air mails of new zealand

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THE CHRISTMAS FLIGHTS


1931, 24 December

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EVE SURVEY FLIGHTS BY VARIOUS PILOTS THROUGHOUT NEW ZEALAND

In 1931 the New Zealand Air League suggested to the Postal Department a scheme to cover the whole of New Zealand with a network of air mail services on Christmas Eve. The Department approved of the proposal and provided a special air mail stamp to cover both air fee and ordinary postage by printing the 3d air stamp in yellow-green and overprinting in red ink the surcharge "FIVE PENCE". Special rectangular rubber-stamp cachets were also provided by the Postal Department and the following were the colours used:

RED: Palmerston North, Hawera, Christchurch, and Dunedin.
GREEN: Wanganui, Wellington, and Timaru.
PURPLE: New Plymouth, Hastings, Blenheim, and Oamaru.
GREY-BLUE: Gisborne

Covers were backstamped at offices of receipt. The provisional air stamp was issued on December 18th, almost a week before the flights took place, and first day of issue covers are scarce. There were three main flights whilst inter-connection by the various services made a total of six groups of sections:

Gisborne-Palmerston North [flown by Fl. Lieutenant W.H. Lett in Desoutter, ZK-ABY] and

Palmerston North-Invercargill [flown by Sqn. Ldr. M.C. McGregor in a D.H. Moth]


PALMERSTON NORTH TO INVERCARGILL FLIGHT

Mails from Auckland and Northern Districts were centralised at Auckland and conveyed to Palmerston North by the night express of the 23rd while mails from the Hawkes Bay and East Coast districts were flown to Palmerston North as mentioned later in this series. All mail for the south including that from Palmerston North left aboard a Government Moth No.872 piloted by Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor who flew to Invercargill via intermediate points.

WELLINGTON TO AUCKLAND FLIGHT

The mails from the South Island offices were centralised at Christchurch and conveyed to Wellington by the regular steamer express from Lyttelton on the night of the 23rd. These together with the Wellington mail were loaded on to a plane piloted by Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge who flew to Palmerston North where he transferred the East Coast mails to Flight-Lieutenant W.H. Lett, who took on board the East Coast mails which had arrived with Pilot W.H. Lett and then left for Auckland via Wanganui, Hawera, and New Plymouth.

GISBORNE TO PALMERSTON NORTH and AUCKLAND FLIGHTS

These mails were included with those carried by Flight-Lieutenant Lett from the East Coast districts to Palmerston North in the Desoutter, and were then transferred to the plane flown by Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge from Palmerston North to Auckland via Wanganui, Hawera and New Plymouth.

WELLINGTON TO PALMERSTON NORTH TO GISBORNE FLIGHTS

This mail was carried from Wellington to Palmerston North in the plane piloted by Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge, and there transferred to the Desoutter Monoplane piloted by Flight-Lieutenant W.H. Lett to Hastings and Gisborne.

PALMERSTON NORTH-INVERCARGILL

(flown by Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor in D.H. Moth, NZPAF #872)

Red cachet
Palmerston N.-Wellington (827)
Palmerston N.-Blenheim (310)
Palmerston N.-Christchurch (514)
Palmerston N.-Timaru (272)
Palmerston N.-Oamaru (201)
Palmerston N.- Dunedin (506)
Palmerston N.-Invercargill (406)

Green cachet
Wellington-Blenheim (204
Wellington-Christchurch (376)
Wellington-Timaru (140)
Wellington-Oamaru (119)
Wellington-Dunedin (366)
Wellington-Invercargill (201)

Purple cachet
Blenheim-Christchurch (122)
Blenheim-Timaru (123)
Blenheim-Oamaru (163)
Blenheim-Dunedin (167)
Blenheim-Invercargill (138)

Red Cachet
Christchurch-Timaru (183)
Christchurch-Oamaru (138)
Christchurch-Dunedin (296)
Christchurch - Invercargill (243)

Green cachet
Timaru-Oamaru (145)
Timaru- Dunedin (247)
Timaru- Invercargill (166)
Oamaru-Dunedin (211)
Oamaru-Invercargill (130)
Dunedin-Invercargill (233)


WELLINGTON-AUCKLAND

(flown from Wellington-Palmerston North by Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge where the East Coast mails were transferred to Flight lieutenant W.H. Lett and the mail from the East Coast was taken on board.

Green cachet
Wellington-Palmerston N.(309)
Wellington-Wanganui (236)
Wellington-Hawera (104)
Wellington-New Plymouth (153)
Wellington-Auckland (1439)

Red cachet
Palmerston N.-Wanganui (236)
Palmerston N.-Hawera (104)
Palmerston N.-New Plymouth (145)
Palmerston N.-Auckland (381)

Green cachet
Wanganui-Hawera (167)
Wanganui-New Plymouth (147)
Wanganui-Auckland (230)

Red cachet
Hawera-New Plymouth (132)
Hawera-Auckland (475)

Purple cachet
New Plymouth-Auckland (192)


GISBORNE-PALMERSTON NORTH AND RETURN

(flown by Flight lieutenant W.H. Lett in Desoutter. ZK-ABY).

Grey-blue cachet
Gisborne-Hastings (217)
Gisborne-Palmerston N. (319)

Purple cachet
Hastings-Palmerston N. (122)
Hastings-Gisborne (146)

Red cachet
Palmerston N-Hastings (350)
Palmerston N.-Gisborne (456)


GISBORNE-PALMERSTON NORTH

(flown by Flight lieutenant W.H. Lett in Desoutter, ZK-ABY) and Palmerston North-Invercargill (flown by Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor in a D.H. Moth)

Green cachet
Gisborne-Wellington (290)
ay. Gisborne-Blenheim (127)
Gisborne-Christchurch (224)
Gisborne-Timaru (132)
Gisborne-Oamaru (108)
Gisborne-Dunedin (248)
Gisborne-Invercargill (236)

Grey-blue cachet
Hastings-Wellington (120)
Hastings-Blenheim (93)
Hastings-Christchurch (100)
Hastings-Timaru (86)
Hastings-Oamaru (92)
Hastings-Dunedin (82)
Hastings-Invercargill (87)

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GISBORNE-PALMERSTON NORTH

(by Flight Lieut W.H. Lett) and Palmerston North-Auckland (by Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge)

Green cachet
Gisborne- Wanganui (113)
Gisborne-Hawera (69)
Gisborne-New Plymouth (102)
Gisborne-Auckland (538)

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map | backstamp


Grey-Blue cachet
Hastings-Wanganui (72)
Hastings-Hawera (106)
Hastings-New Plymouth (73)
Hastings-Auckland (139)


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WELLINGTON-PALMERSTON NORTH

(Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge) and Palmerston North-Gisborne (Flight lieutenant W.H. Lett)

Green cachet
Wellington-Hastings (168)
Wellington- Gisborne (224)


CHRISTMAS 1932

1932, 24 December

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EVE SURVEY FLIGHTS BY VARIOUS PILOTS THROUGHOUT NEW ZEALAND

Following on the success of the 1931 Christmas Air Mail Flights through out New Zealand, the Postal Authorities decided to conduct a similar series of flights and the same routes were chosen as in the previous year. The flights were again arranged by the N.Z. Air League with the co-operation of the N.Z. Post Office. A special pictorial cachet was applied at the appointed Post Offices using selected coloured ink. Some letters which missed the cachet initially were later stamped with the incorrect cachet.

The same air mail fee was charged [namely 3d per ounce] but because, in the meantime the ordinary postage had been reduced from 2d to 1d. The overall charge amounted to only 4d for letters not exceeding one ounce. On this occasion the Postal Department departed somewhat from the stereotype designs of their previous cachets by introducing the Maori "tiki" as the central motif of the 1932 cachets. The lower portion of the "tiki" incorporated a view of a biplane flying near Mt. Egmont and this in turn was flanked by fern leaves and sprays of clematis. The colours of the rubber-stamp cachets were as follows:- Blenheim and Palmerston North [purple], Christchurch, Oamaru, Dunedin, Gisborne, and Wanganui, [red], Hawera, Hastings, and Wellington [green], Timaru [yellow-green], and New Plymouth [violet].
Most mail was backstamped with the exception of that to New Plymouth, and from Gisborne to Hastings, Palmerston North, Auckland which, in most cases, was not backstamped.


PALMERSTON NORTH TO INVERCARGILL FLIGHT

Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor was to have flown the main route; Palmerston North - Invercargill but through an aircraft accident was in hospital at the time and his place was taken by Flying-Officer J.M. Buckeridge who flew a D.H. 60M Moth ZK-ACD, leaving Palmerston North at 7.38am and arriving at Invercargill at 3.55pm.

WELLINGTON TO AUCKLAND FLIGHT

As with the 1931 flight, mails from the South Island were forwarded to Wellington by ferry steamer and connected there with the air mail flight which left Wellington at 8.04am and arrived at Auckland at 1.50pm. From Wellington to Palmerston North the pilot was S/L G. Stedman of the Wellington Aero Club whilst pilot R. Kirkup of the Auckland Aero Club flew the mails from Palmerston North to Auckland.

GISBORNE TO PALMERSTON NORTH AND RETURN FLIGHT

These flights were undertaken by Mr. A.G. Gerrand, who was at that time pilot-instructor to the Hawkes Bay and East Coast Aero Club based in Hastings. The plane left Gisborne at 4.00am and arrived at Palmerston North at 6.20am leaving Palmerston North again at 9.22am and arrived at Gisborne at 12.05pm.

GISBORNE TO PALMERSTON NORTH TO INVERCARGILL FLIGHTS

Mails over these sections were conveyed from Gisborne to Palmerston North by Mr. A.G. Gerrand and then transferred to the DH Moth flown from Palmerston North to Invercargill by F/O J.M. Buckeridge.

GISBORNE TO PALMERSTON NORTH TO AUCKLAND FLIGHTS

These mails were included with those flown by Mr. A.G. Gerrand from the East Coast districts to Palmerston North and then transferred to the plane flown by pilot R. Kirkup of the Auckland Aero Club, from Palmerston North to Auckland, arriving at Mangere Aerodrome at 1.50pm.

WELLINGTON TO PALMERSTON NORTH TO GISBORNE FLIGHTS

This mail was carried from Wellington to Palmerston North by S/L G. Stedman of the Wellington Aero Club and was then transferred to the plane piloted by Mr. A.G. Gerrand from Palmerston North to Hastings and Gisborne.

PALMERSTON NORTH-INVERCARGILL

(flown by Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge in a D.H. 60M Moth ZK-ACD)

Purple cachet
Palmerston N.-Wellington (292)
Palmerston N.-Blenheim (104)
Palmerston N.-Christchurch (172)
Palmerston N.-Timaru (82)
Palmerston N-Oamaru (53)
Palmerston N.-Dunedin (118)
Palmerston N.-Invercargill (212)

Green cachet
Wellington-Blenheim (72)
Wellington-Christchurch (163)
Wellington-Timaru (54)
Wellington-Oamaru (46)
Wellington-Dunedin (137)
Wellington-Invercargill (123)

Purple cachet
Blenheim-Christchurch (64)
Blenheim-Timaru (59)
Blenheim-Oamaru (55)
Blenheim-Dunedin (50)
Blenheim-Invercargill (60)


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map | backstamp


Red cachet
Christchurch-Timaru (75)
Christchurch-Oamaru (43)
Christchurch-Dunedin (83)
Christchurch-Dunedin (79)

Yellow-Green cachet
Timaru-Oamaru (56)
Timaru-Dunedin (62)
Timaru-Invercargill (66)

Red cachet
Oamaru-Dunedin (44)
Oamaru-Invercargill (56)

Red cachet
Dunedin-Invercargill (88)


WELLINGTON-AUCKLAND

(flown Wellington-Palmerston North by Squadron Leader G.L Stedman, and Palmerston North-Auckland by Pilot Officer R.A. Kirkup)

Green cachet
Wellington-Palmerston N. (278)
Wellington-Wanganui (112)
Wellington-Hawera (77)
Wellington-New Plymouth (90)
Wellington-Auckland (572)
Palmerston N.-Wanganui (71)
Palmerston N.-Hawera (57)
Palmerston N.-New Plymouth(64)
Palmerston N.-Auckland (171)

Red cachet
Wanganui-Hawera (57)
Wanganui-New Plymouth (65)
Wanganui-Auckland (73)

Green cachet
Hawera-New Plymouth (73)
Hawera-Auckland (119)

Violet cachet
New Plymouth-Auckland (119)


GISBORNE-PALMERSTON NORTH AND RETURN

(flown by A.G. Gerrand)

Red cachet
Gisborne-Hastings (47)
Gisborne-Palmerston N.

Green cachet
Hastings-Palmerston N. (72)
Hastings-Gisborne (63)

Purple cachet
Palmerston N.-Hastings (113)
Palmerston N.-Gisborne (155)


GISBORNE-PALMERSTON NORTH and PALMERSTON NORTH-INVERCARGILL

(flown by A.G. Gerrand to Palmerston N. and Flying Officer J.M. Buckeridge to Invercargill)

Red cachet
Gisborne-Wellington (103)
Gisborne- Blenheim (49)
Gisborne-Christchurch (93)
Gisborne-Timaru (51)
Gisborne-Oamaru (38)
Gisborne-Dunedin (81)
Gisborne-Invercargill (72)

Green cachet
Hastings-Wellington (65)
Hastings-Blenheim (53)
Hastings-Christchurch (50)
Hastings-Timaru (46)
Hastings-Oamaru (45)
Hastings-Dunedin (41)
Hastings-Invercargill (46)


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map | backstamp


GISBORNE-PALMERSTON NORTH-AUCKLAND

(flown Gisborne-Palmerston North by A.G. Gerrand and Palmerston North-Auckland by Pilot Officer R.A. Kirkup)

Red cachet
Gisborne-Wanganui (62)
Gisborne-Hawera (43)
Gisborne-New Plymouth (64)
Gisborne-Auckland (118)

Green cachet
Hastings-Wanganui (62)
Hastings-Hawera (47)
Hastings-New Plymouth (43)
Hastings-Auckland (71)

WELLINGTON-PALMERSTON NORTH-GISBORNE

(flown Wellington to Palmerston North by Squadron Leader G.L Stedman and to Gisborne by KG. Gerrand)

Green cachet
Wellington-Hastings (83)
Wellington-Gisborne (121)



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The information used on this site has been sourced
from the following three publications:


"THE AIR MAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume One,
THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS"
(1897-1955)
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"AIRMAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume Two,
THE OVERSEAS FLIGHTS
1928-1940"
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"THE NEW ZEALAND AIRMAIL CATALOGUE" Third Edition, 2009
(editor: Mike Shand) Author JAMES A. STAPLETON


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO THE PUBLISHER

Kind permission for their material to be used on this website
has been granted by:

THE AIR MAIL SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND Inc,
Box 29-144, Fendalton,
Christchurch,
New Zealand

Air Mail Society of New Zealand website

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