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A new stamp issue honouring New Zealand's 22 Victoria Cross holders is to be issued without the country's best-known living war hero.

NZ Post will launch the Victoria Cross - the New Zealand Story, a series of 22, 60c stamps, on April 14.

Every VC winner from Captain Charles Heaphy, who fought in the New Zealand Wars, to Sergeant James Allen Ward, who fought in World War II, will be pictured.

But Corporal Willie Apiata will be represented on his stamp by his medal.

New Zealand Defence Force medals policy adviser Jack Hayes said Corporal Apiata did not want his face to be used.

"Corporal Apiata, VC, was involved in early discussions about the stamp issue, and while supportive of honouring those who have been awarded the VC in the past, he felt it was not appropriate for his image to be on a postage stamp at this stage.

"He, like all New Zealanders, is indebted to the bravery of those whose exploits are celebrated on these stamps."

The Herald understands the Special Air Service soldier was uncomfortable being recognised along with the other VC soldiers, who are all dead whereas he is still living.

Apiata was awarded a VC in 2007 - the first in 60 years - for rescuing an injured colleague while under fire in Afghanistan.

A book outlining each soldier's bravery will also be published.

Meanwhile, NZ Post is also moving to use the spelling "Whanganui" in its business. The "Wh" spelling is being used in datestamps applied by the agency's collectibles centre in Whanganui/Wanganui, spokesman Keith FitzPatrick said.

In 2009, after months of public debate about changing the spelling of Wanganui to Whanganui, Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson said both forms could be used officially.

Neither name has been gazetted, so organisations are free to use whichever they prefer.

Mr Williamson said at the time that he expected Crown agencies to move to "Wh" over time. A minor law change required for this is expected this year.