Cook Islands soldier honoured in latest NZ Post WWI series

New Zealand Post's latest series of World War I commemorative stamps features Solomon Isaacs. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand Post's latest series of World War I commemorative stamps features Solomon Isaacs. Photo / Supplied

A soldier from the Cook Islands who served in World War I is being honoured by New Zealand Post in its latest series of commemorative stamps.

Solomon Isaacs was with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War and will feature in the "1916 Courage and Commitment" series released early next month by New Zealand Post.

The series has 10 commemorative stamps and is the third instalment in NZ Post's five-year World War I stamp and coin programme.

The family of Mr Isaacs has been involved in the development of the stamp and his grandson Isaac Solomona said it had been an emotional journey discovering his grandfather'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."

The 10 stamps look at the effects of war both at home in New Zealand 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.

"My prayer and hope is to be able to travel from Rarotonga to France and touch the wall of the Arras tunnel where he [Isaacs] etched his name in 1917," Mr Solomona said.

Simon Allison, head of stamps and coins at New Zealand Post, said the reality of the war set in at Gallipoli and by 1916 few New Zealanders had been left unscathed.

"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."

He said 100 years on NZ Post was paying tribute to those who served and to those who lost their lives in World War I.

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

NZ Post's Solomon Isaacs stamp.
NZ Post's Solomon Isaacs stamp.

The stamps and coins are available from April 6.

Mr Isaacs' story is told in more detail in a special commemorative booklet available online and at all NZ Post shops.

The booklet also has more information about World War I as well as 12 unique miniature stamp sheets.

Like the stamps and coins, the booklet can be ordered online at: www.nzpost.co.nz/ww1.

NZH

- NZ Herald

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