Official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

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The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron traces its origins to 1871. Over its 150-year history the club has kept pace with astonishing developments in yacht design and technology, from the wood and cotton era of the mid-19th Century through to the space-age carbon-fibre and titanium materials in use today.

From its inception, the club has encouraged advanced boatbuilding techniques. The first printed document relating to the establishment of an Auckland yacht club had as its first objective “the improvement of build and encouragement of skilful (sic) sailing of vessels”. The RNZYS has been a flagbearer in that cause ever since.

Through the first three decades of Auckland’s settlement, a couple of attempts were made at establishing an Auckland Yacht Club, the first in 1851 and the second in 1859. These quickly faltered and it was not until 1871 that the Auckland Yacht Club (AYC) really became anchored in the fabric of the burgeoning city.

By the turn of the century, in pursuit of its ambitions to be recognised as a “royal” establishment, the AYC changed its name to the New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which became the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in 1902.

From the outset, boatbuilding played a significant role in the growth of Auckland, primarily in the form of commercial vessels for trading, fishing and conveying goods and passengers. Early regattas involved dressing these workaday ships and boats in their Sunday best for a day of sport, but stiff competition soon saw boats being purpose-built for racing and cruising.

Yachting attracted a huge following in Auckland, with crowds of spectators lining the wharves, jetties and headlands, or getting closer to the action on chartered ferries.

Out of these colourful beginnings grew an internationally respected New Zealand marine industry, which combined with a tradition of outstanding sailing skills to enable Kiwi sailors to venture out into the world and succeed at the highest levels of the sport.


Considered yachting’s most distinguished prize, the America’s Cup was first contested in 1851. As much a contest of design and technology as a yacht race, it has a rich and colourful history, with a cast of characters including monarchs, potentates, business tycoons and billionaires.

It was long considered a step too far for a small country like New Zealand, but ultimately this prestigious trophy took pride of place in the RNZYS silverware collection. Throughout the 170-year history of the America’s Cup, only six yacht clubs in the world have won the famous trophy. Of those, the RNZYS is the only one to have won the Cup (1995), successfully defended it (2000), lost it (2003) and then won it back again (2017).

The four stamps in this collection chart the arc of that story in the form of yachts that achieved milestone victories in major events.

RAINBOW: Designed and built by the famous Logan Brothers yard in 1898 to the order of prominent Auckland dentist, A.T. Pittar, Rainbow headed across the Tasman to take on the best of the Sydney fleet in the 1900 Intercolonial Regatta, in which it scored a resounding victory.

Blessed with the durable qualities of New Zealand kauri timbers, Rainbow remains an active racer on the RNZYS register to this day.

RAINBOW II: In 1967, Chris Bouzaid, a young Auckland sailmaker, sold his house in order to build a 34ft race yacht. He named her Rainbow II.

Rainbow II ventured overseas to compete against the finest European and American yachts for the One Ton Cup. In 1969, at their second attempt, Bouzaid and his Kiwi crew confounded the yachting world by capturing the famous trophy.

STEINLAGER II: Twenty years after Rainbow II’s milestone One Ton Cup triumph, boatbuilding technology had taken a quantum leap into the plastics era. In the quest to build ever-lighter composite structures, timber construction was replaced first by fibre glass and then by materials like kevlar, carbon fibre and titanium.

Steinlager II, designed by New Zealand’s Bruce Farr for Peter Blake, was built to compete in the gruelling 1989 Whitbread Round the World Race. One of two Farr-designed New Zealand maxi ketches, both built to state-of-the-art specification, Steinlager II swept to a majestic victory, winning all six legs of the race.

Te Rehutai:

In 2021 the RNZYS and Team New Zealand will defend the America’s Cup again in Auckland in a new class of spectacular monohulls that take technology to an entirely new level, more akin to flying than sailing. The competing yachts, built in carbon and titanium, reach speeds of 50 knots on foils that lift them entirely out of the water.

Product listing for RNZYS 150

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Image Title Description Price
RNZYS 150 first day cover | NZ Post Collectables First Day Cover First day cover with four gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $12.10
RNZYS 150 miniature sheet first day cover | NZ Post Collectables Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with gummed miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on first day of issue. $12.10

Technical information

Date of issue: 3 March 2021
Number of stamps: Four gummed
Denominations: $1.40, $2.70, $3.50, $4.00
Designed and illustrated by: John Morris, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer and process: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand by lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 50mm x 35.71mm (vertical)
Miniature sheet size and format: 190mm x 90mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 106gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 25
Perforation gauge: 14 x 14.4
Special blocks: Plate/imprint blocks may be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks are available in A and B formats.
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 2 March 2022. First day covers will remain on sale until 28 April 2021.