Thursday, 28 June 2018

1995 Centenary Of Rugby League

          Rugby league had its beginnings in Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 when 22 rebellious Yorkshire and Lancashire rugby union clubs in England's industrial north held a meeting in Huddersfield and voted to quit the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) and form their own organisation (the Northern Union). Their dissatisfaction stemmed from the RFU's refusal to allow players to be compensated financially for taking time off work to play rugby. It was not long before a new brand of rugby developed. League was on its way. New rules emerged, speeding up the game and making it more open. Out went lineouts, play-the-ball restarts were introduced and, in 1906, teams were reduced from 15 to 13 players. League also became professional.
The 'All Golds'
          Rugby league in New Zealand grew out of the original rugby union All Blacks tour of Britain in 1905-6. Some of the touring New Zealanders watched the league, were impressed with the new game and became converts.
          One of these All Blacks, a fleet-footed winger named George Smith, returned home and quickly teamed up with keen young sportsman and budding entrepreneur Albert Baskerville, to form New Zealand's first rugby league side. Including many former All Blacks and dubbed the 'All Golds' because of its semi-professionalism, the team embarked on a tour of Britain in 1907-8 without having played a single game in New Zealand.
         The tour was a success. The All Golds won 19 of their 35 games including the test series against Great Britain which was won 2 - 1. On the way home the All Golds also captured two of three tests against Australia. On their return, the All Golds made up most of the two teams that squared off in what was the first league match ever held in this country. It took place in Wellington on 13 June 1908 before a crowd of around 7,000. The name All Golds has long been consigned to history but today's 'Kiwis' continue the tradition begun in the early 1900's.

Monday, 25 June 2018

1995 Anniversaries and Events.

Three stamp issues during 1995 celebrating important events.

 1995 Conferences.                                                                         1995 United Nations.

1995 Commonwealth Heads.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

1997 - Roses - Joint Issue with China.

Chinese and New Zealand Issues.

New Zealand and the People's Republic of China celebrated the beauty and splendour of the rose in this joint stamp issue. The two stamps featured the Rosa rugosa and the Aotearoa-New Zealand roses. The stamps were available as se-tenant pairs of two 40 cent stamps, as well as in a miniature sheet. Both, the New Zealand and the Chinese stamps, carried the same design and all four stamps appeared on the New Zealand first day cover.

We have laid out both issues with their First Day Covers. While showing stamps other than New Zealand could be considered beyond the scope of this blog, we feel with joint issues its worth showing the issues from both countries.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

1997 New Zealand Wine Regions / Vineyards

In 1997, NZ Post wrote as they issued these stamps:- 
"New Zealand burst onto the world wine stage in the 1980s with striking Sauvignon Blancs that crammed more flavour into the glass than any other country had ever achieved with that classic French variety. Today's (1997) wines are riper and less green-edged in an easier-drinking style, but they are still considered to be some of the best in the world. New Zealand's climate and soils are the key assets that enable the production of outstanding table wines. Around the world, the finest wines are grown in regions with relatively cool climates where grapes are able to ripen fully but slowly, retaining their refreshing acidity while building up subtle aroma and flavours."

In 2018, when I am writing this, the wine industry of New Zealand has continued building from strength to strength. New Zealand's wine production has been undergoing rapid growth, averaging 17% per annum for the last 20 years. In 2017 New Zealand produced 285 million litres from 37,129 hectares (91,750 acres) of vineyard area, about three-quarters of which is dedicated to Sauvignon Blanc. Nearly 90% of total production is exported, chiefly to the United States, Britain and Australia, reaching another record of NZ$1.66 billion in export revenue in 2017. New Zealanders over the last ten years consumed a fairly constant 20 litres of wine per capita, about a third of which is imported from other countries, mainly Australia.

Personal Comment - New Zealanders should stop buying the cheap Australian wines dumped on our market here and start buying many of the quality New Zealand wines that can often be purchased at not much more than the Australian ones.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

1997 Royal Golden Wedding Anniversary

        Princess Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. In 1936, on the abdication of King Edward VIII, the Duke and Duchess became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) and Princess Elizabeth heir presumptive to the throne.
        The Duke of Edinburgh, formally His Royal Highness Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, was born on 10 June 1921, on the Greek island of Corfu. He is the only son of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. His mother was the sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
        On the 20th of November 1947, cheered by the teeming throngs lining the entire length of the processional route, supported by crowned heads and invited dignitaries at the ceremony itself, and before millions more through the medium of television throughout the United Kingdom and abroad, Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh were married at Westminster Abbey, London.
        In January 1952 The Princess and Duke, on behalf of the King, left England for a tour of East Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, on 6 February, while holidaying in Kenya, King George VI died. Princess Elizabeth immediately returned to England as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and she was crowned on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey.
       In 1997 the couple celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary, 50 years of marriage. To mark this special anniversary, NZ Post issued a single stamp showing Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. The stamp was only issued on special miniature sheets of 10 x 40c stamps.

Monday, 18 June 2018

1997 Wackiest Letterboxes

A competition was launched in September 1996 with the aim of finding New Zealand's wackiest letterboxes. From Canterbury to the Coromandel, and from Wanaka to the Wairarapa proud mailbox remodellers sent in photos of their creations, in the hope of getting their letterbox on a stamp. Over 300 entries were received from which ten letterboxes were finally selected. The winner had to be interesting, creative and out of the ordinary, but also had to be "postie-friendly" and practical.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

2018 Round Kiwis.

        June 2018. I will remember it for the birth of my third child. I'm in the birthing home for a few more days and can't get around much yet. Allan was here and heard me complaining about being bored. "Write up the latest stamp issue," he told me "That will keep you quiet for a while." So I  went and checked it out.
         Oh wow! The round kiwis are back. One of the first larger pages I did for this blog was the story of the Round Kiwis. They became one of my favourite stamp designs. I have all of them in my stamp collection. Now there are another five to collect.
1988 Round Kiwi.                                                           2018 Round Kiwi. 

         New Zealand Post's popular Round Kiwi stamp has been refreshed for the eighth time, It has been 30 years since it was first launched in 1988 and so to celebrate, a new set was released. The issue features all five species of kiwi in their habitat - the brown kiwi, great spotted kiwi, little spotted kiwi, tokoeka and rowi – and in a range of vibrant colours. See our Round Kiwi Collection.
        These stamps are considered to be definitives so at present there is no date set for them being withdrawn. I am sure they will be more popular with collectors rather than used as general definitive stamps. I also would expect some of the earlier issues might increase in value as new collectors go back to add them to their Round Kiwi Collection.

        Kiwi are flightless, nocturnal birds endemic to Aotearoa. They emerge from their burrows after dark to forage noisily along the forest floor and sniff out worms and insects. Their nostrils are at the base of their bill and give the kiwi a superior sense of smell that makes up for its poor eyesight. Kiwi have been described as ‘honorary mammals’ because of their hair-like feathers, long tactile whiskers at the base of their bill, and their marrow-filled bones. Kiwi are also sometimes called ‘te manu huna a Tāne’ - the hidden bird of Tāne, the god of the forest. See our post on the Maori Legend - How the Kiwi Lost His Wings.

Friday, 8 June 2018

1995 Golf Courses

        The game of golf followed the Scots to New Zealand. It all began in Dunedin when a young whisky distiller named Charles Howden called a meeting to form a golf club in 1871. The game grew slowly when a surge in its popularity in Great Britain was mirrored in the colonies.
        In 1899 a national golfing body was formed in New Zealand. And over the decades the game has boomed, growing from strength to strength. In 1995 when these stamps were issued, nearly 113,000 registered golfers enjoyed the sport, year round. Just as New Zealand is well known worldwide for its beauty, so too are its golf courses. This special issue of golf stamps depicted four of the country’s most attractive golfing venues. Each of these courses provide a showcase for the natural splendour of their region.

The four stamps of the 1995 Gulf Courses issue.