighty Mount Everest at 11.30am on 29 May 1953. Amidst intense emotions Hillary, the New Zealander, was thrust into the international limelight as a celebrity with courage and fortitude.

This was a big achievement for this little country but its true success came in the encouragement it gave others to achieve in a wide range sports and careers. New Zealand was developing the can do attitude. A love for doing the impossible, taking on the big guy and winning.

$1.00 - Radio Broadcaster - Aunt Daisy.
$1.20 - Royal Visit - 1953.

Aunt Daisy - $1.00.
"Good Morning Everybody. Good Morning. Good Morning." The catch cry of one of New Zealand's greatest broadcasting icons, Aunt Daisy. Her quavering voice filled the airwaves with everything from useful household hints to home-grown philosophy from 1936 to 1963 and she also became one of the first New Zealanders to face a television camera in 1951.
Yes I can remember Aunt Daisy. She'd burst on to the radio and talk almost non stop for her whole show. I also remember Mum never missing listening to her and many of her hints and recipes appearing in our house too. 

Royal Visit 1953 - $1.20.
Just months after her Coronation, Queen Elizabeth II became the first reigning sovereign to visit New Zealand. At the end of her first day here she told the people "though this is my first visit to New Zealand, I have the impression that I know it well and I know that here I shall feel at home." During her five week stay, the young queen charmed and enthralled all with her eloquence and beauty and delivered her Christmas message to the Commonwealth.

$1.50 - Opo - The Friendly Dolphin.
$1.80 - Auckland Harbour Bridge / The Coat Hanger.  

Opo - the Friendly Dolphin - $1.50.
Songs, stories, poems and a novel were inspired by the affectionate and friendly visitor to the tiny Hokianga beach settlement of Opononi in the summer of 1955/56. 'Opo', the friendly dolphin, seemingly came from nowhere to entertain and amaze bathers with her aquatic antics and tricks. Through the long summer she would play gently with children, eventually giving them rides and etching a place in our history and hearts.

The Coat Hanger - $1.80.
A startling addition to the Auckland landscape and a revolution in transportation, the Auckland Harbour Bridge was opened - first to pedestrians - in May 1959. More than 100,000 people streamed across it on foot in a single day and within six weeks of it opening to traffic, one million vehicles had crossed the bridge.

The problem was that they completely under estimated what a big difference the bridge would make to the North Shore. New areas of housing sprung up as the population quickly increased. It was soon realised the big mistake they'd made in building a four lane bridge when soon a eight lane one was required.  

First Day Cover - 24 March 1994.

Two covers for the Emerging Years 1950s
Above is the First Day Cover for this issue that comes with the usual special postal cancellation used on the first day.
Below is an airmail letter sent to Lithuania, showing two of the Emerging Years 1950s.

Technical information

Date of issue:24 March 1994
Designer: Karen Odiam, Wellington, NZ
Printer: Leigh-Mardon, Australia
Stamp size:28mm x 40mm
Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 14.25 x 14
Paper type: Coated Papers, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 24 March 1995.

Back to Emerging Year 1940s               Overview of the Complete Series.

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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