Cook Islands soldier featured on WW1 stamps

29 March 2016

New Zealand Post tells the story of Cook Islander Solomon Isaacs who served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in its latest series of stamps commemorating the First World War.

‘1916 Courage and Commitment’ is the third instalment of a five-year WW1 stamp and coin programme. The ten commemorative stamps to be released on 6 April 2016 look at the effects of war both at home and abroad, including the work of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company on the Arras Tunnels and the start of military conscription in New Zealand in August 1916.

“The reality of the war set in at Gallipoli, and by 1916, few New Zealanders had been left unscathed,” said Simon Allison, Head of Stamps and Coins at New Zealand Post.

“As the conflict shifted to the Western Front, the predecessor to New Zealand Post - Post and Telegraph - played a key role in delivering wartime communications both at home and abroad, and was the bearer of sad news for many. 100 years on, New Zealand Post is paying tribute to those who served and to those who lost their lives in the First World War.”

“The soldier featured in this year’s stamp issue is Solomon Isaacs who showed incredible courage and commitment hundreds of miles away from home,” says Simon Allison. “He was just one of the many Pacific Islanders who left their families and homes to serve in the First World War.”

The family of Solomon Isaacs has been involved in the development of the stamps and his grandson says it has been an emotional journey discovering the soldier’s story.

“I am proud of the contribution that my grandfather made in the First World War and it is an honour that his story is told in the 1916 Courage and Commitment stamp issue,” said Isaac Solomona (grandson). “My prayer and hope is to be able to travel from Rarotonga to France and touch the wall of the Arras tunnel where he etched his name in 1917.”

Solomon Isaac’s story is told in a special commemorative booklet, which contains further information about the war as well as 12 unique miniature stamp sheets. The WW1 stamps and coins can be ordered online now at nzpost.co.nz/ww1 and will be available for purchase from 6 April at all New Zealand Post PostShops.