In 1854 New Zealand's the first official Parliament assembled in what was then the capital city of Auckland.
If you either lived in or have visited New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, you can't fail to have heard about (and no doubt visited) our Beehive. It's a hub of political influence - the centre of operations for the Executive Wing of our parliament, and a highly distinctive landmark on Wellington's physical and political landscape.
Completed in 1981, the Beehive is the newest of our parliamentary buildings. It was also a feature of 150 Years of Parliament stamp issue. These five elegant stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers recalled the buildings that have housed our goverment representatives ever since the first parliament was established in 1854. They were a pictorial guide through a history of architectural styles that has spanned Victorian Gothic to 'moderne classical brutalist' - an intriguing label that somehow aptly conveys the Beehive's essential qualities!
A Timeless Reminder
Whether made of wood or concrete, and whether they are still standing or but distant memories, these buildings have played a vital role in New Zealand's history either politically or architecturally. It is fitting, therefore, that we issued the stamps 150 years after the first parliament was elected in this young and vibrant country - and remember the many generations of parliamentarians who have worked so hard in the nation's interests.
New Zealand took its first important steps towards democracy when the first official parliament assembled in what was then the capital city of Auckland. Its representatives were tasked with an important and influential role: making the laws that would govern this relatively young country, and keeping the work of government under scrutiny and review. The 1854 Parliament commenced with 37 members. Since then, times and demands, like the number of members - now 120, have changed dramatically, with inevitable and significant effects on parliamentary accommodation.
150 Years of Architecture
All five of the stamps were included in an elegant miniature sheet - a timeless record of the significant architecture in the 150-year history of New Zealand's Parliamentary system.
The miniature sheet also featured as part of a first day cover, together with an illustration of the parliamentary Mace. Symbolising the authority of the Queen, the Speaker and the House, the Mace remains in the House whenever parliament is in session.
The Mace also featured on our stamp first day cover. This replica of the one used in the British House of Commons is just over one metre long and made of sterling silver gilded with gold. Its head comprises a large crown and orb, a Maltese Cross and four shields. Three of the shields feature emblems of the Isles (a rose, a harp and a thistle) while the fourth has the four stars of the Southern Cross to symbolise New Zealand.
Product Listing for 150 Years of Parliament
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||3 March 2004|
|Number of stamps:||Five|
|Denominations and designs:||40c Parliament Building - Auckland 1854, 90c Parliament Buildings - Wellington (Provincial Chambers) 1865, $1.30 Parliament Buildings - Wellington 1899, $1.50 Parliament House - Wellington 1918, $2.00 The Beehive - Wellington 1977|
|Stamps and miniature sheet designed by:||Dean Gray, Wellington|
|Printer and process:||Wallsall Security Printing by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||35mm x 28mm (horizontal)|
|Paper type:||Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||50|
|Perforation gauge:||14.4 x 14.2|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value blocks and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B format.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 2 March 2005.|