Past and present Navy personnel take a starring role in a set of commemorative stamps issued by New Zealand Post to mark the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).
The stamps and their first day cover envelopes will be unveiled at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy in Devonport tomorrow.
The issue comprises six gummed stamps, each representing a different aspect of the Navy’s history and its role in New Zealand today. The design features a brass scuttle, recovered from the wreck of HMNZS Moa, a Bird-class minesweeper sunk by Japanese bombers in 1943.
Operation Neptune Director Captain Andy Watts said the RNZN was honoured to be approached by New Zealand Post to capture the milestone anniversary.
“The stamp issue allows us to share with New Zealanders some significant events in the RNZN’s history, from the loss of the HMS Neptune, which was the greatest loss of life suffered by the RNZN in a single incident, to the role of the Navy following the Christchurch earthquake.”
Commander Simon Griffiths, then Commanding Officer of frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, who features on the $3.30 stamp greeting his family after returning from a six-month deployment, said it was fitting that the role of families at home was profiled as part of the Navy’s story.
“Without the support of our families, who get on with the job at home, we wouldn’t be able to do the work that we do,” he said.
“That photo symbolises everybody’s feelings and emotions when you come back. It’s always an incredibly satisfying moment when you reconnect with family.”
Former Midshipman Julie Wenham, from Rotorua, and former Chief Petty Officer Dave Auton, from Christchurch, also feature on the stamps and will join Commander Griffiths at the launch.
“New Zealand Post has strong links with the Defence Force going back over 100 years, so we are very pleased to be able to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Navy with this special stamp issue, which highlights the many and varied roles undertaken by Navy men and women,” said Simon Allison, Head of Stamps and Coins at New Zealand Post.
The stamps, which can be bought individually or in sets, will be available online and from New Zealand Post outlets around the country from tomorrow.
$1.00 The Loss of HMS Neptune
This stamp features brothers Bruce and William Anderson, of Kohimarama, who were lost along with 150 New Zealand sailors on HMS Neptune on 19 December, 1941. It is our Navy’s greatest loss of life in a single incident.
$1.00 Conflict in Korea
Frigate HMNZS Pukaki, displayed on this stamp, is one of six RNZN frigates deployed to the UN naval forces operating off Korea from 1950 to 1954.
$1.80 Women at Sea
Former Midshipman Julie Wenham holds a sextant during a navigational exercise. Midshipman Wenham served from 1991 to 1993. She is one of thousands of women who have served at sea since women were allowed to be posted to sea 30 years ago.
$2.20 Supporting the United Nations
HMNZS Te Mana, with a Seasprite helicopter in the background, represents our Navy’s commitment to supporting the United Nations in peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, including counter-terrorism and anti-piracy.
$2.70 Disaster relief in Christchurch
Former Chief Petty Officer Dave Auton, of the Royal New Zealand Navy Reserve, is helping clear debris. When the February 2011 earthquake struck, HMNZS Canterbury, Otago and Pukaki immediately rendered assistance, providing emergency food, shelter, and personnel on the ground.
$3.30 The Navy Family
Commander Simon Griffiths, then Commanding Officer of HMNZS Te Kaha, greets his family at Devonport. The families who remain home form an important part of the Navy’s whanau. Without their support, the Navy would not be able to achieve its goals.