Past and present personnel feature in a set of commemorative stamps issued by New Zealand Post to mark the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy.

The stamps and their first day cover envelopes will be unveiled at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy in Devonport tomorrow.

The issue comprises six gummed stamps, each representing a different aspect of the navy's history and its role in New Zealand.

The design features a brass scuttle, recovered from the wreck of HMNZS Moa, a Bird-class minesweeper sunk by Japanese bombers in 1943.


Operation Neptune director Captain Andy Watts said the navy was honoured to be approached by NZ Post to mark the milestone anniversary.

"The stamp issue allows us to share with New Zealanders some significant events in the RNZN's history, from the loss of the HMS Neptune, which was the greatest loss of life suffered by the RNZN in a single incident, to the role of the navy following the Christchurch earthquake."

Commander Simon Griffiths, then Commanding Officer of frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, who features on the $3.30 stamp greeting his family after returning from a six-month deployment, said it was fitting that the role of families at home was profiled as part of the navy's story.

"Without the support of our families, who get on with the job at home, we wouldn't be able to do the work that we do," he said.

"That photo symbolises everybody's feelings and emotions when you come back. It's always an incredibly satisfying moment when you reconnect with family."

Former Midshipman Julie Wenham, from Rotorua, and former Chief Petty Officer Dave Auton, from Christchurch, also feature on the stamps and will join Commander Griffiths at the launch.

"New Zealand Post has strong links with the Defence Force going back over 100 years," said Simon Allison, head of stamps and coins at NZ Post.

"So we are very pleased to be able to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the navy with this special stamp issue, which highlights the many and varied roles undertaken by navy men and women,"

The stamps, which can be bought individually or in sets, will be available online and from NZ Post outlets around the country from tomorrow.