air mails of new zealand

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THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS - 1930-1934


1930, November 6

AIR TRAVEL: SPECIAL AIR MAIL, INAUGURATION OF CHRISTCHURCH - DUNEDIN SERVICE

In 1930 Mr. F.M. Clarke formed a small company known as "Air Travel". This company must not be confused with the company later formed by the West Coast pioneer Mr. J.C. Mercer and known as "Air Travel [N.Z.] Ltd". On November 6th, 1930, Air Travel inaugurated a daily weekday passenger service between Christchurch and Dunedin using a D.H.50 four-seater cabin biplane powered with a 250 h.p. Siddeley Puma engine. This machine was hired from the Government and operated regularly until April 12th, 1931, when it was returned to the Government. Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor was the pilot and mail was only carried on the first flight as a survey of the airmail potential. The plane left Sockburn Aerodrome, Christchurch at 9.16am and arrived at Mosgiel Aerodrome, Dunedin at 11.20am.

The return flight was begun at 3.20pm on the same day and the plane reached Sockburn at 5.15pm. All correspondence had to have the blue N.Z. airmail affixed, and be prepaid at the special rate of 3d per ounce in addition to ordinary postage. An attractive airmail envelope was first used on this occasion being printed in dark blue and bright red.

In addition to a map of New Zealand the covers carried illustrations of two of the Great Barrier Pigeongram stamps and the inscription; "New Zealand was the first country in the World to use an Air Stamp".

*No application had been made for a mail contract. However the newly formed Air Mail Society of N.Z. successfully negotiated with the Chief Postmaster at Christchurch, allowing special airmail to be carried on the inaugural flights. No cachets were applied. Several covers were signed by the pilot.

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1930, 22-29 December

DOMINION AIRLINES LTD: GISBORNE-HASTINGS AND VICE VERSA

Regular weekday service was inaugurated by George B. Bolt flying a Desoutter II, ZK-ACA. The company issued sheets of 6 'stamps' imprinted 'SIXPENCE' to defray the air mail fee over the postage rate of 1d for the Hastings-Gisborne flight on the 22nd. 'Stamps' for the return Gisborne-Hastings service were not available until the 29th and were printed in single labels. A printing error on these labels read 'DOMINION AIRWAYS LTD' which was corrected to 'DOMINION AIRLINES LTD' by typewriter. The stamps were initialled 'A.R' or signed 'A. Rosenberg' by the Company Secretary. On 29 December the Post Office stopped the use of these 'stamps' and very few were used on flown covers.


1930, from 20 December

DOMINION AIRLINES LTD: GISBORNE-HASTINGS AND RETURN

Weekday service continued to operate until 30 January 1931. By cutting the labels to remove the word 'SIXPENCE' the Company was able to continue their use and also issued a printed cover and a rubber stamped cachet. Letters accepted by the company were posted on arrival.

Overseas Flights: 1931, 7 Jan. / 1931, 31 Jan.


1931, 4-17 February

HAWKES BAY EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY FLIGHTS

A large loss of life and devastation resulted from a series of severe earthquakes that particularly affected the towns of Napier, Hastings, and Wairoa. Communications were largely destroyed and the emergency flights by various aircraft and pilots provided an essential link with the rest of the country.
Only a small number of covers were flown with most having a single line rubber stamped cachet 'EMERGENCY EARTHQUAKE AIR MAIL' and are signed by the pilot.

4 Feb.
Wellington-Hastings - C.G. Wallace in the Wellington Aero Club's DH Moth (Telegrams and 12 Express Delivery letters. Pilot signed but no cachets.

5 Feb.
Gisborne-Fielding - Pilot Officer G.A. Nicholls in Desoutter, ZK-ABY. Pilot signed and cachet.
Hastings-Gisborne - Fl. Lieut. H.B. Burrell in New Zealand P.A.F. DH Moth. Pilot signed and cachet.
Napier-Fielding - Fl. Lieut. H.B. Burrell NZ P.A.F. in DH Moth, covers pilot signed and cachet.

6 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. G.B. Bolt in Dominion Airlines Desoutter, ZK-ACA. signed, cachet.
Hastings-Gisborne - FL. Lieut G.B. Bolt flying Dominion Airlines Desoutter, covers signed and cachet.
Hastings-Auckland - Fl. Lieut. S. Wallingford, NZPAF. covers are difficult to identify as few are signed or have cachet.

7 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. G.B. Bolt in Dominion Airlines Desoutter covers are usually signed and cacheted.
Wairoa-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. W.H. Lett flew a small mail for Hastings (including Napier that was sent on by road.)
Hastings-Gisborne - G.M. Firth carried one bag of mail.

8 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. I.L. Kight crashed while flying the Dominion Airlines Desoutter, ZK-ACA. Pilot and passenger were killed. Only Telegrams carried.

9 Feb.
Hastings-Gisborne - Fl. Lieut. G.B. Bolt
Hastings-Gisborne - Fl. Lieut. S. Wallingford

10 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. H.B. Burrell in NZPAF Moth. Some covers were signed.

11 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. G.B. Bolt in Auckland Aero Club DH Moth.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. D.M. Allan flying Auckland Aero Club DH Moth.

12 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. W.H. Len flew the Desouter, ZK-ABY.

13 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. D.M. Allan flew Auckland Aero Club DH Moth.

16 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings Fl. Lieut. W.H. Lett (2 Flights)

17 Feb.
Gisborne-Hastings - Fl. Lieut. W.H. Lett (2 Flights)

The flights of the 16th and 17th were made by Dominion Airlines which carried official mail and also a few covers with the Airlines 'cut stamp'.



1931, 21 February

NEW ZEALAND AERO CLUB PAGEANT, DUNEDIN

Special printed covers flown in a D.H.50 from Wigram Aerodrome, Christchurch to the North Taieri Aerodrome, Dunedin and at the Pageant by Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor. Covers were posted at the Dunedin C.P.O. after the flight.


1931, 10 March

GISBORNE AIR TRANSPORT LTD: INAUGURATION OF DAILY WEEKDAY SERVICE FROM GISBORNE TO HASTINGS AND RETURN

On the discontinuance of the service by Dominion Airlines Ltd a syndicate was formed and a new company was registered as "Gisborne Air Transport Ltd.". The first flights were made on the 10th March, 1931 when a D.H. coupe Moth left Gisborne at 6.45am for Hastings which was reached at 8.00am, the pilot being Flight-Lieutenant W.H. Lett. The return flight left Hastings at 9.45am and arrived at Gisborne at 11am. A charge of 6d per cover was made by the pilot for signing letters and only signed covers were carried. A special envelope was prepared for the first flights. Printed in black on manilla the inscription read; "GISBORNE AIR TRANSPORT LTD. GISBORNE - HASTINGS [or HASTINGS - GISBORNE] FIRST FLIGHT" at the top of the cover whilst the pilot signed in the lower left-hand corner. Mail was posted at end of flight.

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1931, 11 March - 1932, December

GISBORNE-HASTINGS AND RETURN

Subsequent flights continued as a week day service with the addition of a Desoutter monoplane. A further printed cover was produced and also rubber stamp cachets. Covers were posted on arrival and are signed by the pilot.


1931, 24 March - 7 April

KAITAIA AERO CLUB: INAUGURATION OF INTERMITTENT AIR MAIL SERVICE BETWEEN KAITAIA AND AUCKLAND - FOR WHICH ONLY THE ORDINARY POSTAGE WAS CHARGED

In November 1930 the Kaitaia Aero Club made arrangements with the Air Survey and Transport Co. Ltd to supply aircraft, and F/O F.D. Mill who had founded the company, made the earlier flights using a D.H. Moth plane. The passenger service commenced on the 29th November 1930, but according to records no mail was carried until March 24th 1931, when the first air mail was recorded as being flown from Auckland to Kaitaia and these letters were posted at Kaitaia after the flight as no official contract had been obtained. The first Kaitaia-Auckland mail was flown on the 7th April when covers were posted at Auckland.

Special covers carried on the first flights carried the inscription; "BY AIR FROM THE WINTERLESS NORTH - KAITAIA AERO CLUB'S SERVICE - KAITAIA TO AUCKLAND [or AUCKLAND TO KAITAIA]. Letters were also rubber-stamped in purple; "KAITAIA AERO CLUB" and "AIR SURVEY AND TRANSPORT CO. LTD". Pilot F.D. Mill signed all covers on the first flights. Although as is mentioned above, the date of the first flight, Auckland to Kaitaia was recorded as March 24th at least one cover is known to exist, carried Auckland - Kaitaia and posted 23rd March at Kaitaia. The cover is signed by Pilot F.D. Mill. The Kaitaia - Auckland covers were printed in purple whilst the Auckland-Kaitaia covers were printed in green.

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1931, from 8 April

KAITAIA-AUCKLAND AND RETURN

Subsequent flights of Kaitaia Airways (Kaitaia Aero Club/Air Survey & Transport Co Ltd) After the inaugural flights, F.D. Mill was joined by J.D. Hewett and D.M. Allan and their signatures appear on some covers. F.D. Mill also had a rubber stamp facsimile of his signature. Special covers were produced for the company and letters were posted on arrival.

Overseas Flights: 1931, 28 Mar. / 1931, 17 Apr. / 1931, 29 Apr. / 1931, 10-11-12 Nov.


1931, 12 November

AIR TRAVEL: SPECIAL SURVEY FLIGHT FROM INVERCARGILL TO AUCKLAND

This series of flights was arranged by the N.Z. Air League in conjunction with the Postal Department, and was originally intended to pick up mail throughout both islands for dispatch to Sydney to connect with a special Australia - England direct air mail organised by Kingsford Smith's company Australia National Airways Ltd. However, it was later approved for the carriage of inland air mail also. The flight also has special significance in that it was the first on which official air mail stamps were used to frank correspondence in New Zealand, the 1931 Air Mail set having been issued two days before the flight on November 10th.
Some mail from these flights was posted on the first day of issue of the air stamps and so became "Double Firsts". An air mail fee of 3d per ounce was fixed, in addition to ordinary postage for correspondence within New Zealand. The company "Air Travel" provided the aircraft, a Spartan Arrow biplane, ZK-ABU and Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor was pilot. He left Invercargill at 3.51am and after making six stops to pick up and set down mail, arrived at Mangere Aerodrome, Auckland at 5.56pm.

Overseas Flight: 1931, 12 Nov.


1931, 13 November

AIR TRAVEL SIMMONDS SPARTAN, ZK-ABU

Flown by Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor made a return Wellington-Auckland flight departing at 6.45am and arriving at 12.16pm. No cachets were applied.


1931, 10 December

AIR TRAVEL: SPECIAL SURVEY FLIGHT AUCKLAND - GISBORNE AND RETURN

This was a further flight arranged through the N.Z. Air League in conjunction with the Postal Department. The flight was arranged to investigate the practicability of a service over a route not ordinarily well served by other means of transport. The air fee was again fixed at 3d per ounce in addition to ordinary postage. Squadron Leader M.C. McGregor again piloted the Spartan Arrow ZK-ABU of "Air Travel", leaving Auckland at 9.03am and arriving at Gisborne at 12.24pm. On the return flight the plane left Gisborne at 3.23pm and reached Auckland at 6.48pm. At Hamilton most of the postmarks in the morning were badly over-inked, whilst at Rotorua the backstamp was often insufficiently inked and is often difficult to read. Hamilton also omitted to backstamp a large proportion of the mail from Rotorua but in most other cases backstamps were applied. No cachets were used. The route was via Auckland-Hamilton-Rotorua-Gisborne; returning the same day.

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1931, 24 December

SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SURVEY FLIGHTS

Were organised by the New Zealand Air League with the co-operation of the N.Z. Post Office using different aircraft and pilots to cover the major part of the country.

Christmas Survey Flights can be seen at the Christmas Flights 1931 & 1932 link.



1932, 20 January

AIR TRAVEL: SPECIAL SURVEY FLIGHT BETWEEN WELLINGTON AND THE WEST COAST

This flight was arranged by the New Zealand Air League with the co-operation of the Postal Department, which provided rubber-stamp cachets, similar to that used on the 1931 Christmas flights for use at the various offices. The pilot was S/L M.C. McGregor who flew ZK-ABU, the Spartan Arrow biplane operated by Air Travel. The route was from Wellington to Hokitika via Nelson and Westport and return to Wellington by the same route, in the one day. The colours of the cachets were: Wellington [purple], Nelson [Green], Westport [Red], and Hokitika [Deep Green]. At least one special type of cover is recorded; printed in four colours the cover depicts an aeroplane sweeping down at speed from the top-left corner and the caption, "Experimental Flight----Wellington - Hokitika ---20-1-32" appears along the foot of the envelope.

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1932, 20 February

SOUTH ISLAND AIR PAGEANT AT INVERCARGILL:

Captain T.W. White flew the New Zealand Airways Ltd. Simmonds Spartan from Saltwater Creek, Timaru to Invercargill carrying 153 special printed covers. He again flew these at the Pageant on the same day (20th) and after the flight 102 of them were posted at the Invercargill C.P.O. The remaining 51 covers, which had been overlooked, were not posted until Monday the 22nd at the Chief Post Office, Invercargill.


1932, 21 February

OAMARU AND DUNEDIN-CHRISTCHURCH FLOOD EMERGENCY FLIGHTS

Severe flooding in North Otago cut the rail and road links north of Oamaru and the Chief Postmaster requested that aircraft returning from the Invercargill Air Pageant land at that town and pick up mails which had accumulated. Several aircraft under the command of Squadron Leader J.L Findlay carried this mail to Christchurch. Squadron Leader T.M. Wilkes was also returning from the Pageant and at the request of the Dunedin Postmaster, he landed there and picked up 4 bags which he flew to Christchurch. At the request of the Air Mail Society of N.Z. both Sqn. Ldr. Findlay and Sqn. Ldr. Wilkes agreed to sign any letters carried on these flights but despite the quantities flown, very few covers were offered for their signatures.


1932, 16 March

AIR TRAVEL: SPECIAL SURVEY FLIGHT WELLINGTON - DANNEVIRKE AND RETURN

On March 2nd, 1932, Air Travel replaced their Spartan biplane ZK-ABU, with a second Spartan biplane ZK-ABZ, and it was this plane which was used for the special Dannevirke and return flight of March 16th. The New Zealand Air League again arranged the flight whilst the Postal Department provided rubber-stamp cachets, similar to that used on previous survey flights for use at the various offices. The postage rate was again 5d for a standard letter. The pilot was S/L M.C. McGregor and the outward flight was made via Masterton and Pahiatua whilst the return flight was via Woodville and Masterton so that some sections were carried past their destination and delivered on the return flight. "Double Firsts" are also in existence from the Wellington-Dannevirke-Wellington and Masterton-Dannevirke-Masterton routes. The cachets were applied in the following colours; Wellington [red], Masterton [maroon], Pahiatua [green], Woodville [purple], and Dannevirke [mauve-pink].

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1932, 29 March

MATAROA-FEILDING-WELLINGTON

Flight by C.M. Duthie carrying a small unofficial mail. Covers have a typewritten cachet and are signed by the pilot. Covers were posted on arrival at Fielding - 29 MR 32 9.30 AM and at Wellington - 20 MR 32 4 PM. (Mataroa)


1932, 9 April

OFFICIAL OPENING TIMARU AIRPORT

Was marked by an Air Pageant at which Squadron Leader T.W. White flew the N.Z. Airways Ltd Simmonds Spartan, ZK-ABK. An unofficial mail of special printed covers was carried and then postmarked TIMARU 9AP32 5.PM. Covers were signed by the pilot. (Timaru)


1932, 30 April

AIR TRAVEL: FINAL SURVEY FLIGHT BETWEEN AUCKLAND AND NORTH AUCKLAND

This was the last of the survey flights conducted by Air Travel under the auspices of the New Zealand Air League. The Post Office sanctioned a special air mail with the rate of 5d. per standard letter. The route chosen was a round one: Auckland-Dargaville-Russell-Whangarei-Auckland.

Because of adverse weather conditions the plane landed at Waitangi with the Russell mail. S/L M.C. McGregor was again the pilot and the plane was the Spartan ZK-ABZ. It is interesting to note that Air Travel ceased operations just two months after this flight, on June 30th 1932. The Postal Department provided rubber-stamp cachets which were applied in the following colours: Auckland and Dargaville [purple], Russell [red], Whangarei [green], with the exception of approximately 50 covers which were incorrectly impressed in blue.

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Overseas Flight: 1932, 28 June / 1932, 30 June / 1932, 15 July


1932, 28-29 September

WESTLAND AERO CLUB: SPECIAL SURVEY FLIGHT BETWEEN HOKITIKA AND OKURU

This survey flight was made in a plane (Simmonds Spartan ZK-ABU) owned by the Westland Aero Club, and piloted by Messrs. J.R. Renton and A. Nancekivell. The Hokitika-Waiho Gorge-Okuru flight was made on the 28th, and the return flight by the same route the following day.
As the Postmaster at Okuru was employed only on a part time basis the large mail was not attended to without a number of errors, most of which were later corrected when the mail was examined at Hokitika. A relief postmark was used at Hokitika, showing the name "OKURU" on all mail which had not been postmarked at that office, and this postmark was also used to backstamp mail that had been missed at Okuru.

Special cachets were provided by the Postal Department and these were applied in the following colours: Hokitika [dull blue], Waiho Gorge [pale mauve], Okuru [purple]. As some letters had missed the cachets at the other post offices the appropriate one was applied at Hokitika when the mail was carefully checked, the rubber stamps having been returned to Hokitika with the mails. However, the same stamp pads were not used and consequently cachets are also found in the following colours: Okuru [greenish-purple], Waiho Gorge [the same dull blue as Hokitika] and also in a bright emerald green; this latter appears to be of some rarity.

At Okuru, the Okuru cachet was in some cases used as a backstamp on inward mail. It appears the flight caused a dearth of stamps at Waiho Gorge as a cover has been inspected bearing a 2d Geo. V stamp cut in half diagonally and used as a penny stamp to make up the correct postage. This action was not officially sanctioned but the cover passed through the post in the usual way and is certainly of interest to the specialist. Some mail from Okuru routed to Waiho Gorge was missent to Hokitika. These have the Hokitika datestamp of the 29th and the Waiho Gorge backstamp of the 2nd October, having been returned to their destination by road. These covers should be classed as Okuru-Hokitika section.

"Double Firsts" were accepted for transmission on payment of a double fee and covers such as "HOKITIKA-OKURU-HOKITIKA" and "WAIHO GORGE-OKURU-HOKITIKA" have been examined. In some cases the second cachet is applied to the back of the envelope whilst on others only the cachet of the office of dispatch has been used.

At Hokitika, official routing cachets were also applied to southbound covers where the sender had omitted to "route" the envelope. These were worded "HOKITIKA-WAIHO GORGE" and "HOKITIKA-OKURU" respectively and were applied in the same dull blue as the Hokitika "First Flight" cachet. However, on a few covers which had originally missed this inscription it was subsequently applied in either red or black.

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Overseas Flight: 1932, 8 Nov.


1932, 24 December

CHRISTMAS AIR MAIL FLIGHTS

Were again arranged by the New Zealand Air League with the co-operation of the New Zealand Post Office. A special pictorial cachet was applied at the appointed Post Offices using selected coloured ink. Some letters that missed the cachet initially were later stamped with the incorrect cachet.
Christmas Survey Flights can be seen at the Christmas Flights 1931 & 1932 link.

Overseas Flights: 1933, 11 Jan. / 1933, 2 Mar.


1933, 4 March

SIR CHARLES KINGSFORD SMITH - "SOUTHERN CROSS"

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith flew 10 special covers during his visit to Wigram Aerodrome, Christchurch.


1933, 23 March

TAIHAPE-HAMILTON

Flight by Desoutter ZK-ACJ flown by S.J. Blackmore carried a small unofficial mail. Covers have a typed inscription and were postmarked TAIHAPE 23 MR 335 (Taihape) and again at HAMILTON 23 Mr 33 7.3OPM.

Overseas Flights: 1933, 26 Mar. / 1933, 31 Mar.


1933, 4 May

STRIKE EMERGENCY FLIGHTS

When a Cook Strait shipping strike disrupted the mail services between the North and South Islands, A.E. Willis of the Marlborough Aero Club flew mail to Wellington. One bag of letters was flown to Rongotai Aerodrome (Wellington) and on the return trip, one bag of letters was carried for Blenheim and two for Nelson. Initially no distinguishing markings were applied to this mail but on being approached by collectors, Willis agreed to endorse any of the flown covers submitted to him but very few were signed.


1933, 29-30 May

HAWKES BAY FLOOD EMERGENCY FLIGHTS

Heavy flooding in the Hawkes Bay province cut road and rail access to some towns resulting in a build up of mail at Post Offices and A.G. Gerrand of the Hawkes Bay Aero Club was asked to fly 9 bags of mail and newspapers (approximately 3,500 items) from Hastings to Gisborne on 29 May. On the following day he flew 4 bags consisting of about 4,500 items from Gisborne to Hastings. No special markings were applied to mail and identification of flown covers is difficult.

Overseas Flight: 1933, 23 Aug.-18 Nov.


1933, 7 September

AUCKLAND - HMS "DUNEDIN"

In the Hauraki Gulf. Special flight by Fairey IIIF, S1805 of the NZPAF piloted by Flight Lieutenant S. Wallingford with despatches and mail from Auckland to HMS "Dunedin" which was on exercises with HMAS "Australia", HMAS "Canberra" and HMS "Diomede". Only 4 covers have been identified and have a typed inscription "Per Seaplane" and the backstamp AUCKLAND DELIVERY 75P 33 11AM

Overseas Flight: 1933, 3 Dec.


1933, 17 December

C.T.P. ULM: VH-UXX "FAITH IN AUSTRALIA" - SPECIAL NON-STOP SURVEY FLIGHT AUCKLAND-INVERCARGILL

Following Charles Ulm's Tasman crossing to New Zealand in December 1933, arrangements were made with the Post office Dept. to carry out a non-stop air mail flight from Auckland to Invercargill to demonstrate the practicability of long flights in New Zealand. Special covers were issued by the Vacuum Oil Co., and distributed through the chief post offices. These were printed in black and bore on the left-hand side a circular portrait of Charles Ulm, below which were the words: "Faith in Australia" and a map of New Zealand showing the route, across which was superimposed an impression of the "Faith in Australia" in flight.

Along the foot of the envelope was the inscription "SPECIAL AIR MAIL DEC. 1933-Auckland-Invercargill NON STOP" in two lines. The monoplane left Mangere Aerodrome, Auckland, at 4.36am and arrived at Invercargill at 12.35pm. The special air mail fee was fixed at 3d per ounce in addition to ordinary postage, with the Postal Department providing a special cachet which was applied in purple. 5,000 of the special covers were issued whilst the total mail was comprised of 10,399 letters, 234 registered letters and five packages. Some covers were signed by C.T.P. Ulm and G.U. Allan.

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Overseas Flights: 1934, 13 Jan. / 1934, 17 Feb.


1934, 24 March

HAWKES BAY AND EAST COAST AERO CLUB PAGEANT

To commemorate the visit of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith in VH-USU "Southern Cross". A small printing of souvenir covers was made and no more than 90 of these were postmarked Hastings and carried to Kaitaia and then to Sydney by the "Southern Cross".

Overseas Flights: 1934, 29 Mar. / 1934, 11-12 Apr.


1934, 12 April

SPECIAL FLIGHTS WITHIN NEW ZEALAND FOR DELIVERY OF FIRST OFFICIAL AIR MAIL FROM AUSTRALIA TO NEW ZEALAND

On the 12th April, 1934, Mr. C.T.P. Ulm arrived at New Plymouth with the first official air mail from Australia, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand had arranged to facilitate delivery of the mails. Three planes were in readiness at Bell Block Aerodrome, New Plymouth, and as soon as the mail had been transferred to these craft from the "Faith in Australia", they left for their various destinations. Mail for the Auckland area was flown by Flight Lieutenant S. Wallingford of the RNZAF in a Fairey IIW. S.1805; that for Hastings/Napier flown by KG. Gerrand in the Hawkes Bay & East Coast Aero Club's D.H. 60X Moth, ZK-ABB and mails for Wellington District and to Christchurch and Southern areas was flown by Squadron Leader J.L Findlay in an RNZAF Puss Moth #2125.

No mails were carried on these flights apart from those received from the Tasman Flight, but identification of the sections involved is complete when covers are addressed to any of the four destination points mentioned.

Overseas Flights: 1934, 14 Apr. / 1934, 11 May / 1934, 2 July / 1934, 24 July / 1934, 20 Oct. / 1934, 22 Nov. / 1934, 30 Nov. / 1934, 4 Dec.


1934, 19 December

AUCKLAND - NAPIER

During the visit of H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester to Napier, a special flight was made carrying mail and despatches to the tour party. No public mail was accepted and no covers are known.


1934, 31 December

AIR TRAVEL [N.Z.] LTD: INAUGURATION OF REGULAR SERVICE BETWEEN HOKITIKA, HAAST AND OKURU

On New Year's Eve 1934, Mr. J.C. Mercer, founder and chief pilot of Air Travel [N.Z.] Ltd inaugurated the South Westland air mail and passenger service which was to become one of the greatest assets of the scattered South Westland settlers. The plane used was the DH Fox Moth ZK-ADI piloted by J.C. [Bert] Mercer, which left Hokitika at 8.15am and returned the same day at 3.45pm. This was the first unsubsidised air mail service in New Zealand, and one of the first in the world.

Two types of special souvenir covers were issued by the company for use on the on the first flights. One carried a half-tone reproduction of Capt. J.C. Mercer along side the Fox Moth ZK-ADI, whilst the other had a photo of the bridge connecting Hokitika with the Southside Aerodrome in the top-left corner and an air view of Haast and Okuru in the lower-left corner. The inscription on both covers was the same, namely: "AIR TRAVEL (N.Z.) LTD. - ROYAL MAIL CONTRACTORS-PILOT J.C. MERCER-FIRST UNSUBSIDISED AIR MAIL SERVICE IN NEW ZEALAND, DECEMBER 31, 1934 HOKITIKA, HAAST & OKURU, SOUTH WESTLAND." Only ordinary postage rates were charged and the air mail label was not necessary as all mail was flown. A third souvenir cover was issued by a Christchurch furnishing store who imprinted a small quantity with their name and address, and enclosing a letter to their customers in the Hokitika-Okuru-Haast area.

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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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