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1959 Health

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The year 1959 marked a significant turning point in Health stamp designs with the introduction of the 'Bird Series'. 

Issue information

The idea of using pictorial designs on Health stamps had been raised several times in previous years. As it was becoming increasing difficult to obtain suitable designs with a straight Health theme it was suggested that a bird series be introduced with the object of achieving some continuity of design over the next few years.

Photographs of several birds were obtained from the Dominion Museum and four printing firms were asked to submit design proposals for the issue with two essays by Harrison and Sons being selected for the issue. The proceeds of the 'Health' value of 1959 Health stamps were donated to the Children's Health Camps movement.


New Zealand Post would like to acknowledge the following for their assistance and guidance in bringing together this stamp issue.

Historical Information

Information included on this page sourced from The Postage Stamps of New Zealand published by the Royal Philatelic Society of NZ. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Stamp Bulletin

Bulletin scanned and provided by John Biddlecombe of the New Zealand Society of Great Britain. Their web site offers further information useful to those interested in the stamps and postal history of New Zealand. Link:

Stamp Bulletin

This stamp issue first appeared in New Zealand Post Stamp Bulletin No. 18 on 31 July 1959.

Product Listing for 1959 Health

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 2d + 1d 'Tete (Grey Teal)'  gummed stamp.

The tete 'Anas gibberifrons' arrived in New Zealand last century and although now widespread is common in only a few favoured localities.  It is found on lakes, lagoons and rivers of both islands.  It is one of New Zealand's smallest ducks and although it lacks head markings has a white triangle on the upper wing which is conspicuous in flight.

Single Stamp

Single 3d +1d 'Poaka (Pied Stilt)' gummed stamp.

The poaka 'Himantopus himantopus' is now the commonest breeding wader in New Zealand, having increased in numbers by quickly adapting to the additional open land available through farming.

Miniature Sheet

Miniature sheet incorporating six 2d + 1d stamps.

Miniature Sheet

Miniature sheet incorporating six 3d +1d stamps.


Technical information

Date of issue: 16 September 1959
Designers: Harrison and Sons, England
Printers: Harrison and Sons, England
Stamp size: 24mm x 41mm
Sheet size: 120 stamps per sheet
Process: Photogravure
Perforation gauge: 14 x 14.5
Paper type: Guard Bridge, multiple NZ and star watermark
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 31 January 1960.
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