Philatelic museums

New Zealand Post museum collection held at Te Papa

I am pleased to tell you that this material is now available for study by researchers who make an appointment in advance.

Because we do not have the luxury of staff dedicated to the philatelic collection alone, we rely on other curatorial and collection management staff to make themselves available when researchers wish to access the collection. Accordingly, it is essential that people wishing to view the collection contact us well in advance to arrange a visit. Arriving without warning at Te Papa may well result in disappointment if relevant staff are away on other duties.

It is also very helpful for us to know in advance what material visitors wish to examine. In some instances we can deal with requests for information by mail, and this will often be more convenient for both visitors and museum staff. It also allows us to ensure that we do have relevant material for examination, and that visitors don’t have a wasted journey.

Where appropriate we are prepared to make copies of relevant material available for research purposes, but this is entirely at the discretion of the curator or collection manager on a case-by-case basis, and will depend upon the fragility, photosensitivity and general nature of the individual item. The cost of any copying will normally be charged to the researcher. Publication of images of items held in the collection requires written permission from Te Papa and will be subject to a reproduction fee. External copyright may also apply to more recent items and appropriate authorisation will be required.

In the interests of security and safety, visitors will only be permitted to examine approved material under supervision by museum staff in the Archives Reading Room. Normally only one researcher (and partner) will be granted access at a time. Direct handling of material is not permitted, except as directed by supervising staff. Food and drink are not permitted in the Reading Room. No material may be removed from the Reading Room.

A detailed code of conduct will be provided to all visitors. Anyone wishing to view material should contact the following in the first instance:

Curator of Stamps

Contact details:
Postal Address: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, P O Box 467, Wellington
Email [email protected], Phone 04 381 7000.

A list of some of the material can be found at NZ Post Archival material at Te Papa.

Canterbury Museum – the Rhodes Stamp Collection

The collection is named after Postmaster-General Sir R Heaton Rhodes who was a very keen collector and formed an extensive collection of mainly early New Zealand stamps including perhaps the finest ever collection of Chalon or Full Face Queen stamps of New Zealand. The collection has over 1,400 imperforate and 1,400 perforate Chalons including several unique items. The Rhodes collection also includes fine lots of Australia (mostly States) and Pacific Islands.

The collection at one time had its own room at the Museum called The Rhodes Room. This room was partially paid for by a grant from Christchurch Stamp Collectors being the proceeds of the 1950 Canpex National Stamp Exhibition.

The collection itself is accessible for serious philatelic study by asking at the archives room during week days. The collection has been archive photocopied. This set of photocopies is readily available to the public and serious researchers may request to view particular pages from the actual collection depending on the availability of archive staff to assist.

Please note The museum has been emptied for renovations and from March 2023 is closed for the next five years.
The collection is available online via the Museum’s website,/collections/collecting-themes/ and it is best to search under Rhodes Collection.
When the pages are shown they are listed by ‘relevance” however there is a sort option and if ‘accession number’ is selected the pages are displayed in chronological order. The Pacific Island Dependencies are also there.

Other museums and archival records of philatelic interest

Robin Startup RDP postal history archives
The extensive archival records of Robin Starup were presented to the Christchurch Philatelic Society. Details of access, etc. can be found on their website at Startup Archive.

Philatelic Foundation Postal Museum Display
The philatelic Foundation has a postal museum display housed at the Philatelic Centre, Mandeville Street, Riccarton, Christchurch. Details can be found at postal museum display.

Ferrymead Post & Telegraph Society, Christchurch
The Society’s website has details of their Telecom Museum and Post Office Display.

If you are aware of other museums with useful philatelic related material or displays please contact the webmaster.