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Construction of a Nation

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Our Construction of a Nation stamp issue looked back on five prominent styles of housing - most of which are still visible in areas around the country today. 

Issue information

When European settlers came to New Zealand, they left behind their ways of life and began to adapt, socially and architecturally in this new land. New Zealand housing styles inevitably evolved over time in response to environmental and social changes, resulting in the diverse architectural landscape seen in New Zealand neighbourhoods today.

The housing styles in this issue reflected the materials available at the time and illustrate a response to climate and a way of living different from those in other countries. The Construction of a Nation stamp issue reflects New Zealand’s humble architectural beginnings, and the five housing styles portrayed are the colonial cottage, the villa, the Californian bungalow, Art Deco and the state house.

Unique Collectables Reflecting Our Housing History

You could enjoy the Construction of a Nation stamp issue further through the unique house-shaped miniature sheet – a special addition to this historic stamp issue. The first day cover and miniature sheet first day cover were designed using architectural elements.

Presentation Pack

The pack featured the five gummed stamps, first day cover and miniature sheet, plus in-depth information about the five housing styles depicted. 

The presentation pack was written by practising architect Jeremy Salmond. Salmond specialises in the conservation of historic buildings, is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, and was awarded the Queen’s Service Order (QSO) in 2007 for his contribution to the preservation of New Zealand’s heritage of significant buildings.

Product Listing for Construction of a Nation

Image Title Description Price
  Single Stamp

Single 70c 'Colonial Cottage' gummed stamp.

These simple houses were the earliest structures and provided just enough space for the necessities of everyday life, with rooms serving multiple purposes. Their exterior forms were simple and resembled traditional cottages in the United Kingdom – square boxes with gable or hip roofs. Their big innovation was the inclusion of a verandah.



Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Villa' gummed stamp.

The villa was a far more complex house and was the true vernacular New Zealand style. Villas were built around simple plans, usually with a central hallway joining rooms on either side, and were built using standard components, although differences in form and detail resulted in distinct regional styles across the country.


Single Stamp

Single $1.90 - Californian Bungalow gummed stamp.

Following World War I, the Californian bungalow became the new style for modern houses, replacing the villa and reflecting a more relaxed way of life. With low-pitched, wide roofs and casement windows, plus the use of different materials and colours, their appearances were very different from the older villas.


Single Stamp

Single $2.40 'Art Deco' gummed stamp.

Also known as the ‘Moderne’ style, the Art Deco home reflected new architectural ideas from Europe. Although embellishment was generally unseen on these houses, there were common decorative features typical of the Art Deco style, such as moulded stripes and circles, and often small raised plaques of objects such as ships.


Single Stamp

Single $2.90 'State House' gummed stamp.

This style of home was a result of a programme from the 1935 Labour Government to enable workers and other lower-paid people to have access to modern, well made houses. Building costs were carefully controlled through the use of a limited number of standard plans and roof forms.

  Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled gummed miniature sheet. $9.30
  FIrst Day Cover First day cover with five gummed stamps affixed. $9.80
  Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. $9.80
  Presentation Pack

Written by practising architect Jeremy Salmond, the presentation pack was a great way to learn more about New Zealand's housing history. Included within the pack was five gummed stamps, the first day cover and miniature sheet, plus in-depth information about the five housing styles depicted.

Single Stamp

Technical information

Date of issue: 5 March 2014
Number of stamps: Five gummed stamps
Denominations: 70c, $1.40, $1.90, $2.40, $2.90
Stamps, miniature sheet, first day covers and presentation pack designed by: Stamps and Collectables, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print ltd, New Zealand
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks could be 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 4 March 2015.
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