Category: Postal History

Maori Council Frank, Arapawa District

Maori Council Frank, Arapawa District

I recently purchased a collection of stamps, postcards and this Maori Council Frank from a British Auction House.

The Maori Councils were originally set up in 1902 by the Government to control the “Health, Welfare and Moral well-being of Maori”. They operated at regional level, laying down rules of social control through bylaws which were valid in their own areas. They were partly funded by a “dog tax” imposed by the Government which was not universally acceptable. There were eventually 25 Maori Councils.

The Chairmen of the Maori Councils had “Free Frank” privileges, and could post letters and postcards without charge on official Maori Council business. The Maori Council Frank for their area was applied and signed by the Chairman. This is signed by Haparota Pore Pukekohatu.

Most surviving Maori Council Franks are cut-outs from covers and postcards.

Interestingly this item was featured in “The New Zealand Bulletin”, Campbell Paterson’s Newsletter, Volume XXIII, Number 12, July 1986. They state that “these franks, although actually of 20th century origin, must be among the scarcest of all N. Z. postal markings. No doubt because of their scarcity, reference information is very sketchy indeed”.

See Maoritanga, Frame 3, pages 3, 4  and 5 for other examples, and Council franks on cover and a postcard.

Type 6 Officially Sealed Label on Cover

Type 6 Officially Sealed Label on Cover

First Recorded Type 6 Officially Sealed Label on Cover

This cover was recently purchased on the internet. It is the first that I have seen on a cover, although there is the possibility of another reported by Andrew Dove.

The cover is registered from Mapua (Tasman Bay) to Dunedin. Postage and registration is paid with 4 x 1d Dominion stamps cancelled with  2 x “MAPUA 23 MR 26” G-class datestamps and one for the registration label. Label applied to bottom of cover, endorsed “torn” and initialed by two officers. The flap of the cover is also sealed with five selvedge pieces from a stamp sheet, one with part sheet number N58…

The Type 6 Officially Sealed label has Mail 76 (old No. P.O. 134) outside the frame of the label, bottom left.

The four other recorded Type 6 labels are undated. The challenge is to find more of these Type 6 labels on cover. While it is conjectured that these followed the type 5 labels, they are likely to be dated 1924. Because Mapua is a small Post Office, old supplies of labels were probably used.

Reference: “Post Office “Found Open – Officially Sealed Labels Part 3: 1903 – 1920 Types 4, 5 and 6 Labels” Alan Craig, Lindsay Chitty; The New Zealand Stamp Collector Vol. 97 Number 4, Dec. 2017.

M. V. Gripsholm Mail, Diplomatic Exchange Vessel, Far East WWII

M. V. Gripsholm Mail, Diplomatic Exchange Vessel, Far East WWII

When the USA entered WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, there was a need to repatriate diplomats, civilians caught in the Far East at the wrong time, and sick and wounded prisoners of war. The USA sent a message 8th December 1941 to the US Charge d’Affaires in Berne, Switzerland to start negotiations through their Tokyo Embassy. The result of this was that the M. V. Gripsholm (a vessel from neutral Sweden) was chartered by the USA for transfers of prisoners, mail and supplies.

It was agreed that the first exchange would be at the neutral port of Lorenço Marques, Portuguese Mozambique. The Gripsholm carried approx. 1500 passengers. The Japanese used two vessels, the M. V. Asama Maru with 850 repatriates from Yokohama, Hong Kong Saigon and Singapore, and the Conte Verde from Shanghai and Singapore with 640.

The second voyage exchange was at the neutral port of Marmagao (Portuguese India). The Gripsholm carried 1513 from New York, Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo, and the Teia Maru about 1500 from Yokohama, Shanghai, Hong Kong, San Fernando (Philippines), Saigon and Singapore.

Items of mail from the first voyage are particularly scarce. There was little time from the end of the negotiations to the sailing of the ship from New York to advertise that mail would be carried. Tett records 10 known items of mail carried on the first voyage.

This 16 page exhibit is a new exhibit and has been entered into the Ausvipex 2020 virtual one frame exhibition for its first showing. I am pleased to say I gained a Gold award with 86 points.

Repatriation Mail, Japanese Occupation of the Far East WWII 1942 – 46

Repatriation Mail, Japanese Occupation of the Far East WWII 1942 – 46


This is a five frame exhibit, and I am currently in the process of extending it to 8 Frames.


The following awards have been given for this exhibit:

China 2016: Asia International Stamp Exhibition: Large Vermeil. With Felicitations

Hong Kong 2015: Large Vermeil

Capital Stamp Show 2015: Gold, 88 points

Canberra Stamp Show 2014: Large Gold, 90 points. Special Prize, Best First Exhibit

Frame 1

Frame 2

Frame 3

Frame 4

Frame 5

Correspondence and Photographs Stalag VIIIB, WWII

Correspondence and Photographs Stalag VIIIB, WWII

My interest in Stalag VIIIB, German Prisoner of War Camp, started with the fact that many New Zealand POWs ended up here, including some friends of my family.
Stalag VIII-B Lamsdorf was a German Army prisoner of war camp, later renumbered Stalag-344, located near the small town of Lamsdorf (now called Łambinowice) in Silesia. The camp initially occupied barracks built to house British and French prisoners in World War I. At this same location there had been a prisoner camp during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
It was opened in 1939 to house Polish prisoners from the German September 1939 offensive. Later approximately 100,000 prisoners from Australia, Belgium, British India, British Palestine, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, the United States and Yugoslavia passed through this camp. In 1941 a separate camp, Stalag VIII-F was set up close by to house the Soviet prisoners.
In 1943, the Lamsdorf camp was split up, and many of the prisoners (and Arbeitskommando) were transferred to two new base camps Stalag VIII-C Sagan (modern Żagan and Stalag VIII-D Teschen (modern Český Těšín). The base camp at Lamsdorf was renumbered Stalag 344.
The Soviet Army reached the camp on 17 March 1945.
Later the Lamsdorf camp was used by the Soviets to house Germans, both prisoners of war and civilians. Polish army personnel being repatriated from POW camps were also processed through Lamsdorf and sometimes held there as prisoners for several months. Some were later released, others sent to Gulags in Siberia

Cover to meet “Gripsholm”

Cover to meet “Gripsholm”

When the USA entered WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, WWII, there was a need to repatriate diplomats, civilians caught in the Far East at the wrong time, and sick and wounded prisoners of war. The USA sent a message 8th December 1941 to the US Charge d’Affaires in Berne, Switzerland to start negotiations through their Tokyo Embassy. The result of this was that the M. V. Gripsholm (a vessel from neutral Sweden) was chartered by the USA for transfers of prisoners, mail and supplies. It was agreed that the first exchange would be at the neutral port of Lorenço Marques, Portuguese Mozambique.

The Japanese had two exchange vessels. The M. V. Asama Maru left Yokohama with 416 repatriates, picking others up at Hong Kong and Saigon. The Conte Verde left Shanghai with 640 repatriates and picked others up at Singapore.

This cover was purchased in a lot of three, on E-bay. With the COVID-19 lock-down and disruption of international postage, the item was sent March 18th from the USA, with a transit time of 9 weeks.

This cover is addressed to Wilhelmina Kuyf who was a passenger with the first Diplomatic Exchange voyage leaving Lourenco Marques July 28th 1942 arriving New York August 25 1942. The passenger manifest lists her as United States Citizen. Her passport was issued Tientsin, China March 21 1941, recorded as a female aged 41.

Her address was recorded as 626 W. Allegheny Ave Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, the return address given on the cover.

The cover has a 3c USA adhesive with “PHILADELPHIA PA AUG 16 1942” slogan cancellation; Cover opened by Customs and resealed with brown tape; Purple boxed cachet “PORT of “NY” AUG 19 1942 Examined and passed “152” U.S. Customs Officer”.

Exhibiting Classes

Exhibiting Classes


This is by no means an extensive explanation on the different classes of collecting and exhibiting, but is a help to those starting.


Traditional philately is mostly about the study of postage stamps. Traditional Philately has the broadest scope of all the exhibiting categories, allowing all aspects of philately to be included in one form or another. However, the focus remains the postage stamps, and all other aspects should support the basic story of the postage stamps in some way.

Check the following link:

FIP Traditional Philately

Postal History

Postal History is mostly about the routes, rates and marcophily associated with delivery of mail. Marcophily is the specialized study and collection of postmarks, cancellations and postal markings applied by hand or machine on mail that passes through a postal system. 

Check the following link:

FIP Postal History

Postal Stationery

Postal stationery is a postal item such as a stamped envelope, letter sheet, post card lettercard, aerogramme or wrapper with an imprinted stamp on it indicating prepayment of postage. In other words, they are large stamps.

Check the following link:

FIP Postal Stationery


This is the class that encourages youth in philately. There are three classes for youth, and these are dependent on age:

  • Age Class “A” – 10 – 15 years (1 to 3 frames)
  • Age Class “B” – 16 -18 years (2 to 4 frames)
  • Age Class “C” – 19 – 21 years (3 to 5 frames)

New Zealand has a Youth Council and the following link to the website is full of interesting material. There are Youth Groups in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Youth Council of New Zealand

FIP Youth Philately


Airmail as a collecting area is about aviation history and the impact on communication that aeroplanes and other aerial machines have on the delivery of mail.

Check the following link:

FIP Aerophilately


Thematic Philately is collecting stamps and other philatelic items that illustrate a theme. Thematic Philately is dynamic in that it allows for continuous improvement.

Check the following link:

FIP Thematic Philately

Open Class

Open Class is a relatively new class. It broadens the range of philately in that it allows philatelists to include objects from other collecting fields in support of the philatelic material shown. Philatelic material must be at least 50%.

Check the following link:

FIP Open Philately

Picture Postcards

Picture Postcards is the class that is growing in popularity for a number of reasons. They provide a social historical aspect which is of great interest to the general public, and they are relatively inexpensive.

The following two links provide more details.

FIP Picture Postcards

Postcard Society New Zealand


The Frugal Philately class is not an FIP class. The value of the exhibit at the time of exhibition should not be more than NZ$250.00 per frame.

Frugal NZPF

One Frame

A One frame exhibit is about a subject that is restricted in scope that it can best be exhibited in one frame only. It is often the way that a beginner to exhibiting can put something together with a minimum of cost compared to multi-frame exhibits.

Check the following link.

FIP One Frame

Anzac Day – A Special Day for our Family

Anzac Day – A Special Day for our Family

Joseph Chitty


Joseph Chitty, my Grandfather served in WWI and was killed at the battle of Messines, Belgium 17th June 1917. He left behind a wife, Lila, and three young boys; Gilbert (5 years old) , Geoffrey my father (3 years old), and Clarence (1 year old).
I am fortunate that my Uncle Gilbert gave me the only remaining correspondence relating to Joseph Chitty that was sent to his father Jessie Chitty and other relevant correspondence relating to his death because I had taken a great interest in this. Letters home to his wife (my Grandmother) had been lost in a house fire after the end of the war.

Imagine receiving telegrams like any one of these!

A little bit about Joseph’s background

Joseph Chitty. Rfn, 10998. 4th Bn 3rd (Rifle) Brigade.

Born 23/3/1890 at Lockner farm, Chilworth, near Guildford, South London. The farm was leasehold and the tenants were Joseph’s parents, Jesse Chitty and his wife. Jesse was born in India, his father Tom being in the Indian Army. Lockner was a grazing property and had stables. The property is still in its original state, although the stream running through it is no longer navigable as it was during the First World War. A gunpowder factory was located here and the gunpowder shipped out by barge.

Joseph’s parents came to New Zealand and lived in Manurewa. Joseph married Lilla Jane Monrath Johnstone 3/6/1911, and they had three sons. They lived in Hawera, Whangarei and Hamilton. Geoffrey Marion Chitty and Gilbert Lloyd Chitty were born in Hawera. Clarence Joseph Jack Chitty was born in Whangarei.

Joseph enlisted in the First World War and was sent to France. He served in the Battle of the Somme and on 4th October 1916 joined B Company, and Platoon Commander B. Mollison’s platoon at Messines, Belgium. He died in action on 7th June 1917 at Messines. In a letter to Joseph Chitty’s father, B. Mollison in a testimonial to Joseph’s bravery, made the following comments.

“On the 4th July 1916 he joined B Company and was posted to my platoon and I very soon sorted him out as a likely man and he very early proved his worth Joseph Chitty and became one of my best scouts. His first real chance arrived when the platoon had to make a raid on the Hun lines; as you probably know. Sergeant McConachie and he did all the scouting and on the night of the raids these two ensured the success of the stunt by the daring way they went about their job of clearing dugouts full of Huns and they did not take prisoners but bombed everyone they came across. For this act I recommended him for a decoration and also the Sergeant who got the DCM but I do not know why he did not get one, but you can believe me that if the one deserved the DCM, the other did also, because they worked together and did the same work.

Later on I again submitted his name for decoration for the same act and for good work as a scout, but with no better results. Now things were quiet until our last stunt at Messines and in this attack he simply outshone everyone in the Battalion; on the way over the infantry was held up in one sector by machine gun fire, when Joe worked his way round to the rear of the emplacement and captured the gun and crew, but as our job was further on he handed them on to other N Z troops and carried on with his own job and collected about 30 prisoners in all before reaching our own objective. After the men were all set to work consolidating our position Joe and I explored all dugouts in the vicinity to make sure there were no more Huns about. We were fairly short of tools so your boy went into Messines several times under heavy shell fire to try to find some shovels and sandbags. During one of his trips he found a bucket of good water and some dry tea, and he evidently got to work, because you can imagine our surprise when he arrived with hot tea for the Platoon.

After all our work was finished and we had settled down for a well deserved rest, a Hun 5.9 shell landed into our trench and your poor son got the full force of it and was killed instantly and was buried close by his own section and a wooden cross was erected over his grave at map reference Ploegsteert 28.S.W.4.33a8-1. I enclose a small map with a mark approximately the location of his grave. It will probably be a relief to you to know that ever since being in the Company I have never since seen such a gloom pass over any body of men as did the news of the death of Joe Chitty.”

Click left image for the full map enclosed with the letter. 

Gillian and I have been to Belgium twice to connect with this family tragedy. On the first occasion, we arrived at Messines and called at the Public Relations Office. A very helpful man, who hardly spoke a word of English, looked at the map for a long time and said I can take you to the exact place where Joseph was buried. The reason he took such a long time was that Messines had been obliterated by the war, and even the Cathedral has been rebuilt on a different site. The only standing structure that he could recognize was the “Chapel du Voleur” (Chapel of the Thief) which survived the war, and was on the opposite side of the road to where Joseph was buried. This is now a paddock with cattle grazing. The Chapel is  a small Roman Catholic Chapel which are common throughout Europe containing effigies and religious items. 

Other Correspondence

The following additional items of correspondence are displayed:

We Now Know a Bit More

Since the WWI Veteran’s details have been made available on-line, we now have a hint why the DCM wasn’t awarded to Joseph!

Like many brave people, discipline was sometimes an issue, and Joseph was no exception. He once had his pay docked for “playing games of chance”, and on more than one occasion for being “absent without leave”. The last incident was just prior to him being killed, and after he was killed the penalty rescinded.

The Ruhleben Civilian Internee Camp of WWI

The Ruhleben Civilian Internee Camp of WWI


When Britain declared war on Germany at the beginning of WWI, they rounded up all the German men who happened to be in Britain at the time, interring them in a number of different camps. The Germans responded by interring all of the British and British Empire people who happened to be in Germany at the time in one camp at Ruhleben, on the road between Berlin and Spandau. This camp was made from a racecourse, and the prisoners lived in the horse boxes.

Exhibition Results

Stampex Adelaide 2017: 84 Points, Large Vermeil

Singapore 2015 World Stamp Exhibition: 80 Points

Baypex 2014: Large Gold

Upper Hutt 2013: Gold with Felicitations