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Te Papa Celebrates 150 Years of NZ Postal History

Wednesday 6 July 2005


Te Papa Celebrates 150 Years of New Zealand Postal History

Te Papa and proud exhibition sponsor New Zealand Post are celebrating 150 years since the issue of New Zealand’s first postage stamps with the opening of the exhibition Stamped: Celebrating New Zealand’s postal history on Saturday 16 July.

Rich with stories of New Zealand history, Stamped examines the use of stamps, the development of stamp design, and how stamps have expressed New Zealand’s national identity through artwork featuring the country’s landscapes, unique culture, and iconic people and events.

Stamped features a selection of rare and beautiful stamps from the Royal Philatelic Collection, The Queen’s own collection. They include the famous Kirkcudbright cover showing a block of ten Penny Blacks used on the first day of issue and the Full-face Queens acquired by King George V.

The exhibition also explores the development of the postal service within New Zealand, and communication between New Zealand and the rest of the world. Developed with the New Zealand Philatelic Federation, Stamped showcases philatelic material and original art works from the New Zealand Post Museum Collection held at Te Papa.

“Stamped is an exciting and highly visual exhibition that enables us to reflect on our history and identity – the iconic people, places, culture and historic moments that are so distinctly New Zealand. Te Papa is delighted to be part of the celebrations of New Zealand’s postal history through this exhibition in partnership with New Zealand Post,” said Dr Seddon Bennington, Te Papa’s Chief Executive.

"Since before the first Full-faced Queen was placed on an envelope in 1855, New Zealand Post has been helping New Zealanders to connect with each other and the rest of the world. We are delighted to be supporting Stamped, which tells the captivating story of our postal past, a story closely bound to the development of this nation. As our country continues to change and develop over the next 150 years, New Zealand Post will build the capabilities that ensure Kiwis remain connected, and to support an innovative and successful New Zealand,” said John Allen, Chief Executive of New Zealand Post.

There are four main themes in the exhibition.
‘Early post in New Zealand’ shows the development of mail communication, postage stamps, and the postal system, closely modelled on the British Post Office.
‘The mail must get through’ deals with internal and external communication by road, sea, rail, and air, and shows how mail had a key role to play in opening up the country, and for keeping in touch during wartime and times of natural disaster or social disruption.
‘Identity: New Zealand’s face to the world’ shows how far we have moved in interpreting who we are and what we wish to promote – from being defined by our ties to Britain to identifying ourselves through the cultures of the Treaty partners.
‘Contemporary design and production’ features the work of outstanding New Zealand designers from the nineteenth century to the present day, and examines the latest techniques of stamp design, printing, and marketing.

Te Papa has a wide and varied events programme associated with this exhibition. Highlights include lectures by the Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection, Michael Sefi, on the opening and closing days of the exhibition.

Stamped: Celebrating New Zealand’s postal history
Open from Saturday 16 July 2005 till Sunday 15 January 2006.
Level 5 Gallery. Free entry.


July Events Calendar

The Royal Philatelic Collection: An inside view
Date: Saturday 16 July
Time: 2pm–3pm
Location: Rangimarie Rooms 1 & 2, TelstraClear Centre, Level 3, Te Papa
Admission: Free entry

Michael Sefi, Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection, will discuss his experiences working with one of the greatest stamp collections in the world. He’ll also illustrate some objects not on show at Te Papa. He will comment on King George V’s collecting objectives and describe current issues facing the Collection.

Mr Sefi is a chartered accountant by discipline and has been a serious collector for the past twenty-five years, exhibiting internationally. A past-President of the Great Britain Philatelic Society, he was a member of Council of the Royal Philatelic Society London between 1990 and 2005.

Deputy Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection from 1996, he was appointed Keeper in January 2003.

Stamped: Celebrating New Zealand’s postal history floortalk
Date: Sunday 17 July
Time: 1pm–1.45pm
Location: Meet at the entrance of the exhibition, Level 5, Te Papa
Admission: Free entry

Join Suresh Dhargalkar, Deputy Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection, for a walk through this fascinating new exhibition. He will discuss Royal Philatelic Collection stamps that feature in the show.

Professionally, Suresh is an architect, specialising in historic buildings and conservation techniques for the preservation of artefacts.

Now aged 70, he was the Superintending Architect to H M The Queen, responsible for the occupied royal palaces until his retirement in 1996.

He then became the first Assistant to the Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection and was appointed Deputy Keeper in 2003.

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