Stamp 1935 New Zealand ½d Fantail – off paper
1935 Pictorials series
The fantail or ‘pīwakawaka’ in Māori, is a very sociable New Zealand native. The bird’s name derives from its beautiful tail of twelve feathers, which broadly expands as the bird flits about. In the background of the design is one of the best-known flowers of the New Zealand bush, the beautiful clematis, which is particularly appropriate, as both the bird and the flower are usually found near the edge of the forest.
By 1931 several of the plates that had been used to produce the King George V stamps were becoming worn. It was thought that as the King’s portrait had been used for sixteen years there would be no objection to the introduction of a new pictorial issue. Cabinet approved the proposal and as a public competition had proved so popular for the 1898 issue it was decided to arrange a similar competition on this occasion.
Entries were divided into subject groups and it was agreed that there should be three depicting New Zealand fauna, three representing scenery, three devoted to Māori subjects, two presenting agricultural and pastoral scenes, and one each portraying an historical subject, sport and Māori art.
The 1/2d and 4d stamps were designed by J Fitzgerald, the 1d by C H & R J G Collins, the 1 1/2d by M Matthews, the 2d by H W Young, the 2 1/2d, 3d, 8d and 3s by L C Mitchell, the 5d by R E Tripe and W J Cooch, the 6d by T I Archer, the 9d by I F Calder, the 1s by M King and the 2s by T H Jenkins.
The 9d value was originally surface printed by Waterlow & Sons then later by the New Zealand Government Printer. The other values in the issue were recess printed by Thomas De La Rue until 1941 when for a period of time (due to war conditions) the printing and perforation of the stamps was a matter of co-operation between Thomas De La Rue, Waterlow & Sons and Harrison & Sons (who perforated one value printed by De La Rue).