With its new stamp issue New Zealand Post takes us on a journey back to a time when New Zealand relied on its iconic graphic art to entice tourists from near and far. These classic travel posters helped build the tourism industry that now makes New Zealand world famous.
Up until the 1960s these iconic travel posters played a key role in enticing tourists to make the lengthy journey to visit Aotearoa, and encouraging "Kiwis" to see more of their own countryside. Decorating railway stations and public buildings, these posters reflected New Zealand's unique landscape, and created a sense of national identity and pride that remains today.
The Classic Travel Posters stamp issue features a selection of these posters – each rich in colour and a beautifully crafted work of art in its own right. The 20 posters selected showcase New Zealand's diverse scenery, from the snow-covered Southern Alps in the south to the sun-drenched beaches of Tauranga in the north. New Zealand's love of the outdoors is apparent through activities such as fishing, skiing and even sheep droving.
Our distinctive plant and bird life makes an appearance, as do the attractions of Maori culture, an important part of New Zealand's identity.
The 20 x 70c stamps in this issue are combined into one eye catching gummed stamp sheet that evokes a sense of nostalgia for the early years of New Zealand tourism.
StampNews.com has picked out a few stamps to tell the story of Classic Travel Posters further.
Napier: Railways Studios produced a large number of tourism posters featuring town destinations for outdoor holidays. This Napier poster was produced in 1933, and the Art Deco design reflects the style of the buildings being constructed at the time to replace those destroyed in the 1931 earthquake.
Tasman Empire Airways Ltd (TEAL): in the 1940s TEAL (now Air New Zealand) introduced flights between New Zealand and Australia, making New Zealand more accessible to international visitors. This poster, designed by Arthur Thompson in the 1950s, shows a carved Maori figure with the TEAL logo flying through its mouth.
Blue Baths, Rotorua: Leonard Mitchell has been referred to as the "father" of New Zealand poster art, and the Blue Baths, Rotorua poster was one of many that he designed. His work for the Tourist and Publicity Department in the 1930s captured distinctively New Zealand scenes for the overseas tourist, such as the "thermal wonderland" of Rotorua.
Sheep Droving: this Sheep Droving poster was designed by Marcus King in the 1930s and contrasts the delights of rural New Zealand with modernity by showing a mounted drover with a mob of sheep against snowcapped mountains in a valley of electricity pylons. Posters of this style used the silkscreen printing process.
Such graphic New Zealand works of art deserve to be seen on a large scale, so New Zealand Post created a poster (measuring 535mm x 705mm) featuring all 20 "classic travel posters" that will look great on one's wall. One can receive the poster free with each stamp sheet or set of first day covers ordered!