The first fifty years [1948 – 1998]

Bryan Ogier

1998 will mark the fiftieth year since the New Zealand Philatelic Federation was established. There were 17 societies as members when the Federation was formed on 13 March 1948. At present, there are around 40 societies and clubs affiliated to the national body.

During these fifty years some significant achievements have been made and it is appropriate that we pause and acknowledge some of these.

Of particular importance is the good relationship the Federation has enjoyed with the Post Office (now New Zealand Post Ltd.). Federation was instrumental in influencing the New Zealand Post Office to make a number of important decisions in the interest of philately. Some of these have been superseded or phased out but include:

  • Having a Federation representative on the Stamp Design Council
  • The reintroduction of stamp booklets
  • The introduction of a Federation plate block scheme
  • The establishment of Philatelic Sales Counters
  • First day of Issue date stamps for first day covers
  • Pictorial stamps to publicise New Zealand’s scenic beauty.
  • The attendance of a Post Office representative at Federation meetings
  • The establishment of a Philatelic Bureau
  • Special first day cover post boxes at main Post Offices
  • The establishment of a trust fund to assist the promotion of the hobby.
  • Financial support for national (small and large) stamp exhibitions

The close liaison between the Post Office and the Federation has been maintained over the years and since 1962 the Post Office has appointed a representative to attend Federation Executive Meetings.

In 1951, the Federation Executive discussed the coming centenary of the first New Zealand postage stamp in 1955 and suggested it would be appropriate to arrange an exhibition. Auckland responded to the challenge and the New Zealand International Stamp Exhibition, as it was named, was held in 1955. Since that date the Federation has encouraged, supported and monitored a programme of exhibitions which has raised the standard of exhibits so that by 1996 approximately 90 New Zealanders have competed at an international level (FIP).

The New Zealand Philatelic Federation, as it became known after a name change in 1985, is a member of FIP (Fédération Internationale de Philatélie) and FIAP (Inter-Asia Philatelic Federation). Although distanced from the major philatelic nations the New Zealand Philatelic Federation has, since the beginning of the 1980’s, become actively involved in international philately and during that time has succeeded in having twelve New Zealanders approved as FIP (International) Jurors (two now deceased). The Federation has appointed Commissioners for all the major FIP World Exhibitions since 1983 and for a small country, has supplied more than its fair share of entries for those exhibitions. The NZPF was anxious that New Zealand’s first FIP World Exhibition “New Zealand 1990” would be a success. This Exhibition was a most successful FIP Exhibition and the Auckland Committee responsible with Dick Armstrong as Chairman, are to be congratulated for the organisation and hard work that went into making New Zealand 1990 such a great show.

The Federation appointed delegates to all the FIP Commissions and Robin Gwynn is a member of the FIP Traditional Bureau.

A Philatelic Youth Council was formed in 1985 and this Council reports to Federation but is an independent Incorporated Society serving the philatelic youth of New Zealand.

Federation acknowledges the dedication of individual members of societies or clubs and has introduced various awards over the years – the Award of Honour, Award of Merit and more recently, the Philatelist of the Year Award and annual awards for individuals who have contributed significantly in their area.

The Federation Executive has approved Rules and Guidelines for the staging of National Exhibitions and the appointment of national judges and other related matters. It has recently introduced a Resource Kit for each member society or club and currently updates this annually.

Each member of the Federation Executive has a responsibility for some aspect of Philately (e.g. Youth, FIP/FIAP, Exhibitions, NZ Post, etc.). Much of the work goes unnoticed but it is essential that we do have a national body to represent Philately at every level and make the decisions that need to be made.

In 1991 the Federation executive was reduced to six members. Two members are elected from the three major regions of the country (North, Central and South). Each region is encouraged to meet and discuss matters of importance so their delegates can represent the views of their region. This has worked reasonably well but there is still some apathy around the country and the majority of grass roots members appear to be quite happy to leave things to the Executive.

New Zealand is blessed with some fine philatelists. All are prepared to share their knowledge and most give many hours of their time each week to the hobby. The New Zealand Philatelic Federation is grateful for the support and dedication of these people and also for the loyalty of members of each society and club. It is the wish of the Federation to assist every member and to provide opportunities for development and interest in the hobby. Without the continued support of every member this cannot happen.