New Zealand

New Zealand commenced issuing stamps in 1855, fifteen years after the first stamp issued by the United Kingdom, UK) in 1840. They followed the same tradition as the UK in designing their first stamp with an image of a young Queen Victoria. However, unlike the UK, they did designate “New Zealand” on their stamps, thus identifying the issuing entity.

Queen Victoria remained the only design feature on New Zealand stamps till 1898 when they issued their first “Pictorial “ series illustrating their diverse animal species and magnificent mountains.

An unusual feature of their issues is a tradition of issuing charity stamps. Called “Health Stamps”, these have been issued yearly from 1929 and are offered at a small  premium above the postage rate with this surplus amount going to various health related  schemes. These have been well supported by the population who have keenly purchased these stamps.

Also, with an approximately 15% Māori population, New Zealand often commemorates Māori culture and language as it was one of the first colonial settlements to recognise the rights of the native populations in the Treaty of Watangi.

From its inception, New Zealand has been constituted as a single entity and not as a federal system of North and South islands. This may be partly because of the small population. Despite it being over 1000k kilometres in length, even today it’s population does not exceed five million.

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