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Plunket Society 50th Anniversary

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Frederick Truby King was born at Mangorei, Taranaki, on 1 April 1858. In 1860, the state of the war against the Māori in Taranaki became critical for the residents and Mrs King and her family were evacuated to Nelson. A terrific storm was encountered during the voyage and this so upset the baby that he was not expected to survive the shock. He recovered, but the experience through which he passed had a lasting effect on his health.

Issue information

After a short period as a bank clerk, Truby King was sent by his father to study medicine at Edinburgh. He graduated and returned to New Zealand with a bride. In March 1907, while he was on the staff of the Mental Hospital at Seacliff, Truby King contributed an article on the problem of child welfare to the Otago Daily Times. This was followed on 14 May by a public address in Dunedin which so impressed his listeners that the first committee of the Society for the Promotion of Health of Women and Children was formed that evening.

Truby King began by training one of the mental hospital nurses, and then with her aid trained members of various churches in Dunedin as teachers. Further impetus was given to his campaign when he made public the shocking conditions existing in homes licensed to board unwanted children. Following this disclosure, Truby King opened his own seaside home on the peninsula at Karitane, just north of Dunedin for the accommodation of 13 under-nourished babies. A few months later the first permanent hospital for the care of delicate children was established at Anderson's Bay, Dunedin. All this was achieved before the end of 1907.

The Society soon became generally known as the Plunket Society because of the support given by Lady Plunket, wife of the then Governor of New Zealand. Lady Plunket gave encouragement and assistance to Truby King's theories and personally conducted meetings all over New Zealand. Truby King's personal contribution as the founder of the Society was recognised in 1925 when he received a Knighthood.

Stamp Bulletin

This stamp issue first appeared in New Zealand Post Stamp Bulletin No. 13 on 26 June 1957.

Acknowledgments: 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:

Product Listing for Plunket Society 50th Anniversary

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp Single 3d gummed stamp. 3d

Technical information

Date of issue: 14 May 1957
Designers: M R Smith, Levin
Printers: Bradbury Wilkinson, England
Stamp size: 25mm x 28mm
Sheet size: 160 stamps per sheet
Process: Recess printed - Intaglio
Perforation gauge: 13.5 x 13
Paper type: Wiggins Teape 'Royal Cypher', multiple NZ and star watermark
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 30 June 1958.
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