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

Emerging Years - 1940's

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It was a decade of enormous contrast. From the harsh tragedy and shortages of war ... to VJ Day ... to the enormous nationwide party which seemed to continue right through the latter half of the 1940s. The pendulum had swung.

Issue information

Those who were around in the 40s - as children, as civilians or in the services - can recall the extremes of war and the celebration of peace. It was a decade which saw New Zealand come of age. Fresh from the hardship of the 1930s depression, then plunged into war, New Zealand became a mature society with a developing sense of national identity. It was a turning point, as the 'New Zealander' - a person with national pride and values - began to emerge.

Product listing for Emerging Years - 1940's

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c 'NZ at War' gummed stamp.

New Zealand was just getting back to normal after the depression of the 1930s, when war broke out in 1939. Over the next six years, 140,000 New Zealanders - men and women - served overseas in the armed forces. Of these, 11,625 were killed, 15,749 wounded and 8,395 were held as prisoners of war.

Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Aerial Topdressing' gummed stamp.

1946 saw a turning point in the way New Zealand pastures were fertilised. Following the significant aeronautic developments brought about during the war, a plane was used to successfully apply copper sulphate to vast areas of pasture, from the air.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Hydro-Electricity' gummed stamp.

"White coal ... the silent maid ... obeying every wish ..." That is how electricity was explained to housewives using it for the first time in the 1920s. Throughout the 1940s, electricity - with its labour saving convenience - quickly eclipsed gas and coal as a power source. In 1946 the State Hydro-electric Department was established and in 1947 Karapiro - on the Waikato River - was the site of the first hydro-electric power station in New Zealand.

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'The New Zealand Marching Association' gummed stamp.

In 1945 the New Zealand Marching Association was established. As a spin-off from war-time drill, marching became a popular competitive sport amongst thousands of young New Zealand women throughout the 1940s - and well beyond.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'The American Invasion' gummed stamp.

The stationing of American troops in New Zealand in 1942 provided a welcome distraction from the realities of war - particularly for the young women of New Zealand. With them the Americans brought charm, nylon stockings, exotic accents, dances like the jitterbug and the jive and the wartime music of Glen Miller, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.

Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'Victory' gummed stamp.

15 August 1945, VJ Day and the war was over, New Zealanders celebrated in the streets, whilst not forgetting those who had lost their lives in the battle for victory. New Zealand was about to enter a new post-war era.

First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $6.30

Technical information

Date of issue: 3 November 1993
Designer: Phillip Andrews, Wellington, NZ
Printer: House of Questa, England
Stamp size: 28mm x 40mm
Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 14.25 x 14
Paper type: Red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 3 November 1994.