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

The Emerging Years - 1920's

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The 1920s were a good time to be alive. Sandwiched between World War I and the Great Depression, they were an oasis of peace and prosperity.

Issue information

They were boom years in New Zealand. The toll from war and disease touched countless homes and the losses would never be forgotten. But in this war weary country, youth, both male and female, were ready to rebel a little, to test the limits of social customs. It was youth that became a force of its own for the first time.

The arrival of the 'wireless', reliable motorcars, the cinema, The Invincibles and increased leisure time, combined with a post-war mood of release and optimism, created a period known for its love of fun and leisure activities.

On 11 September 1928 a three-engined Fokker called 'The Southern Cross', flown by Charles Kingsford Smith, landed in Christchurch after setting off from Australia. The country went aviation mad - the air age had arrived.

Product listing for The Emerging Years - 1920's

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Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Flaming Youth' gummed stamp.

Overseas styles in music, dance, dress and behaviour, particularly from the United States and Britain, were embraced by New Zealand youth in the 1920s. The Charleston became the social dance of the era, and the 'flapper' - meaning a woman who was considered bold and unconventional - became a symbol of the decade.

Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Birth of Broadcasting' gummed stamp.

Radio in New Zealand was born on the night of 17 November 1921 when Dr Robert Jack, Professor of Physics at Otago University, switched on a small transmitter in his Dunedin laboratory and began broadcasting music from gramophone records. The country promptly became wildly enthusiastic about the new-fangled 'wireless' that could pick up voices and music from the air, and by the end of 1927 more than 30,000 homes had radio licences. The Radio Broadcasting Company of New Zealand was established in 1925 with stations in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Single Stamp

Single 80c 'The Invincibles' gummed stamp.

The 1924 All Blacks earned the title 'The Invincibles' with an unbeaten 28-match tour of the British Isles, France and Canada. The team was studded with stars, including fullback George Nepia, who played in every game. Among the other legendary players on the tour were the brothers Maurice and Cyril Brownlie in the forwards and brilliant backs Mark Nicholls and Bert Cooke. 

Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'The Swaggie' gummed stamp.

The 1920s were the swan song years for the New Zealand swaggies, who had opted out of society and its work ethic to drift around New Zealand exchanging labour for food and a bed, or simply begging for handouts. The dusty, often unkempt figure, trudging along a country road, swag over his shoulder, a figure familiar to generations of New Zealanders, disappeared into history.

Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'The Motorcar Brings Freedom' gummed stamp.

The age of mass motoring was underway. The revolutionary Ford Model T was introduced in 1908, and New Zealanders bought more than 90,000 of them before they were superseded by the Model A in 1929. Local assembly of cars and trucks began in 1926, and total production reached 12,000 by 1929. 

Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'The Arrival of the Air Age' gummed stamp.

The last years of the decade were a boom for the aviation industry. With the arrival of better and less expensive aircraft from overseas, new airline companies sprang up and aerial pageants became popular entertainment. 

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

Technical information

Date of issue: 4 November 1992
Designers: Terry Crilley, Marlborough Sounds, NZ
Printer: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand
Stamp size: 28mm x 40mm
Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 13.5mm
Paper type: Peterborough Paper Convertors, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 4 November 1993.