Health Stamps - Part Three

       In 1929, New Zealand began what grew to become our longest running series of postage stamps. These are known as Health Stamps, stamps to promote children's health. Each year, a stamp or set of stamps was issued carrying a surcharge for health to raise funds for children's Health Camps. Finally, in 2017, with dropping sales, the funds raised by these issues had become much less than the cost of designing and printing so it was decided to discontinue the Health Stamp Series. 
       I have decided to feature this entire set on my blog, in large pages so the stamps can be seen as a collection. I will also feature certain issues on their own pages and link them to this collection. This is the third part of our collection, covering the years after decimal currency, from 1967 until 1989. 

Fast Links.

1970             1975               1980                1985

1967 Rugby - 2½c + 1c                                                   1967 Rugby - 3c + 1c

                                Date of Issue:             2 August 1967.
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Photogravure. 
                                Quantities:                 2½c - 5m.
                                                                    4c - 5m.

One of the most important changes in the 1967 Health Issue was the value. Unlike the old values expressed in pence the new decimal currency value of cents was used. Also at this time, the opportunity was taken to change the common theme from native birds to sports. I believe this series from 1967 through 1972 are great Health Stamps.
As the New Zealand Rugby Union was celebrating their 75th Anniversary the first sport chosen was rugby. The stamps show a young boy playing rugby while behind him is a shadow of an All Black performing the same action. I like this idea and I think the shadow figure adds an extra dimension to the stamps. Probably the young boy is dreaming that one day he will become an All Black. 

Check out my post "Rugby on Stamps."                 See also the 2014 Health Issue.

1968 Olympic Running - 2½c + 1c.                                                 1968 Olympic Swimming - 3c + 1c

                                Date of Issue:             7 August 1968. 
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Photogravure. 
                                Quantities:                 2½c - 2.6m.
                                                                    3c - 2.7m.

Sports were again the topic of the annual Health stamp issue in 1968, and since it was an Olympic Games year, two Olympic sports were chosen. On the lower value, a boy running is shown and on the upper-value, a girl swimming is shown. This marked a slight change in theme as now both girls and boys were shown in each issue. Both designs incorporate the Olympic Rings in the background. A simple but effective design, but a real headache for the printer. (See below.)

Black Side Shift.
A minor shift which creates the interesting appearance of two arms on the swimmer. There is some movement of the black ring top centre too. I have looked at many examples of this stamp and most appear to have some misaligning in the rings. I believe this is an example of a design almost impossible for the printer to get perfectly right.

Missing Green.
 This is a very unusual item. The green has been omitted from this miniature sheets. This has the interesting effect of removing the bottom right-hand circle (green circle) from the Olympic symbol. The colours are a bit different but I believe this to be image quality problems rather than the stamp sheet itself.

1969 Boys Cricket - 2½c + 1c.                                          1969 Girls Cricket - 3c + 1c.

Children's cricket was the sporting theme for 1969 with the two lower values show both boys and girls playing the game. On the 2½c + 1c stamp, a boy can be seen bating while on the 3c + 1c stamp a girl can be seen bowling. 
1969 was also the 50th Anniversary of Health Camps for Children so a third higher value was added showing Dr Elizabeth Gunn MBE who founded the Health Camp Movement in 1919. As can be seen at the end of her name she was awarded an MBE for her work with children.

1969 Dr Elizabeth Gunn MBE - 4c + 1c. 

                                Date of Issue:             6 August 1969. 
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, Wellington & R M Conly, Christchurch.
                                Printer:                        Bradbury Wilkinson, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 c - 2.6m.
                                                                    3c - 2.5m.
                                                                    4c - 1m.

Missing Colour.

A miniature sheet with a major section of the green background missing on the top right-hand stamp. As lithographic printing process was used, a process where both ink and water are used on a sensitised printing plate, I believe a drop of water fell on the plate washing the ink away in this spot. This error would be difficult for the printer to notice on a fast-moving printing press because it would quickly disappear after only a few sheets.

Blue offset On Back.

In this joined pair of the 4c value, you can see the blue has offset onto the back of the sheet below. This is caused by too much ink being applied to the paper. In serve cases the sheets actually stick together, tearing the surface of the paper when separated. In this case, only an ink image is left but there is a clear outline of Dr Gunn's face. 

Colour Shifts.
The lower two values of this issue suffered a large number of colour shifts. While usually being minor the had the effect of blurring the stamp images. 

Purple has shifted to the left. Seen best down each edge of this stamp.

Colour shifts distort and burrs these stamps. See colour tabs bottom right.

Here is a First Day Cover with minor colour shifts in both the lower values.

1970 Girls Playing Netball - 2½c + 1c.                         1970 Boys playing football - 3c + 1c

                                Date of Issue:             5 August 1970. 
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Thomas De La Rue, England.
                                Process:                     Delacryl. 
                                Quantities:                  2½c - 4m.
                                                                    3c - 4m.

Boys football (soccer) and girls netball were chosen as the sports to be represented on the 1970 Health Issue. Both stamps show action-packed scenes of their chosen sports. I think that has been the secret of the success of these sports stamps. They look good and show their chosen sport to good advantage.

Lines through the background gives a streaky effect. This is known as scumming and is best fixed by stopping the press and washing the plates with gum arabic and water.

1971 Girls Hockey - 3c + 1c.                          1971 Boys Hockey - 4c + 1c.

Hockey was the theme for the 1971 Health Issue. This sport was selected as New Zealand was the host country for the tenth International Federation of Women's Hockey Association's conference and tournament in 1971. The third stamp in the 1971 Health Stamp Issue commemorated the Golden Jubilee of the New Zealand School Dental Service. This service provided free dental treatment to school children.

1971  Dental Nurse and Patient - 5c + 1c.
 (I don't know what he is smiling for? At the dentist!)

                                Date of Issue:             4 August 1971. 
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 3c - 3m.
                                                                    4c - 3m.
                                                                    5c - 1.5m.

4c + 1c with a green colour shift. Best seen on the front edge of the boy's face.

3c + 1c offset on the back.

1972 Boy playing tennis - 3c + 1c.                                    1972 Girl playing tennis - 4c + 1c.

                                Date of Issue:             2 August 1972. 
                                Designer:                    LC Mitchell, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 3c - 3m.
                                                                    4c - 3m.

The 1972 Health Issue was the final of the sporting theme, featuring children playing tennis. What I like about this series that both boys and girls are shown on almost every issue except the 1967 Rugby stamps. I also like the pictures too, showing great action shots. Look at the girl above, she is really going for that ball.

1973  Prince Edward - 3c + 1c.                                 1973  Prince Edward - 4c + 1c.

                                Date of Issue:             3  October 1973. 
                                Designer:                    NZ Post Office, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Photogravure. 
                                Quantities:                 3c - 3m.
                                                                    4c - 3.2m.

Children of the reigning monarch first appeared on Health stamps in 1943 when Queen Elizabeth II, the then Princess Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret were featured. We return to this theme again in 1973 with His Royal Highness, Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis Windsor, third son of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. It is a pity that they used the same picture twice instead two different ones as had been done with Prince Andrew in 1963.

Black Colour Shift.
This stamp shows a smaller shift in the black which is best seen by the white gap down the right-side of Prince Edwards face and head. We can see a similar shift in the block of four below best noticed by the dark line across the top of the boy's head.

    1974  Cat and dog - 3c + 1c.                                           1974  Cat and two dogs - 4c + 1c.

                                Date of Issue:             7 August 1974. 
                                Designer:                    B Langford, Christchurch.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 3c - 3.8m.
                                                                    4c - 3.3m.
                                                                    5c - 1.35m.

The next theme to appear in the Health Stamp series was children and their pets. The 1974 issue featured dogs and cats. Keeping a pet is good for children. It teaches them responsibility. I have always had either a dog or a cat. We had other animals too as I was growing up. Even now there is a cat sitting in his bed on the desk beside me as I type this.

1974  Two dogs - 5c + 1c.

    1975 Girl feeding a Lamb - 3c + 1c.                      1975 Boy with Hen and Chickens - 4c + 1c.

The theme for the 1975 Health Issue was still children with their pets but in this case, the pets are ones which would normally be found in rural areas. There is the baby lamb, hen and chickens, and the duck and duckling in the high value. Not sure how you would get a duck to sit in a cart like that while you pull it around but it looks good. Notice the move to almost cartoon type figures. This happened during this time period and led to some really terrible stamp issues. This one is not so bad because it clearly gets its message over.

 1975  Boy pulling Duck in Wagon - 5c + 1c.

                                Date of Issue:             6 August 1975. 
                                Designer:                    M Chapman, Christchurch.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 3c - 3.25m.
                                                                    4c - 2.95m.
                                                                    5c - 1.25m. 

Circle on the Roof.
The stamp below has a flaw in the form of a yellow circle. We called them hickeys in the printing industry and they were caused by pieces of dirt, often lint off the paper, attaching itself to the printing plate. Sometimes it is not the flaw itself but its position in the design which makes it more interesting to collectors. This is an example of one where the flaw fits neatly in the apex of the barn's roof.
On the right-hand stamp this same hickey can be seen again but this time it has moved slightly and the yellow ring appears smaller. Hickeys can move and change during printing and it would be very unlikely that two errors would appear in exactly the same spot. Below I have included a close view of this error.



Colour Shift.
The source where I got this image from said "multiple colour shifts" but I believe this is only one colour, the green that has moved lower and slightly to the left.

"Children are able to practise on pets some of the things that are practised on them", says an Education Department psychologist, adding " Pets take on human personalities - become talking companions."  By relating to animals the child develops a sense of responsibility which dolls and toys do not inspire.  A love of animals - and children - inspired winning designs for the 1976 New Zealand health stamp issue. In showing the thrush the series has begun moving away from just children's pets. Now the theme is more children and animals as we will see in the next couple of issues.
Also, I want you to notice the values. On this page, the high value goes from 3c in 1967 to 80c in 1999. Also notice that the donation to health doesn't move as quickly, from 1c in 1976 to 5c in 1999. Surely the cost of maintaining Health Camps must as risen as quickly as the cost of sending a letter.

1976  Rural boy and pony. - 7c + 1c.
1976  Rural girl and calf. - 8c + 1c.
1976  Two girls and nesting thrush. - 10c + 1c.

                                Date of Issue:             4 August 1976. 
                                Designer:                    M Chapman, Christchurch.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 7c - 3.5m.
                                                                    8c - 3m.
                                                                    10c - 1.2m.

 We continue the theme of children and animals in 1977 by looking at children in the woods. The animals depicted are a bird, a frog and a butterfly. Not usually pets but these small creatures are often seen and related to by children. 
This the cartoon style I mentioned above under the 1975 Issue. I think these while being bright and colourful, must be among the worst Health Stamps. (They can only get better from here!)

   Girl with bird - 7c + 2c.                 Boy with frog - 8c + 2c.            Girl with butterfly - 10c + 2c. 

                                Date of Issue:             7 August 1977. 
                                Designer:                    A Derrick, Invercargill.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                 Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 7c - 2m.
                                                                    8c - 2m.
                                                                    10c - 1m. 

The stamps were designed to be fitted together to form one single picture as they appeared in the miniature sheet seen below.  

 A vertical shift in the perforation has left this pair of stamps missing some of their design at the bottom while including the lower edge of two other stamps at the top. Notice they are still in position horizontally so this is only a vertical position shift. 

50 Years Of Health Stamps.


    1978  50th Anniversary - 10c + 2c.                     1978  National Heart Foundation - 12c + 2c.
The very first Health Stamp.                                        Heart surgery in progress.

                                Date of Issue:             2 August 1978.
                                Designer:                    A G Mitchell, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 10c - 3m.
                                                                    12c - 3m.

The 1929 first Health Stamp.

A surcharge on Health stamps helps to finance the establishment and maintenance of six permanent New Zealand Health Camps for children. The first Health Stamp issue was in 1929 and here we are in 1978, 50 issues later. New Zealand celebrated this milestone with a design which depicted that very first Health Stamp again. I have included an example of the first 1929 Health Stamp above.
The first permanent health camp was established at Otaki by the Wellington Children's Health Camp Association.  This camp was opened in 1932 and was soon in continuous use.  By 1936 so many health camp associations were organising camps that a National Health Camp Federation was formed, and in the following year, the King George V Memorial Appeal raised a sum of 176,000 Pounds for the establishment of five further permanent Health camps. Over the years the Health Stamp series has provided a lot of funding for these camps.

This stamp design had a gold over-print which caused problems in both values. Below are two examples of this.
The 10c shows gold ink bleeding into the lower edge of the 1929 stamp image.


On the 12c, the gold has partly covered and distorted the white writing in the lower part of the design. 

Demoiselle Fish (Chromis dispilus) - 10c + 2                    A Sea Urchin (Diadema palmeri) - 10c + 2.

The 1979 Health Stamp Issue began a new theme, the 'Marine Environment'. This issue of three stamps shows a fish, an ocean floor creature and a diver taking a photograph. This set leads nicely into the 1980 & 1981 issues which feature 'Children and the Marine Environment.'

The two 10c stamps above were issued together on the same sheet so often they can be found connected as a joint pair, as can be seen in the printing error below, while 12c stamp below was printed and issued is sheets by itself. 

1979 Diver Photographer - 12c + 2c. 

                                Date of Issue:             25 July 1979. 
                                Designer:                    P Blackie, Hobsonville and G Fuller, Havelock North.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 10c - 4m.

                                                                    10c - 4m.

                                                                    12c - 1.5m.

Green Double Printed.
If you look closely you can see a second lighter impression of the Green colour. This is particularly noticeable under the Green writing on the right-hand stamp. It does not appear there was much of this green used in the design of the left-hand stamp. One reason for this was that the first light impression was not noticed by the printer and the sheet was sent through the printing press a second time to receive the second normal impression.  

1980 Two children wharf fishing and another surf-casting - 14c + 2c x 2.

          The 1980 Health Issue also continues the Marine Environment theme, this time depicting children fishing. These stamps are simple, uncluttered designs which show their subjects in drawing, almost cartoon-type format. I like these a lot more than others such as the 1977 design above. Again the two 14c stamps were issued together, known as se-tenant stamps, as can be seen by the joint pair above, while the 17c below was issued separately.

 1980  Underwater spear-fishing - 17c + 2c.

                                Date of Issue:             6  August 1980. 
                                Designer:                    M Chapman, Christchurch.
                                Printer:                        Joh Enschedé, Netherlands.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 14c - 4.5m.
                                                                    14c - 4.5m.
                                                                    17c - 2m.

          1981 Two stamps depicting a girl with a starfish and boy with a fishing rod - 20c + 2c x 2.
 1981 Girl and boy playing in a rock pool - 25c + 2c.

          In 1981 the Marine Environment theme was continued with three stamps showing children exploring and examining marine life in the rock pools beside the ocean. This issue is unusual in that the three stamps combine to make one larger picture. See the joined strip below.
                                Date of Issue:             5  August 1981. 
                                Designer:                    New Zealand Post Office, Wellington.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 20c - 4.2m.
                                                                    20c - 4.2m.
                                                                    25c - 2m.

         The 1982 Health issue saw a theme change to children's pets, in this case, three different breeds of dog are depicted. Again the three values were issued on the same sheet so it very common to find them in a joint strip as can be seen here.

1982 Three stamps - 24c + 2c x 2 & 30c + 2c.

           Labrador:  bred both as a family pet and working dog, and is a popular gun dog.  It has a characteristic 'otter' tail - short and thick at the stump.
          Border Collie:  is notable for its ability as a sheepdog.  It uses the force of its gaze as a means of controlling sheep.  The inclusion of the sheepdog is indicative of the important role performed by these dogs on New Zealand farms.
          Cocker Spaniel:  although once used as a gun dog, is now a popular household pet and show dog.

                                Date of Issue:             4  August 1982. 
                                Designer:                    R M Conly, Waikanae.
                                Printer:                        Joh Enschedé, Netherlands.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 24c - 2.25m.
                                                                    24c - 2.25m.
                                                                    30c - 2m. 

In 1983 the children's pets theme was continued with three stamps featuring cats. I like cats, there is one sitting beside as I write in this now. I also know of another one who features on another blog I follow too.

 1983 Persian - Long Hair - 30c + 2c
1983 Tabby - Short Hair British.   Siamese - Short Hair Foreign. 24c + 2c x 2.

                                Date of Issue:             3  August 1983. 
                                Designer:                    R M Conly, Waikanae.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 24c - 2.25m.
                                                                    24c - 2.25m.
                                                                    30c - 2m.

          The 1984 Health Stamp Issue featured three popular breeds of horses - Clydesdales, Shetlands and Thoroughbreds. As usual the proceeds of the 'Health' value of health stamps, in this case, 2c per stamp, were donated to the Children's Health Camps movement.

1984 Clydesdales and Shetland Ponies - 24c + 2c x 2.

1984 Thoroughbred - 30c + 2c.

                                Date of Issue:             1  August 1984. 
                                Designer:                    M Chapman, Christchurch.
                                Printer:                        Harrison and Sons, England.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 24c - 2.25m.
                                                                    24c - 2.25m.
                                                                    30c - 2m.

          1985 saw the return of royal children. This has always been a very popular theme on Health stamps and so it proved to be in this case as well. Two 25c se-tenant stamps, one depicting The Princess of Wales and Prince William, the other The Princess of Wales and Prince Henry. The larger value 35c stamp showed the whole family together.

1985 The Royal Family - 35c + 2c.
Prince Charles, The Princess of Wales, Prince William and Prince Henry.

1985 Princess Diana & her sons - 25c + 2c x 2.
Prince William on the left & Prince Harry on the right.

          While in these photos they appear to be a happy family it was not to be. Married on 29 July 1981, after having two children they ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. Later Diana died in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. As I write this in 2014, William has just appeared in his second New Zealand stamp issue to mark the visit to this country with his wife and baby.

                                Date of Issue:             31  July 1985. 
                                Designer:                    D Little, Auckland.
                                Printer:                        Cambec Press, Australia.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 25c - N/A.
                                                                    25c - N/A.
                                                                    35c - N/A. 

          In 1986  we see a new theme, Children at Play as depicted in their own artwork.  Primary school children throughout New Zealand were encouraged to participate in the 1986 Health Stamp Design Competition and the children, Kylie Epapara, Phillip Kata and Mia Flannery, whose work is shown here, were aged between 5 and 7. 

1986  'Children's Football' and 'Children Playing' - 30c + 3c x 2.

 1986  'Children Skipping' - 45c + 3c.

                                Date of Issue:             30  July 1986. 
                                Designer:                    H Thompson, Wellington; Kylie Epapara, Pukekohe;
                                                                    Phillip Kata, Auckland and Mia Flannery, Hamilton.
                                Printer:                        Leigh-Mardon, Australia.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 30c - N/A.
                                                                    30c - N/A.
                                                                    45c - N/A. 

         A design competition was conducted in 1986 among primary school children to produce designs for Health Stamps based on the theme of children at play. Three more competition winners were Ineke Schoneveld (aged 7), Aaron Tylee (aged 7) and Lauren Baldwin (aged 9).

1987  Children Kite Flying and Swimming - 40c + 3c x 2.

1987  Children Horse Riding - 60c + 3c.

                                Date of Issue:             29 July 1987. 
                                Designer:                    D Little, Auckland; Ineke Schoneveld, Opotiki;.
                                                                    Aaron Tylee, Oparau and Lauren Baldwin, Auckland.
                                Printer:                        Leigh-Mardon, Australia.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 40c - N/A.
                                                                    40c - N/A.
                                                                    60c - N/A.

          The 1988 Health Stamp Issue commemorated the Olympic Games held in Seoul, South Korea. The stamps depicted four Olympic sporting events: Swimming, Track and Field, Canoeing and Equestrian. I like the way NZ Post used their silver fern logo and the Seoul Olympic logo in a lower corner of each value. I also like with way each stamp clearly shows the sport it is representing. 

      1988 40c +3c  Swimming.                                                      1988 60c +3c   Track and Field.

1988 70c +3c   Canoeing.                   1988 80c +3c   Equestrian.

 New Zealand competitors at the 1980 Olympic Games won three gold medals:

           Bruce Kendall - Sailing, Men's Lechner Sailboard Individual Competition.

           Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald - Canoeing, Men's K2 500 metre Kayak Pairs. They also won a silver medal for the Men's K2 1,000 metre Kayak Pairs and Paul MacDonald won a bronze in the Men's K1 500 metre Kayak Singles.

          Mark Todd - Equestrian, Three-Day Event Individual Competition.

                                Date of Issue:             27 July 1988. 
                                Designer:                    R Proud, Auckland.
                                Printer:                        Leigh-Mardon, Australia.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 40c - 1.43m.
                                                                    60c - 0.51m.
                                                                    70c - 0.52m.
                                                                    80c - 0.51m.

1989 Duke, Duchess and Princess of York - 40c + 3c 
(Andrew & Fergie)

1989 Duchess and Princess of York -                 1989 Princess of York - 80c + 3c
40c + 3c                                                                            

             Since 1943 there has been a history of Royal Children appearing on Health Stamps. This happened once again when HRH Princess Beatrice of York, 1988's most famous baby, featured on the 1989 Health issue. She appeared on three stamps: once on her own; once with her mother, the Duchess of York; and then with both her father and mother, the Duke and Duchess of York.

                                Date of Issue:             26 July 1989. 
                                Designer:                    N/A.
                                Printer:                        Leigh-Mardon, Australia.
                                Process:                     Lithography. 
                                Quantities:                 40c - 1.85m.
                                                                    40c - 1.85m.
                                                                    80c - 0.6m.

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

Some prices on flaws and varieties were quoted from The Campbell Paterson's Loose-leaf Catalogue.
Campbell Paterson Ltd

Many of the flaws on this page have been copied from New Zealand Philatelic Brokers Ltd. web site.

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