New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

75 Years of the RNZAF

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Since its inception in 1937 the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) made a significant contribution to war - and peace - time efforts in New Zealand and around the world. In 2012, the RNZAF celebrated 75 years of service, and New Zealand Post commemorated the anniversary with this stamp issue.

Issue information

When the RNZAF (Te Tauaarangi o Aotearoa, or 'New Zealand Warrior of the Sky') was formed on 1 April 1937 as a separate arm of New Zealand's military forces, it brought with it the promise of expansion and modern aircraft. Equally important was the team of dedicated personnel, whose service through the years has played a vital role in the success of the organisation, and in protecting and defending Aotearoa, New Zealand.

In its early years the RNZAF was heavily involved in World War II. In New Zealand it trained aircrew as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme; and overseas many of its aircrew served with squadrons of the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces. It also played a key role in the Pacific, providing combat squadrons in support of the United States' operations to defeat the Japanese in the Solomon Islands. Following World War II, the RNZAF supported operations in countries such as Malaya, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Outside battle, the RNZAF has played an important role in search and rescue. Such operations had their beginnings in World War II, with searches of missing Allied airmen. The aircraft used for search and rescue from the mid-1960s were P3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft, supplemented by Iroquois helicopters. Today, the RNZAF continues to respond to local emergencies including floods and earthquakes, and provides support to the police in operations such as searching for missing trampers.

The duties that the RNZAF undertakes are diverse. Since the late 1980s it has been involved in international peacekeeping operations, and has worked with organisations such as the United Nations to help create lasting peace in war-torn countries.

At home, the RNZAF has made a contribution to New Zealand's prosperity through activities such as aerial topdressing. It also honours the memory of those who have died in service with flypasts using the 'missing man' formation.

The RNZAF will continue to evolve, with 28 new or upgraded aircraft planned by 2014. The introduction of new technology and ongoing investment in its people will ensure that the RNZAF continues to serve and defend New Zealand in the years to come.

The 75 Years of the RNZAF stamp issue was made up of 15 x 60c large stamps - each portraying a different aspect of the RNZAF. From the beginning of the Air Force to the future, a broad range of services is portrayed and each stamp told a story about the vast array of duties carried out by the RNZAF. All 15 stamps were displayed together on the 75 Years of the RNZAF stamp sheet.

Commemorative Coins

Take a look at the commemorative coins that were also part of this issue. Click here to find out more.

Product Listing for 75 Years of the RNZAF

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Image Title Description Price
Set of Stamps Mint, used or cancelled sheet of 15 x 60c gummed stamps. $9.00
Set of First Day Covers Set of three first day covers with gummed stamps affixed. $10.50
Miniature Sheet Booklet

36 page miniature sheet booklet incorporating eight unique miniature sheets. Each of the 15 stamps appears twice throughout the booklet, which also includes a detailed timeline and information on the history of the Air Force in New Zealand.

Still available to purchase. Click here.


Technical information

Date of issue: 15 March 2012
Number of stamps: 15 gummed stamps
Stamps, first day covers and miniature sheet booklet designed by: Strategy Design and Advertising, Wellington, New Zealand
Denominations: 60c x 15
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours plus silver
Stamp size and format: 52mm x 37.5mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 15
Perforation gauge: 14.4 x 14.6
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 14 March 2013.