Official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

75 Years - Connecting New Zealand and the World

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2015 marked the 75th anniversary of New Zealand’s national airline and this stamp issue explored the role Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), National Airways Corporation (NAC) and Air New Zealand have played in connecting New Zealand and the world. 

Issue information

The Air New Zealand story began under the name of TEAL, with its first flight across the Tasman in 1940. This was a major milestone in New Zealand’s social history, as New Zealanders were no longer limited to their own shores and the days of lengthy journeys by sea were over. When NAC began flying in 1947, it vitally linked the breadth of domestic New Zealand, connecting friends, family and businesses across the country in a way never before deemed possible. In 1978 NAC merged into Air New Zealand and the combined network brought together international and domestic travel.

Whilst the romance of TEAL flying boats is confined to our history, today technology such as the Dreamliner (B787-9) allows us to be part of an increasingly accessible world, where flight has become an important part of many New Zealanders lives. These commemorative stamps featured key milestones of flight over the past 75 years and each featured an icon of the aircraft used at the time.

Collectables to Celebrate 75 Years

As part of this commemorative stamp issue, three unique collectables were available: a miniature sheet, a first day cover and a miniature sheet first day cover. The miniature sheet featured the iconic Air New Zealand koru – a part of its identity since 1973. The first day cover showed a classic 747 and the miniature sheet first day cover featured the first six stewardesses to be employed by TEAL in 1946.

Product Listing for 75 Years - Connecting New Zealand and the World

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'The first flight - Auckland to Sydney' gummed stamp.

The Tasman opened up for air travel with TEAL’s inaugural service on 30 April 1940 when ZK-AMA Aotearoa, a Short S.30 flying boat, made the journey from Auckland to Sydney. It also marked the beginning of the first regular trans-Tasman mail delivery. With a flight time of over nine hours there were ten passengers onboard, and the service was captained by WWI returned Air force Pilot John Burgess. Flight in this era was new and exciting but also limited to the wealthy and elite. Passengers went to great effort to look their best.

Aircraft: Short S.30 Empire Class (Short Bros. UK). Carried two pilots, one radio operator, two cabin crew, 19 passengers. Air speed 160mph. TEAL purchased two of these aircraft and they were operated in the fleet from 1940-1947.

Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Travelling the country with NAC' gummed stamp.

NAC began flying on 1 April 1947. It would later become an exclusively domestic airline, performing the vital function of connecting New Zealand’s towns and cities. Locations as remote as Kaikohe, Westport and Invercargill were among its first destinations. In its early days, NAC also flew across the Pacific Sea to Norfolk Island.

Aircraft: Kawatere New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NZNAC) Lockheed Lodestar aircraft. Carried two pilots, 15 passengers. Air speed 194 mph. Operated from 1947-1952 with 12 Lockheed Lodestar’s in the fleet.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Exploring the Pacific with TEAL' gummed stamp.

The Coral Route began in 1951 and was a Pacific Island tour aboard the flying boats of the time. It featured stops at Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and the Cook Islands, and was regarded as a highly glamorous affair of romance and indulgence. With it came vital air links for the Pacific’s outer islands. It provided transportation of medical supplies and opened trade opportunities as tourists visited with increasing frequency and numbers. The route had its origins in the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s transport services operated during WWII.

Aircraft: The inaugural route was operated by Aparima ZK-AMQ a Short S.45 Solent Mk III (Short Bros. UK). Carried two pilots, one radio operator, one navigator, one flight engineer, three cabin crew, 39 passengers. Air speed 190 mph. In the fleet from 1951-1954.

Single Stamp

Single $2.50 'Sharing the flying experience' gummed stamp.

When NAC merged into Air New Zealand in 1978 it was the beginning of a uniquely Kiwi identity and service at a time when flight was becoming more accessible to everyday New Zealanders. Fleet changes and the advent of the wide-bodied jet, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, further broadened possibilities for travel and tourism. Air New Zealand took delivery of its first DC-10 in 1973. In the same year it introduced the Koru logo, which today is an inseparable part of its identity.

Aircraft: Douglas DC-10 Series 30 operated from 1973–1986. Carried two pilots, one flight engineer, 12 cabin crew, 268 passengers. Air speed 547 mph (880 kph).

Single Stamp

Single $3.00 'From now and into the future' gummed stamp.

Embracing New Zealand’s innovative spirit, Air New Zealand was the first airline in the world to take delivery of Boeing’s B787-9 in 2014. The technologically advanced aircraft uses 20 percent less fuel than similar aircraft, and demonstrates the incredible progression in flight since the early days of the flying boat. From commencing as an airline with one flight a week across the Tasman, there are now 58 services from New Zealand to Sydney each week and direct routes to 26 international destinations.

Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 is the newest addition to the fleet arriving in 2014. Carries 10 cabin crew, 302 passengers. Air speed 910 kph.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $9.70
First Day Cover First day cover with five gummed stamps affixed. $10.20
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $10.20

Technical information

Date of issue: 14 January 2015
Number of stamps: Five gummed stamps
Denominations: 80c, $1.40, $2.00, $2.50 and $3.00
Stamps and first day covers designed by: Insight Creative, Wellington, New Zealand.
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd
Number of colours: Four process colours and metallic silver and synseal overgloss
Stamp size and format: 52mm x 26.12mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed 
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14.59 x 14.55
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks were obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 13 January 2016.