What is a commissioner?

A commissioner is appointed by the New Zealand Philatelic Federation (NZPF) for an overseas exhibition to:

  1. promote and support the exhibition by obtaining exhibits from New Zealand exhibitors;
  2. take care of the interests of these exhibitors and to help them by acting as their intermediary with the exhibition organising committee; and
  3. transport the exhibits to and from the exhibition and look after them during the exhibition and at other times while in their care.

Commissioners are ambassadors of New Zealand. They represent the country and NZPF. It is important that the customs of the countries which they visit are followed, including proper dress and decorum.

There is fun in being a commissioner and new friends will be made, BUT there is also a great deal of responsibility to the exhibitors and their exhibits, and to NZPF. All of those who have acted in this role say it can be hard work, so a person should not be under any illusions when accepting the job.


Purpose and extent of these guidelines

These guidelines have been freely adapted from a previous Federation document (Section D3 of the previous Federation Resource Kit) and the FIP ‘Guidelines for the Duties and Accreditation of National Commissioners’ as approved by the FIP Board in Luoyang 2009. They are also based on the experiences of New Zealand Commissioners to FIP, FIAP and other overseas exhibitions. These guidelines apply to New Zealand commissioners appointed to FIP and FIAP exhibitions (in accordance with the Individual Regulations [IREX] for such exhibitions) and generally to national exhibitions in Accord countries such as Australia. They are intended to help less experienced commissioners and exhibitors. Therefore no apology is given for stating what may appear obvious to experienced commissioners. The guidelines have tried to cover all aspects of a commissioner’s duties and responsibilities. A degree of common sense is necessary to decide which aspects of the guidelines apply to all exhibitions and which would apply only to either overseas national or international exhibitions.


Some general obligations

  1. Commissioners are appointed by and are responsible to NZPF.
  2. The ‘General Regulations of the FIP for Exhibitions’ [GREX] set out the conditions and duties of commissioners – refer Articles 21 to 29 – which can be found at GREX-English.pdf.
  3. The GREX take precedence over the separate FIP ‘Guidelines for the Duties and Accreditation of National Commissioners’ which can be found at www.f-i-p.ch/regulation/general-commissioners.htm.   New Zealand commissioners to international exhibitions with FIP or FIAP patronage will be expected to follow the FIP Guidelines in addition to other rules and guidelines in this document.
  4. These guidelines generally apply to FIP and FIAP exhibitions. For Australia and other Accord countries there may be slightly different requirements – these are mentioned. However, the Commissioner should be aware of any specific agreement (Accord) between NZPF and the host country (see https://nzpf.org.nz/about-us/international-involvement/).
  5. Individual Regulations [IREX] for the exhibition may lay down requirements unique to that event.


Appointment of a commissioner


Exhibition organising committee request

An exhibition organising committee requesting a commissioner will do so through the NZPF. This may be up to two years before the exhibition.


Qualifications considered by NZPF

The considerations for appointment include the qualifications listed in the FIP Guidelines – these are repeated here because of their importance.

3.1  Essential
  The Commissioner must have or be:
3.1.1 A philatelist
3.1.2 Attended at least one overseas FIP Exhibition as an exhibitor or juror or have served as a Commissioner at an exhibition organized by a Continental Federation.
3.1.3 Conversant with FIP Statutes, GREX, GREV’s and SREVs and Guidelines.
3.1.4 Reasonably fluent in one of FIP languages, preferably English, because it is the normal language used by the philatelic community.
3.1.5 Most important of all, the Commissioner should command the respect and confidence of the exhibitors in handling their exhibits.
3.2 Desirable.
  The Commissioner must have or be:
3.2.1 Able and willing to communicate promptly with the Exhibition Management.
3.2.2 Even tempered and ready to solve problems.
3.2.3 Willing to travel, devote time and convey the exhibits to the exhibition.
3.2.4 Physically fit.
3.2.5 Able to spare time to attend the exhibition for the entire duration.
3.2.6 Prepared to incur out of pocket expenses if these are not reimbursed by the FIP Member.
3.2.7 Live in a place easily accessible to overseas flights and with facilities for temporary storage of exhibits in a secure location.

In addition, it is desirable the person has had previous overseas travel experience and, for FIAP and FIP exhibitions the person appointed will normally have previously served as a commissioner to an Australian National exhibition so they have some experience of dealing with Customs in another country but without any language problems.


NZPF selection process

Australian exhibitionsThe appointment is as a commissioner/judge in terms of the APF/NZPF Accord. Judging at most Australian exhibitions is seen as an opportunity to provide wider experience for a ‘new’ judge (ie one who has judged at least once after they have completed their final apprenticeship). More experienced judges, who have previously acted as commissioner/judge to an Australian exhibition will be chosen by NZPF:

  1. for exhibitions involving the Australasian Challenge; or
  2. where a judge with experience in a specific discipline is requested by APF or the organising committee; or
  3. to provide increased experience and exposure to a judge who, with NZPF support, has applied for an FIAP apprenticeship; or
  4. to provide NZ FIAP or FIP qualified judges who may not have judged recently an opportunity to apply their skills; or
  5. where no ‘new’ judge is available for appointment.

FIP and FIAP exhibitions

NZPF will appoint a commissioner who, in its opinion, has shown their competence in the position or has detailed knowledge in respect of the specialised classes or the country in which the exhibition is to be held.

Also considered are any FIAP Executive Committee (EXCO) or Congress meetings and FIP Congresses or Commission meetings that are to be held at the exhibition.

NZPF will also consider the need to give experience or exposure to individuals who are progressing through international judging ranks at an FIAP or FIP level.

For an FIP exhibition, FIP judges may also be asked if they are available for nomination as a judge. With FIAP exhibitions judge nominations are not submitted because judges are appointed by FIAP and the organising committee without reference to NZPF.

Where a commissioner to an FIAP or FIP exhibition exceeds a specified number of accepted entries and is then appointed as a judge at that exhibition there is an expectation they relinquish their commissioner role and NZPF must appoint a replacement commissioner.

Other overseas exhibitions

These include National exhibitions:

  • within the FIAP region which may be subject to an accord (eg UAE); or
  • those with some degree of FIP or Continental Federation [ie FEPA (Europe) or FIAF (Americas)] recognition and/or support; or
  • where a special invitation has been extended by the organising committee or national body for New Zealand participation.

NZPF considers such exhibitions on a case-by-case basis.


Confirmation of appointment

On being appointed, the secretary of NZPF will advise the appointee who is required to confirm their acceptance of the position as commissioner in writing. At that time the Commissioner is required to send to the secretary of NZPF details of their postal address, email address, telephone (landline and/or mobile), fax number (if they have one) and, generally only in the case of FIP and FIAP exhibitions, a recent good quality portrait photograph. The secretary of NZPF will notify the exhibition organising committee and where appropriate the Commissioner General of the appointment along with the details that have been provided with a copy to the commissioner. Correspondence by email (with letters attached as PDF files where this is considered desirable) will suffice in most circumstances.


Communication after commissioner is appointed

From the time o f appointment, all communication will be between the exhibition organising committee and the commissioner. Exhibitors are not allowed to contact the organising committee direct. The commissioner is obliged to keep NZPF informed at all times and regular reports must be sent for presentation to its Executive Committee meetings.


If the commissioner is unable to continue

If the appointed person is unable to continue as Commissioner, the secretary of NZPF is to be notified immediately and all entry forms, correspondence and other documentation will be sent to the replacement commissioner immediately on appointment. The secretary of NZPF will notify the exhibition organising committee or Commissioner General of the situation and provide details of the replacement Commissioner.


Obtaining entries for the exhibition

The commissioner is tasked by the organising committee with obtaining at least the minimum number of completed entry forms of qualified exhibits by the due date for the exhibition. This is the first and major duty of the commissioner at this stage.


Qualified exhibits

For FIP and FIAP exhibitions the secretary of NZPF will advise the commissioner of the number of exhibits required and provide the commissioner with a list of exhibitors with qualified exhibits including eligibility to progress from 5 to 8 frames and contact details (where known). Adult exhibits will have achieved a National vermeil (75 points) although there may be a relaxation for an experimental class. Youth A (10-15 years) exhibits will have achieved 70 points while Youth B and C will have achieved 75 points at a national exhibition. For Australian national exhibitions there is no qualification requirement. Normally, however, it would be desirable any adult exhibitor has exhibited in New Zealand before and achieved at least 60 marks.


Seeking exhibits

For FIP and FIAP exhibitions, the commissioner should canvas all New Zealand resident exhibitors on the list of qualified exhibits to enter the exhibition. It may be necessary to do this more than once by email and/or personal contact. If FIP or FIAP medal level qualifications are not required, the commissioner should make information about the exhibition available to the widest audience including all NZPF member clubs. The commissioner should provide prospective exhibitors with the exhibition Prospectus (normally in Bulletin 1) and entry forms. [A sample letter is shown at Appendix A1.]


Checking entry forms

The commissioner must check each entry form to ensure that:

  • the entry is legible;
  • where required, the entrant’s FIP ID number is shown (secretary of NZPF has a list);
  • the correct class is shown;
  • correct number of frames requested (eg where an exhibitor should now exhibit 8 frames they have entered 8 or have provided some justification for retaining 5, or they have only entered 8 frames when qualified to do so – see FIP GREX Article 6.5;
  • if a Youth entry, that the age and frame requirements have been met;
  • if a literature entry, that the publication requirements have been met;
  • previous results are correct (ask secretary of NZPF if necessary);
  • any special requirements of the exhibition have been met (eg where a Modern exhibit is entered the correct time period is used, special experimental classes where different frame numbers or other criteria have been set, etc.);
  • a copy of the title page (may be a draft) is attached.


Sending entry forms

The Commissioner must send the checked entry forms to the exhibition organising committee so they arrive before the deadline set. The Commissioner must keep a copy of the entry form and title page.


Processing notices of confirmation


Receipt of acceptances and declines

The organising committee will send the commissioner a list of accepted exhibits (and sometimes those declined). The list normally shows:

  • exhibitor name
  • exhibit class
  • exhibit title
  • number of frames
  • frame fees payable


Declined exhibits or entries with reduced frame allocations

If an exhibit has been rejected or allocated fewer frames, consider the case carefully. Entries from persons appointed to the jury or from their families will automatically be rejected. FIP and FIAP exhibitions are normally over-subscribed. Commissioners should exercise discretion in hearing appeals from aggrieved exhibitors. Commissioners may seek clarification of the rationale for the allotment, or in cases where there is clearly a sound reason, request reconsideration. However, Commissioners should note that allocation of frames is normally made in accordance with the GREX and IREX. In addition, at least initially, all of the frames for the exhibition will have been allotted and a favourable reconsideration is not very likely. It is possible the organising committee may ask if entrants are willing to hold their exhibit as a reserve in case another entrant withdraws. The Commissioner should seek advice from the exhibitors who have been declined and advise the organising committee accordingly. For exhibits which have been allotted a lesser number of frames than requested it may be appropriate to query this with the organising committee. The number of frames shown in the Confirmation of Acceptance must be provided for exhibition and frames provided beyond those allotted will not be exhibited.


Tracking worksheet

At this time the commissioner should prepare a worksheet to track accepted exhibits through to completion of commissioner’s duties. This should include exhibit details, frame numbers, entry fees in overseas and local currency, payment of entry fees, NZPF charge, Customs levy, exhibit weights, receipt of exhibit, return of exhibit.


Advice to entrants

The commissioner advises applicants whether their exhibit has been accepted. Exhibitors must be advised that acceptance at this stage means they are obligated to provide their exhibits. Normally sent as an email to all accepted exhibitors. See sample in Appendix A2.Further information is communicated to entrants over the ensuing months up to the exhibition. The timing and content of each message will depend on circumstances but should cover, among other relevant information, a range of material including the items shown at Appendix A3.


Exhibit history and any changes made

The commissioner should ask exhibitors for the exhibiting history of their entry, what has been changed since last exhibited, items of particular note, and any other information about the exhibit which might be useful to the commissioner if asked about the exhibit by the organising committee before or during the exhibition. The commissioner should also pass this information to any New Zealand judge on the exhibition jury.


Material subject to restricted movement

Advice of acceptance is a good time to remind exhibitors, particularly those in the Open Philately class, that it is their responsibility to obtain appropriate certification of re-entry from the Ministry for Primary Industries for exhibits containing material where entry into New Zealand may be restricted e.g. feathers, straw, wood etc. A certified colour photo copy of the item or page concerned has proved to be acceptable in the past. Feathers and straw should NOT be included in exhibits sent to Australia – instead include a colour copy of the item or page. The commissioner must then advise the organising committee on arrival at the exhibition.


Confirmation of entry details

The commissioner must confirm with the organising committee all details are correct or advise any changes since the time the original entries were lodged. In some cases an acceptance confirmation form may be required to be signed by the exhibitor and returned to the organising committee.


Payment of fees

The commissioner is required to pay the organising committee the amount due by the due date (bank details will be provided).The commissioner should:

  1. Advise the exhibitor in advance of the date entry fees will be required.
  2. Calculate the amount due from each exhibitor in NZ$;
    • exhibition entry fees – apportion total cost in NZ$ (including bank fees);
    • add NZPF levy at NZ$10 per frame (youth and literature exempt);
    • add NZPF charge for NZ Customs entries at NZ$8 per frame (applies to Youth entries but not literature);
    • add any costs, if known, for return of exhibits and other expenses likely to be incurred in the handling of the exhibits apportioned to each exhibitor;

    ask exhibitors for the total to be paid by return direct into the commissioner’s bank account and advise them additional costs may be incurred to cover significant, unexpected and unavoidable expenses incurred by the commissioner (eg unexpected excess baggage fees) which may be requested from them at a later date.

  3. Send the entry fees to the organising committee by the due date using the currency and bank details stated either by letter or in the IREX – normally sent by electronic funds transfer. If so, the street address of the beneficiary is required as PO Box is not sufficient to comply with banks’ anti money laundering rules.
    [Note: if funds are to be sent via a bank in another country then the full amount will not be received due to extra fees deducted e.g. to Russia via a bank in Austria. These should be borne by the organising committee.]
  4. The NZPF levy and charge for Customs is payable by the commissioner to NZPF after the exhibition. The Commissioner may offset these against any travel allowance due (see section 7.1).


“No shows”

Once an exhibit has been confirmed, the exhibitor is obligated to provide the exhibit. In the event of a ‘No show”, the entry fees will not be returned. It may also result in a disqualification from exhibiting unless NZPF provides an acceptable reason within one month of the exhibition date. If an exhibit cannot be provided due to death or illness the organising committee must be advised. The commissioner is party to the contract established between the exhibition organising committee and an exhibitor once the notice of confirmation of acceptance has been signed or the commissioner has confirmed acceptance to the organising committee. If the commissioner has any reason to suspect an exhibit will not be provided for exhibiting, the NZPF and the organising committee must be advised of that possibility. The commissioner should inform the exhibitor of possible penalties for failing to exhibit. In all cases of failure to exhibit, the frame fees, including the NZPF levy, will be forfeited.


Transport of exhibits by commissioner


Carriage by commissioner

Exhibitors ask commissioners to carry their exhibits to the show for convenience, security and the benefit of their experience. Commissioners must obtain the agreement of exhibitors to carry their exhibits and obtain a signed ‘Exhibitor’s release’ agreement. Entries into Australia must be carried by the commissioner or officially appointed assistant commissioner to comply with arrangements made by the Australian Philatelic Federation for Customs clearance into and out of Australia.


Receipt by commissioner

It should be clearly identified as to where and when the exhibit will be transferred from the exhibitor to the commissioner. A period during which the exhibit must be transferred should be identified and advised to the exhibitor. It should be clearly stated that the commissioner will not be liable for any exhibit that arrives too late for the deadline. Commissioners should keep in mind in establishing the timing that they will need to check inventories, and to pack and repack exhibits for secure transport. A sample letter to exhibitors is provided in Appendix A.



Commissioners should not accept any liability for insurance arrangements. This should be done by the exhibitor for their own exhibits. Some exhibitions require exhibits to be insured and the commissioner should confirm that this has been done. In this case, commissioners may need to request exhibitors to supply a copy of the insurance certificate or policy and an assurance the exhibitor has a photocopy of the exhibit. This will allow the commissioner to react more quickly in case of loss or theft.


Packing and repacking

Preparation of the exhibits should be spelled out carefully. Most commissioners prefer to transport exhibits in containers with which they are familiar rather than custom-made containers from exhibitors. NZPF owns a purpose-built exhibit transport case which will be made available on request to [email protected] . This case will take about 32 frames including double pages but weighs 9kg – a possible problem with airline baggage weight restrictions. The case is to be stored by the commissioner who last used it who is then responsible to transport the case to the next commissioner needing to use it. Courier cost, if incurred, is recoverable from NZPF. The exhibit envelopes (normally supplied by the exhibition) will be the common denominator for all exhibits. If page sizes are standard or reasonably so [check the entry form], a frame of material will have a certain standard length and width. It is now a regular occurrence for double pages and wide pages to be accepted and used for large items. These should be kept to a minimum. Exhibitors should be made aware the commissioner will be repackaging exhibits as necessary, but that all care will be taken in keeping the exhibit together and as undisturbed as possible. When repackaging, the commissioner must be sure to keep the proper documentation with the respective exhibits.


Exhibitor release of liability

A release from liability in respect of the exhibit must be obtained from each exhibitor. All exhibitors should be asked to sign and return the release and should be made to understand the commissioner cannot accept their exhibits to carry if they refuse to do so. A sample release is provided in Appendix B. The relationship with exhibitors’ material has been described as “all care and no responsibility”. Equally, it is expected that commissioners will act in a responsible manner at all times.


Souvenirs and prizes

It is traditional for the Commissioner to have a number of low-value souvenirs for hand-out to other commissioners (and/or judges) and exhibition officials. Suitable souvenirs are provided by NZ Post but application must be made through the secretary of the NZ National Philatelic Trust. Application must be made at least 6 weeks prior to travel giving exhibition name, place, FIP or FIAP status, number required and postal address. [Such souvenirs are not normally given out at Australian national exhibitions.]It is normal for the organising committee of an FIAP and FIP exhibition to request a prize from NZPF to present at the exhibition. This prize is carried by the commissioner and passed over to the organising committee when they arrive at the venue or at some other agreed time. A photograph of the prize will have been taken well in advance so it can be pictured in the exhibition catalogue. Federation arranges the purchase of a number of prizes for upcoming exhibitions, provides the relevant photograph directly to the organising committee (with a copy to the commissioner) and ensures the prize is delivered to the commissioner before they leave New Zealand.


Arrangements for return of exhibits

  1. from overseas
    The commissioner normally brings back the same exhibits they have taken. The commissioner must check the entry form to confirm this. If this occurs the commissioner must provide the person carrying the exhibit a copy of the NZ Customs documentation so the exhibit can re-enter New Zealand without being charged GST.
  2. once in New Zealand
    See section 9.1.


Customs requirements


Proper Documentation

Procedures for customs and entry into the exhibition country are normally provided to commissioners. Some forms are required to be completed by exhibitors. It is the commissioner’s responsibility to ensure that exhibitors have completed these forms properly to ensure a smooth entry through customs. It is important to follow the specific instructions of the organising committee. Do not forget the necessary NZ Ministry for Primary Industries documentation from the exhibitor where required (see 5.7).


New Zealand Customs

It is solely the commissioner’s responsibility to comply with Customs requirements. NZ commissioners enjoy a good relationship with NZ Customs and it is in the interest of all exhibitors that this relationship is maintained.


Certificate of Export Form NZCS 502

Form NZCS 502 stamped at the airport of international departure may be suitable for an individual taking their own invited exhibit but is NOT to be used by NZ commissioners.


Export entry and import entry

All goods exported from NZ need to be cleared by Customs in a process known as “export entry clearance”. Likewise all goods brought into NZ need to be cleared by submitting an “import entry”. Export entry and import entries provide full details of the goods (valued at NZ$1,000 or more) to be exported or imported and are undertaken by a customs broker. Use of export and import entries complies with Customs requirements and should prevent problems on return. The main purpose is to prove exhibits have been taken out of NZ and are therefore not liable for GST on return. The export entry and import entry forms are legally binding documents and need to be accurately completed. Entries that contain errors or omissions may result in financial penalties or legal action. One point to watch is that Export Entries can only be lodged up to 24 hours before travel and this can be a problem if travelling on a Monday. [Note: A Carnet is not a suitable document – it relates to one year, is very expensive and is of no value in meeting customs requirements in the exhibition country.]



NZPF has appointed J F Ross Customs Broker Ltd, Auckland as their Customs agent to prepare and lodge export entry and import entry details with NZ Customs. Full contact details are as follows: J F Ross Custom Brokers Ltd, Administrator House, Level 3/44 Anzac Avenue, Auckland City
PO Box 1653, Auckland 1010
Phone: 09 379 0973; Mobile 027 477 2760; Fax 09 379 7991; E-mail [email protected]STEP 1
No later than SEVEN days before departure the commissioner needs to email Kevin Ross at the above address as follows:

To: [email protected]
Subject: Overseas stamp exhibition – request for export and import entry clearances
I have been appointed by the New Zealand Philatelic Federation (NZPF) as the NZ Commissioner taking exhibits to the [name of exhibition] exhibition to be held in [city, country] from [opening date] to [closing date] and returning with them.
You should already have been advised by NZPF. Could you please prepare Export and Import Entry clearances. The NZPF Customs Client Code should be used.
Your charges should be invoiced to NZPF.
Details of exhibits and my flights are on the form attached.
[Name of Commissioner]

Attached as Appendix C is an example of the form mentioned above.

The commissioner does not need to do anything with Customs on the way out – the Customs agent will prepare the Export Certificate and Export Delivery Order and email the commissioner a copy.

The commissioner must ensure these are received before they go. Export Entries have to be lodged within 24 hours before departure so if the commissioner is leaving on a Monday it is particularly important the documents are received.

The commissioner should print these and take a copy with them.

After the commissioner has left NZ the Customs agent will prepare the Import Delivery Order. This will be emailed to the commissioner who should check emails 2 days before departure. If the documents have not been received, the commissioner should email the Customs agent advising that as the commissioner is leaving their hotel soon, could they please email a copy of the Import Delivery Order.

STEP 4 arrival in NZ
On the Arrival Declaration Card the commissioner must declare “COMMERCIAL GOODS”.

The commissioner will need to advise Customs what they have and show the Import Delivery Order. Customs may want to examine the exhibits and or just check number of envelopes against the Import Delivery Order.

There should not be any problems but in case there are any queries or the commissioner has not received the Customs agent’s email, the commissioner must have available copies of the form sent to the Customs agent; the Export Certificate and Export Delivery Order; and the Commissioner’s copies of the exhibition entry forms.

STEP 5 Invoices to NZPF
The Customs agent will probably email their invoice to the commissioner. If correct the invoice should be forwarded by email to the NZPF Treasurer, stating it is correct and request payment. This email should be copied to [email protected]


Customs procedures in other countries

Different procedures will apply in different countries. The exhibition organising committee will arrange Customs formalities for the commissioner’s arrival and departure. The organising committee may insist the commissioner arrive and depart through a particular airport/point of entry. Also, it is often a requirement that exhibits are in separate cases to the commissioner’s personal belongings as exhibit cases are often sealed and held by Customs for separate transport to the exhibition where the commissioner can retrieve the cases from the customs room. Alternatively, the commissioner may be taken direct from the airport to the exhibition or other bin room check in facility such as post office premises (for example China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Russia, Thailand).For Australian exhibitions the commissioner should ensure the organising committee has made arrangements with Australian Customs and seek a copy of the entry form by email.

In a few circumstances (e.g. Canadian National exhibitions) the organising committee might indicate they will not get involved in customs issues.  In such cases the commissioner should ensure they have documentary evidence to present to Customs in the arrival country.  This should indicate the material they are carrying is intended for display and then taken intact out of the country after the exhibition.  Such evidence might be copies of the exhibitor’s release forms (showing they are carrying the exhibits on behalf of others to whom they will be returned), the Customs Agent advice form, return tickets, Export Certificate and Export Delivery Order and evidence from the organising committee they are expected at the exhibition.


Point of Entry

In some countries the commissioner will be met by post office or exhibition officials before clearing Customs. They can assist the commissioner in obtaining a ‘visa on arrival’ and in clearing Customs. When entering a country it will be necessary for commissioners (and exhibitors carrying their own exhibit) to clear Customs and Immigration. When dealing with Customs officials, the commissioner must not offer comments about the value of what is being carried, regardless of how expensive the material may be or how important as commissioner they consider themselves to be. Customs procedures can usually take one of two basic forms. First, the free movement in and out with no concern by customs officials – this would likely occur for those with nothing to declare. The second form involves a more detailed review by Customs officials. At all times commissioners are cautioned to be courteous with Customs officials. If any difficulties are encountered in passing border Customs, commissioners are instructed to contact the organising committee – details will be in the IREX, exhibition bulletins or other correspondence – and should have this information with them.


Travel Arrangements

Commissioners are responsible for arranging their travel and for the costs incurred in travelling to and from the exhibition.


Commissioner’s travel allowance

Under the Accord with Australia, the organising committee pays for economy Trans-Tasman air fares for the NZ commissioner and provides accommodation. A travel allowance is payable by NZPF to the commissioner where the commissioner is not on the jury or does not receive any other funding for travel. The ZEAPEX Philatelic Trust makes donations which are used by NZPF to assist with payment of a travel allowance to commissioners. The allowance depends on the status of the exhibition and its location. The current allowances are as detailed in the following table approved by Federation in July 2019 which includes other allowances relating to overseas involvement by New Zealanders.

Exhibition held in Commissioner (See Note 1) Other roles (See Note 2)
Australia NZ$ 570 NZ$285
Asia, North America NZ$1,140 NZ$570
Europe, Middle East, Africa, South America NZ$1,710 NZ$855
Note 1: “Commissioner” includes those occasions where an FIAP EXCO meeting takes place other than at an FIAP exhibition and our representative attends.

Note 2: “Other roles” include the following:

  • Apprentice judge
  • Cross accrediting judge
  • Judge attending FIP Jury Academy Course
  • FIP Commission Bureau meeting at FIP Congress, etc. where the presence of the Chairman or Secretary of Bureau is required and either of the positions is held by a New Zealander.
  • other roles approved by Federation on a case by case basis.

Note 3: Where a person is fulfilling two roles, e.g. as commissioner and an ‘other role’, they would receive only one allowance – the higher of the two.

These allowances are maxima and are to be used for economy air travel (including taxes). Reimbursement will be made after return from the exhibition and upon presentation of a copy of the airline invoice or receipt to the NZPF treasurer. The amount paid will be the lesser of the actual amount spent and the above maximum.

All other costs including visas and travel insurance are borne by the commissioner.

Should the person have other financial support for travel to the exhibition (e.g. as an invited judge at the exhibition), there will be no allowance paid by NZPF.

The same allowances, with a maximum of two trips a calendar year, will be paid to a person on the FIAP Executive Committee.

The allowance will not be paid if that person is also receiving funding as an appointed Commissioner or as an invited judge at an exhibition at the same time and location.


If commissioner is also on jury

If a commissioner is also on the Jury, the exhibition may supply airline tickets – they will be asked to advise the flights required. However, it is better if the commissioner can arrange to make their own bookings and be reimbursed – they are then in control. The commissioner will need to ensure flight arrival and departure dates and times meet the requirements for exhibit arrival and return.


Flight bookings and transfers

If two dates are given for exhibit arrival the commissioner should choose the earlier as any delays or flight cancellations may result in exhibits being late. In some cases exhibitions will stipulate the commissioner arrives at a specified airport direct from overseas – this is usually because of Customs arrangements. Preliminary investigations should be made some months in advance. The commissioner should be looking for flights which minimise cost, time hazards and transfers. Not all of these are independent of one another. Usually Air New Zealand/QANTAS or the national airline of the exhibition country is the best solution but savings and hassles can be reduced to some destinations by flying with other airlines. If the commissioner has to transit an airport en route they should ensure there is enough time for transfer to the connecting flight – a minimum of two hours is suggested although some airlines now have shorter transfer times. Short time connections increase the risk of lost baggage. It is vital that the exhibits arrive on the same flight as the commissioner!


Passports, visas and travel Insurance

The commissioner must have a current passport – normally requirement is for it to be valid for 6 months after the expected departure date from the exhibition country. The commissioner should also check current requirements for visas. It is the commissioner’s responsibility to obtain any visas necessary either direct from the embassy/consulate or through a travel agency. Check procedures and when the application must be made with the embassy/consulate concerned. The commissioner must take out travel insurance.

The NZ National Philatelic Trust will cover some of the costs associated with travel insurance and obtaining a visa. Their policy states the person must be travelling overseas as an NZPF appointed Commissioner or Commissioner/Judge to an exhibition with FIP or FIAP patronage. This does not apply to exhibitions in Australia. A payment of up to $200 will be made providing proof of payment is submitted with application. More than one application from an individual can be made in any calendar year.


Excess baggage

Airlines have become stricter about excess baggage although some airlines have a greater checked baggage allowance than others. If there is a need for an extra baggage allowance there is normally a better chance if application is made by a travel agent. The commissioner should make sure they have something in writing to present to check-in in case there is a problem. When asking for an extra allowance the commissioner needs to be sensible – they shouldn’t grossly overestimate but on the other hand do not underestimate. The average weight of exhibits is 0.5kg per frame. To this must be added the weight of the cases. The return weight will be greater due to catalogues, Palmares and medals. This can be up to 3kg per entry. Some exhibitions will send these back by mail or courier but the commissioner will have to pack the boxes themselves. The commissioner should bring at least one set with of the documents and preferably the medals.


Overnight stopovers in transit

These can normally be avoided with modern aircraft and luggage checked though to destination. But if the commissioner has to stay overnight in transit they may encounter some problems with customs officials and have to put the exhibits ‘in bond’ at the airport. However, if it is explained that it is the commissioner’s property [in other words the exhibits are not commercial goods for sale] then they may be allowed through with the exhibits. Nevertheless the commissioner may have to weigh up the costs and benefits of security at their hotel compared with a bonded store, and the relevant charges to obtain adequate security.



The commissioner must notify the organising committee of the date, time and flight number on which they plan to arrive. If this is done, arrangements will normally be made to have a representative meet the commissioner at the airport and, if inside the Customs area, to assist them through immigration and customs. Alternatively, there may be an exhibition reception desk which will arrange transfer to the exhibition and/or hotel. But in some cases the commissioner will have to make their own way to the hotel – information should be given on the arrangements by the organising committee beforehand. Commissioners who arrive without giving prior notice to the organising committee will not be met at the airport and will be left to find their own means of transport to the exhibition and at their own cost. It is likely that a number of Commissioners will arrive around the same time and the commissioner will need to be patient in allowing for others to be met.


Transport to airport and airline check-in

Arrangements will have been made to transport of commissioners to the airport in time to clear Customs and check-in.– this is normally on a group basis. Unless arranged otherwise, the commissioner should arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to check in time particularly if exhibits have to be recovered from customs. The commissioner will need to comply with local Customs procedures. This may involve a Customs officer being present when the commissioner checks in. Alternatively, the commissioner may have to obtain a boarding pass, retrieve exhibits from Customs and then return to the airline with exhibits sent as checked luggage. Procedures vary – the commissioner just has to comply. The commissioner must make sure:

  • old baggage labels have been removed and the baggage is addressed to their home address;
  • baggage labels correctly show the return route;  and
  • they get baggage receipts.



Commissioners carrying exhibits are advised not to detour on sightseeing trips either before or after the exhibition unless exhibits are stored in a secure place. This may be provided in a number of ways. However, previous arrangements are necessary and should be made through the organising committee. If exhibits have to be left in the commissioner’s hotel room they must be in a locked case and out of sight. Commissioners who do not make prior arrangements and who seek storage of exhibits after the exhibition will be doing so individually and without assistance of the organising committee.


Re-entry to New Zealand

Re-entry through Customs in New Zealand should be no problem if the commissioner has the paperwork ready and specified procedures are followed – though customs may wish to look at one or more exhibits. If the commissioner is handing exhibits back to exhibitors at their NZ arrival airport they should remember in which case those exhibits have been packed.


During the exhibition


Checking in exhibits in Bin Room

Commissioners will be taken from the airport, or asked, to report to the Bin Room where each page of each frame of each exhibit will be checked prior to issue of a receipt by the organising committee. Exhibits will then be stored in the Bin Room until they are mounted. The commissioner may or may not be allowed to be present when exhibits are mounted – this is often done at night by post office staff. But increasingly, commissioners are being asked to mount and dismount their exhibits. Security identification MUST BE CARRIED BY THE COMMISSIONER AT ALL TIMES WHEN IN THE EXHIBITION VENUE otherwise they may be denied access to or removed from the exhibition floor.


Bin Room

In some countries there will be a Customs Room at the exhibition and the commissioner will need to produce the Customs Receipt given to them at the airport and retrieve the exhibits before going to the Bin Room. Upon arrival at the Bin Room, commissioners should expect to find large crowds of other commissioners and exhibitors, all wanting to deliver their exhibits, and will normally be processed in order of arrival. All efforts should be made to minimise any inconvenience – the commissioner should have the exhibit inventories ready. Each page of each exhibit will normally be checked against the inventory and any alterations agreed and initialled. Obtain receipts for the exhibits at the Bin Room and the commissioner must safeguard them as they may be the only documentation on whose authority exhibits will be released after the show.


Security at the venue

The organising committee provides 24 hour security for the exhibition for the duration of the show. Notwithstanding this security, commissioners are cautioned to ensure exhibitors make their own arrangements for insurance. Access to the exhibition floor will be restricted to the show hours. Commissioners will be provided complete access during these hours as well as some pre- and post-show access rights. Commissioners should wear their security badge at all times at the exhibition and are asked to comply with any requests made by security for identification and other matters.


Mounting exhibits

Exhibit mounting, without exception, will be performed by or under the supervision of the organising committee. Only with prior arrangement will the organising committee or Bin Room allow exhibitors to participate in the mounting of an exhibit. Commissioners are encouraged – and may be required – to mount their exhibits and offer assistance to the Bin Room. It is essential the commissioner inspects their exhibits closely as soon as possible after they have been mounted. Should anything be wrong, such as pages upside down, out of order, fallen in the frames, material become loose, frames missing or empty – the commissioner must immediately advise the Bin Room Manager and get the problem rectified. Frames should be checked each morning of the exhibition.


Privileges and remuneration

Per diem
In accordance with the GREX, commissioners who bring the required number of exhibits will be paid a daily fee or per diem for out of pocket expenses such as food and beverages. The required numbers of exhibits for NZ are six (6) for General World FIP and FIAP exhibitions and three (3) for Specialized FIP exhibitions of which not more than one third may be Youth exhibits. Three One Frame exhibits equate to one multi-frame. Commissioners who do not have the required number of exhibits accepted will probably not receive the per diem. Commissioner/judges at Australian and other Accord exhibitions normally receive meals (other than breakfast – see Accommodation below) only while the jury is working.Travel
So far as the organising committee is concerned, commissioners are required to meet the cost of travel to and from the exhibition – see section 7.1. The commissioner will normally be required to provide a copy of their airline ticket so the organising committee can make arrangements for transfer to the airport on departure.Accommodation
Commissioners who meet the requirements will be provided with accommodation at no cost for the duration of the exhibition – normally including 1 or 2 days before and 1 day after close of the exhibition. Breakfast is normally provided. The organising committee is not responsible for any charges other than room rental charges and any taxes applied thereto. Commissioners may be required to place a security deposit or provide a valid credit card number for any food, beverage, bar, movie, telephone charges or other incidentals.

Access to the exhibition floor
The Commissioner will be provided daily access to the exhibition floor normally based on ID cards provided by the organising committee.

Palmares dinner
The Commissioner and their spouse/partner will be provided with tickets to the Palmares Reception and Dinner.

The commissioner may need to help any NZ exhibitors obtain tickets – normally at their cost.

Other privileges
Commissioners will be provided with a copy of Bulletins, the catalogue, jury report and Palmares, and other official publications as they are published.


Daily and other meetings

While the jury is in session and/or working, commissioners will be required to attend daily meetings at times specified by the organising committee. If the Expert Team requires frames to be opened, those Commissioners will be required to attend on opening and removal of pages and on replacing in the frames – the commissioner may have to do this. After the jury has finished its work, commissioners will be required to attend other meetings with the organising committee – these are mandatory. Commissioners are required to attend:

  • Official functions including the Opening Ceremony
  • Official photograph (required dress for men usually jacket & tie)
  • Palmares
  • Commissioners/Jury excursion – if held
  • Critique sessions
  • Collection and packing of catalogues, Palmares and medals – if prior to exhibit return


Information for exhibitors back home

It is the Commissioner’s responsibility to advise exhibitors not attending the exhibition of the results – points and medal level – as soon as they are available. A single email to all exhibitors with all results is easiest. Include NZPF in the list of addressees. Obtain a marks breakdown for each exhibit. The commissioner must attend the critique session at the frames and obtain comments from the judges so they can advise exhibitors on their return home.



Exhibition dismounting will be performed by or under the supervision of the organising committee. The assistance of Commissioners in dismounting their exhibits will often be welcomed – at some exhibitions it is a requirement. Exhibitors wishing to dismount their own exhibits need to make arrangements through the commissioner with the Bin Room. After dismounting, exhibits will be returned to the Bin Room for safe storage. Exhibits will be returned to the commissioner after all exhibits have been dismounted – there is normally a timetable for this depending on flight departure time. Commissioners will be required to sign a receipt for all pages and items prior to departure. The file of papers necessary for picking up the exhibits must be assembled and with the commissioner when reporting to the Bin Room for exhibit pick-up. Procedures can vary. At one recent FIP/FIAP exhibition, commissioners dismounted their exhibits under organising committee supervision, returned them to the Bin Room, signed for the exhibits and packed them ready for departure.


Return of exhibits to commissioner

The organising committee will normally advise the commissioner of the time to be at the Bin Room (to dismount the exhibits and) to obtain their exhibits. The commissioner should be there on time and must have the necessary receipts. The exhibits will often be taken to the airport under bond and the commissioner will be given a receipt to produce to Customs at the airport.


Literature entries for a NZ exhibition

In recent years Commissioners have brought back to New Zealand entries for NZ National Philatelic Literature Exhibitions passed to them at the exhibition they are attending. This provides a service for the authors or publishers and means a greater range of material is available to judges, exhibitors, and philatelists in New Zealand. A commissioner is not obliged to agree but Federation is keen they consider such requests favourably. Preferably, the request will have been made before the commissioner has left New Zealand.


Final Duties


Returning exhibits to owners

Exhibits should be returned to their owners as soon as possible. This will include medals, certificates, documents (awards list, catalogue) and any special prize awarded. The commissioner should check each frame as it is returned to the exhibitor and must obtain a signed release stating the exhibit was received in good condition. If exhibits are to be returned by courier, the commissioner and exhibitor should have agreed a suitable date and the material must be sent ‘signature required’.


Reports to NZPF

A commissioner’s final report should be sent to NZPF. It should include:

  • comments on the exhibition in general
  • any unusual problems encountered
  • a list of all entries with results showing: exhibitor / exhibit / class (and for 1-frame the discipline) / number of frames / points / medal / special prizes [this information will be used by NZPF to maintain the list of qualifying exhibits – this is especially important in progressing from 5 to 8 frames]
  • comments on the exhibition which could be of use to future commissioners or judges

A copy of this report will be sent to the editor of the ANZPJ newsletter Forum.

A separate confidential report should be made to NZPF of:

  • details of any exhibits subject to Expert Team advices requiring further action such as sending copies of Expertisation Certificates to FIP or FIAP.
  • any “No Shows” together with reason given and further action required by NZPF to advise FIP and FIAP within one month of the exhibition date.
  • problems with particular NZ exhibitors relating to or at the exhibition.


Appendix A: Sample advices to exhibitors

The secretary for Federation will provide a list of exhibitors with their contact details (where known) who have exhibited in the classes offered by the exhibition and are eligible to enter. The commissioner should invite each to participate as soon as practicable after receiving relevant information such as entry fees, regulations, entry forms, etc from the organising committee.

A1: Initial letter to exhibitors

[see clause 3.2]
The following is an example of an approach that could be made to prospective exhibitors.

From: [Commissioner name] [mailto:commissioner email]
Bcc: [list of exhibitor emails]
Dear Exhibitor –
I have been appointed NZ Commissioner by NZPF and will be carrying exhibits to the exhibition.
To maintain NZ’s exhibiting standards and reputation it is important NZ exhibitors support these overseas exhibitions. Our NZ National exhibitions need to have internationally experienced judges as team leaders. There are judges wishing to do FIAP and FIP apprenticeships and this will only happen if NZ supports overseas exhibitions.
A minimum of [xxx] multi-frame exhibits need to be accepted and three 1-frame exhibits is equivalent to one multi-frame exhibit.
The Exhibition Regulations (IREX) are attached.
Exhibition name – [name of exhibition] [status – eg FIAP Patronage]
Dates [DD] – [DD] [Month] [Year]
Venue – [details of venue]
Classes – [list all classes with emphasis on any special theme or classes]
Entry form – [as attached]
Entry fees – [frame fees as per IREX] plus NZPF Levies of [provide details].
Closing date – for entry forms is [DD- MM –YYYY].
A title page must be attached – mark as ‘DRAFT’ if necessary.
Please support this exhibition and email with advice of the exhibit/s you would like to enter.
I look forward to your response.
Kind regards

[commissioner name]
[commissioner contact details – eg address, phone number]

Note more than one email or letter, contact by phone or in person may be required.

A2: Letter of acceptance

From: [commissioner] [mailto: commissioner email]
Bcc: [list of exhibitor emails]
Subject: [EXHIBITION NAME] acceptances
Dear exhibitors,
Attached is the list of the exhibits that have been accepted or not.
[exhibitor 1] [exhibit 1 title] [no of frames]
[exhibitor 2] [exhibit 2 title] [no of frames]
[exhibitor 3] [exhibit 3 title] [no of frames]
[exhibitor n] [exhibit n title] [no of frames]

[exhibitor p] [exhibit p title] [no of frames]
[exhibitor t] [exhibit t title] [no of frames]

I must notify the Commissioner General as soon as possible (no later than [DATE]) if any of the accepted exhibits are no longer to be shown.
I am sorry if your exhibit has not been accepted but I have been asked if any of you wish to have your exhibits placed on a ‘reserve’ list for future possible consideration. Please let me know as soon as possible. Regardless, I do thank you for your support.


A3: Further correspondence

In the following months a range of communication between the commissioner and exhibitors will take place. These will cover, among other things, issues such payments of fees (including NZPF levy and Custom charges), exhibition envelopes, etc. Obviously the nature and timing of these communications will depend on the specific circumstances. The following points should be covered.

1 Exhibit envelopes
Exhibit envelopes were sent to you on [date]. Please complete the mounting plan on all envelopes. Exhibit pages should be numbered 1 – 16, or 1 – 80 as appropriate.
Despatch of exhibits
I will need to receive your entry preferably on [day, date] but NO LATER than [day, date].
Please send ‘Signature Required’ and email me on the day it is sent advising courier name and consignment number for tracking.
3 Page protectors
The open side or top of page protectors should be trimmed close to the exhibit page.
4 Inventory list
The inventory list was forwarded with the exhibit envelopes. Please complete and return in the first envelope for your exhibit. Note: value is in [currency]. The [yellow] copy is for you to retain. Note there are only two categories – ‘Stamps’ and ‘Others’ – latter includes covers, cards, booklets. Photocopies are NOT counted.
5 Insurance
Insurance of the exhibit is your responsibility. I will be carrying the exhibits but with all care and no liability – see the ‘Exhibitor release from liability’ form. If your exhibit is to be insured with a company just for this exhibition please check to see that it is covered for “signature required” courier despatch within New Zealand (if applicable).
6 Exhibitor release from liability
The exhibitor release from liability is attached and must be completed and returned to me this week.
7 New Zealand Customs
I will attend to the NZ Customs entries using the Customs agent appointed by NZPF.
If the exhibit contains material for which entry may be restricted e.g. wood, feathers, leaves, hair, etc., please obtain a NZ Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) clearance – by MPI stamp on reverse of the page and a coloured photo copy of the page certified by MPI.
8 Exhibit details
It would be helpful to know how your exhibit has been improved since last exhibited and your medal expectation. Please advise this information by [date] – preferably by email.
9 Advice of results
I will make arrangements for your result to be passed on to you.
10 Excess baggage charges
I will advise as soon as possible if any excess baggage charges are incurred.
11 Return of exhibits
I return to New Zealand on [date] at [airport of entry].
If your exhibit is to be returned to you by courier, when sending your exhibit to me, please enclose an addressed, prepaid, signature required courier bag.

Appendix B Exhibitor release of liability

see section 6.4 Release of liability

Appendix C Customs agent advice form

see section 7.4 STEP 1  Customs agent advice form