Warriors of the Sky saluted after 75 years in action

14 March 2012

New Zealand Post is honouring the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Air Force with a special stamp issue and a commemorative legal tender coin.

The 75 years of the RNZAF (also known as Te Tauaarangi O Aotearoa or “New Zealand Warriors of the Sky”) stamps come in 15 different designs - each with a face value of 60 cents. The stamps showcase the work of the RNZAF and feature aircraft ranging from the Tiger Moths and Skyhawks of the past to state-of-the-art NH-90 helicopter.

The past meets the future - two stamps from the 75 Years of the RNZAF issue

“We’ve set out to accentuate the diverse roles airmen and women play in New Zealand and around the world during times of war and in times of peace,” Simon Allison, the Sales and Marketing Manager of New Zealand Post’s stamps and coins business says.

“We worked closely with the RNZAF and the Air Force Museum in Wigram to develop designs which honour and remember those who have flown and fallen, and to acknowledge the role the Air Force has played in New Zealand society over the past 75 years.

“The stamps pay tribute to the RNZAF’s efforts around the globe - in Europe and the Pacific during World War II and later in South East Asia, providing naval support, transport to Antarctica, and more recently peacekeeping.

“Outside of battle, major changes like the inclusion of women in the Air Force during the 1970s are included, as well as the RNZAF’s contribution to search and rescue.

“One perhaps surprising inclusion is the RNZAF’s contribution to our farming heritage through pioneering the practice of aerial topdressing. With support from the government after World War II, pilots from the RNZAF developed the technique which was rapidly taken up elsewhere in the world in the 1950s.

“For military history enthusiasts, we’re also releasing three first day covers and a miniature sheet booklet with a detailed timeline which allows them to discover more about the moments in history captured in these designs.

“We’re very proud to be able to mark this milestone in the RNZAF's history and to celebrate the men and women who have contributed to our nation over the past 75 years,” Simon Allison says.

The 75 years of the RNZAF stamp issue will be officially launched at Parliament on 14 March by the Minister of Defence, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman.

The Parliamentary launch will also include a commemorative legal tender silver proof coin issued by New Zealand Post to celebrate 75 years of the RNZAF. The coin depicts a pilot from the past in flight gear with a back drop of distinctive Skyhawk aircrafts flying in "missing man" formation - an aerial salute used to represent loss that is performed as a flypast at funerals and memorial events. The RNZAF roundel is also included in the design in full colour. The coin is presented alongside a pin depicting the official RNZAF badge.

The 75 years of the RNZAF Stamps and Coin will be available from 15 March through selected PostShops, at REAL Aotearoa stores in Auckland and Wellington, online at www.nzcoins.co.nz and http://www.nzpost.co.nz/stamps or by phoning 0800 692 646. Both will also be available, along with a special date stamp, at the Air Force Air Show at the RNZAF Base in Ohakea on 31 March.

Note: New Zealand Post is authorised by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as the only official issuer of legal tender New Zealand commemorative coins.

For more information: Simon Allison, Sales and Marketing Manager, Stamps and Coins, New Zealand Post 04 496 4758 or 027 581 8161.

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