The interest in philately as a hobby probably had its beginnings in the United Kingdom in 1840 with the first issue of stamps, but it was not until much later that concerted collection began, and the first philatelic societies were formed. In New Zealand, the present Royal Philatelic Society was formed in September 1888 as the Philatelic Society of New Zealand. This was the first society of its kind in the country, but since then the numbers have grown steadily. Today there are 26 affiliated to a Federation of Philatelic Societies which coordinates their activities. Most of the societies, and the federation, issue regular newsletters describing their activities, and giving current stamp news.
The Royal Philatelic Society has published several outstanding works on the postage stamps of New Zealand. After 25 years of activity, it published the History of the Stamps of New Zealand, and to commemorate its golden jubilee, it produced the first volume of The Postage Stamps of New Zealand. Since then two further volumes and a monograph on the 1d. Universal have been published. Volume IV of the main series is expected to be released in 1964, to be followed by a volume covering the philatelic history of New Zealand's outlying islands, its trust territory, and Antarctica.
New Zealand is well served with stamp catalogues published in this country. The following firms have been responsible for catalogues of a high standard: Campbell Paterson Ltd., and Pim and Co., both of Auckland; and the Stirling Stamp Co., and Verne Collins and Co. Ltd., both of Christchurch.
by Arthur Stanley Helm, M.B.E., M.A., Investigating Officer, Tourist and Publicity Department, Wellington and Campbell Walter Watts, Secretary, Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand, Wellington.