New Zealand Philatelic Federation – a brief history

Organised philately began in New Zealand with the formation of the (Royal) Philatelic Society of New Zealand in 1888. Other early clubs are known to have existed in Dunedin (1892), Blenheim (1894), Auckland (1895), Wanganui (1896), Palmerston North (1899), Gisborne (before 1900), and Nelson (1902). Little is known about these early societies and most appear to have had but a short life. Of our present day societies, the Royal (1888), Christchurch (1911) and Dunedin (1913) rank as the oldest.

After the First World War other societies were established: Wanganui (1921), Auckland, Manawatu, and Wellington (1922); Timaru (1928); and the Air Mail Society of New Zealand (1930). The Air Mail Society of New Zealand was the second national society in the country and the first of several to cater for specific interests. Others were formed later, including the Postal History Society of New Zealand and the Thematic Association of New Zealand.

A national body – the New Zealand Philatelic Council – was formed in 1922 and held congresses in 1924 and 1926. The late Mr R J G Collins is recorded as still being its Secretary in 1936, but the Association does not appear to have gained the support of more than a handful of societies and seems to have simply faded into oblivion.

A further attempt to form a truly national body was made in 1940, a meeting being held at the Dominion Museum on 17 April of that year. It was agreed to prepare a draft constitution for the proposed body but the disruptions caused by the war forced the matter to be delayed for the duration.

Our present Federation, then known as the Federation of New Zealand Philatelic Societies lnc was formed on 13 March 1948, the first annual meeting being held on 2 October 1948. Virtually all New Zealand societies are affiliated to the present day body. The first fifty years provides historical details and celebrates Federation’s first haf century.

The aims of the body are as set out in the Rules and Regulations.

In 1985 the name of the national body was changed to the New Zealand Philatelic Federation lnc. Since its inception in 1948 the Federation’s rules had remained basically unaltered. However, by the late 1980s, it was apparent that the New Zealand Philatelic Federation was becoming an unwieldy organisation and that some reform was necessary. At the 1991 annual general meeting it was agreed to restructure the body, the first meeting under the restructured constitution taking place in Wellington on 22 March 1992.

Meetings of the Federation executive committee were held quarterly from 1992 to 2000 and since then tri-annually (one of which being in association with the annual general meeting). The annual general meeting is held in November.


The Federation of New Zealand Philatelic Societies (Inc) J C Whibley
NZ International Stamp Exhibition, July 1955 Catalogue, page 38
Congress Programme Whakatane 1967 National Stamp Exhibition Catalogue
A Century of Philately – A History of New Zealand Stamp Collecting W N Strachan
The New Zealand Stamp Collector various issues 1922 – 1936
The first fifty years Bryan Ogier