100 years on, NZ Post commemorates the Spirit of Anzac with flag, coins and stamps

23 March 2015

Special issue stamps and coins commemorating the Spirit of Anzac will go on sale today.

New Zealand Post will also, for the first time, fly an Anzac flag at its headquarters in Wellington.

Through the stamps, coins and flag, New Zealand Post is paying tribute to the Gallipoli Anzac campaign, whose centenary will be officially marked on Anzac Day, 25 April 2015. More than 2700 New Zealanders and 8700 Australians died in the campaign.

New Zealand Post also has a special interest in honouring the First World War in memory of those from its predecessor organisation the Post and Telegraph (P&T) Department who answered the call to defend country, King and Empire. Of the 3000 P&T staff who joined up, many served in Gallipoli. In all, 234 lost their lives in the War.

Today:

  • Stamp and coins in a special 1915 Spirit of Anzac programme go on sale. The programme is the second in a series of five issues over five years commemorating the First World War.
  • New Zealand’s first ever commemorative coloured legal tender 50 cent coin will go on sale to the public through PostShop and Kiwibank branches nationwide.
  • A specially-designed Anzac flag, measuring 6 metres by 3 metres, will fly underneath the New Zealand flag from the main flagpole at the Whitmore St end of New Zealand Post House from today till the end of April.

Weather permitting tomorrow, a banner measuring 30 metres by 16 metres, portraying renowned image of Gallipoli ‘The Sapper and his Donkey’, will be put up on the Whitmore St side of New Zealand Post House.

Background

The Spirit of Anzac stamps and coin tell the story of New Zealand’s role in the First World War in 1915 through the eyes of Evelyn Brooke, a nursing matron from New Plymouth who served throughout the war. Evelyn was one of more than 500 nurses from New Zealand who served overseas during the war and the only New Zealand nurse awarded the Royal Red Cross and bar for her services.

The Anzac commemorative legal tender coins are the first ever coloured coin in circulation in New Zealand. One million of the coins were minted by the Reserve Bank to circulate with New Zealand’s existing currency. They feature a New Zealand and Australian soldier standing back to back with their heads bowed in remembrance. The mangopare (hammerhead shark) pattern symbolises strength and determination, and the silver fern reflects New Zealand’s national identity. To represent New Zealand’s national colours, the mangopare is coloured white on the coin, with the background coloured black. The coins have been available for pre-order February. Already, 200,000 coins have been pre-sold.

The ‘Sapper and his Donkey’ image promoting the stamp issue was chosen because it signifies the special bond formed between Australian and New Zealand troops. Carrying wounded men down the treacherous terrain to the beach was a difficult task that was made a little easier by the occasional Anzac with a donkey. ‘Sapper’ Horace Moore-Jones was a New Zealander who painted the scene from a photograph taken by Kiwi Sergeant James Jackson of Australian school teacher Richard Henderson, who served in the New Zealand Medical Corps. The original watercolour used for this stamp issue is held at the Auckland Art Gallery.