Postage stamps and postal history of New Zealand
Postal services in New Zealand have existed since at least 1831, when the Postmaster-General of New South Wales deputed a Bay of Islands merchant to receive and return mail. Governor William Hobson issued an ordinance covering postal matters, although the British government retained control until 1848.
In these initial years, only a small number of post offices were established. Postal services expanded greatly from the mid-1850s, with the Local Posts Act of 1856 allowing Provincial Governments to establish post offices, and the Post Office Act of 1858, which re-organized postal services under a Postmaster-General.
Postage stamps have been issued in New Zealand since around 18 to 20 July 1855 with the "Chalon head" stamps figuring Queen Victoria. The design was based on a full face portrait of the Queen in her state robes at the time of her coronation in 1837, by Alfred Edward Chalon. The stamps were initially hand cut from sheets, but from 1862 on, these sheets started being fed through automatic perforating machines. The Chalon heads were used until 1874 when the lithographed sideface stamps in various designs replaced them.
Universal one penny postage
On 1 January 1901, New Zealand introduced one penny universal postage from New Zealand to any country in the world willing to deliver them. Australia, the United States, France and Germany would not accept such letters, fearful of having to reduce their own postal charges to match. This also halved the cost of mailing letters within New Zealand.
While concern was expressed that Post Office revenues would fall, mail volumes increased sharply and by 1902 any losses had been recovered.
First stamp vending machine
The first items of postal stationery to be issued by New Zealand were postcards on 1 November 1876. The next items of postal stationery to be issued were newspaper wrappers on 1 April 1878. Lettercards were first issued on 1 January 1895, registered envelopes on 21 June 1898, envelopes on 4 June 1899 and air letter sheets or aerogrammes on 17 November 1941.
The postal system in New Zealand was deregulated on 1 April 1998, meaning several different independent mail companies now exist. But in practice the state-owned New Zealand Post still delivers nearly all letters.
- Health stamp
- List of people on stamps of New Zealand
- Postage stamps and postal history of the Ross Dependency
- Revenue stamps of New Zealand
- Postage stamps and postal history of Australia
- New Zealand Philatelic Federation
- Campbell Paterson Ltd: Loose Leaf Catalogue of New Zealand Stamps.
- Encyclopaedia of Postal Authorities
- Laurie Franks: All the Stamps of New Zealand.
- Robinson, Howard (1964). A History of the Post Office in New Zealand. Wellington: Government Printer.
- Robin Gwynn: Collecting New Zealand Stamps.
- Plate reconstructing by Roly Runciman.
- Stanley Gibbons Ltd: various catalogues.
- Rossiter, Stuart; Flower, John. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald, 1986. ISBN 0-356-10862-7
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