14 Mar 2012

NZ Post honours 75 years of 'Warriors in the Sky'

8:27 pm on 14 March 2012

A new stamp series and commemorative coin have been released on Wednesday, to honour the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Airforce.

The 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. They showcase different aircraft used over the years, including the Tiger Moths and Skyhawks of the past to the state-of-the-art NH-90 helicopters.

The coin displays a fighter pilot in front of three Skyhawk planes.

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A New Zealand Post spokesperson, Simon Allison, says New Zealand Post worked closely with the RNZAF and the Air Force Museum in Wigram to develop designs that 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.

Major changes such as the inclusion of women in the Air Force during the 1970s are included, as well as the RNZAF's contribution to search and rescue.

Mr Allison says the RNZAF's contribution to our farming heritage through pioneering the practice of aerial topdressing is also included. "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."

New Zealand Post is also releasing three first day covers and a miniature sheet booklet with a detailed timeline about the history captured in the designs.

The stamp issue was officially launched at Parliament by Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.

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