Thursday, May 10, 2007

Centenaries

In 2007 New Zealand is celebrating the centenary of four significant organisations. At this occasion, New Zealand post has issued a set of eight stamps, printed se-tenant. There are two stamps for each organisation : each time one stamp illustrates the organisation as it was 100 years ago together with a portrait of one of the founders, and the other stamp pictures a view of the organisation as it is today, and its emblem.
I bought these stamps from New Zealand post website for my collection of stamps related to rugby, and I found the whole set rather interesting. I just got them yesterday evening, when coming back from my trip to Reims.
Here is the block of eight stamps.

From left to right and top to bottom, the celebrated organisations are :

World scouting : an experimental camp run by Robert Baden-powell in 1907 marked the beginning of the largest youth movement in the world. In 1908 Lt. Col. David Cossgrove organised this movement in New Zealand. They both had similar ideas and values, teaching boys and girls moral values, patriotism, discipline and life skills through outdoor games and activities.

New Zealand Rugby League : in August 1907, a pioneering New Zealand rugby league team toured England, Wales, Ceylon and Australia playing 49 matches, winning 29, drawing three and incredibly winning both inaugural test series against Great Britain and Australia. The captain of this first league team was Hercules Richard Wright, a powerfully-built man aptly nicknamed ‘Bumper’.
For people who don’t know there is a difference between the Rugby league (which is played with 13 players) and the Rugby Union (which is played with 15 players).
The first rugby league team of New Zealand is pictured on the left stamp. This team has been nicknamed the ‘All Golds’ in opposition to the Rugby Union amateur team the All blacks. Not because they were wearing golden rugby shirts ;-), they were wearing black shirts. The team was named the “all golds” because of the financial arrangement they made for this first tour : each player who wanted to participate to the tour had to pay 50 pounds, and at the end, the profits (if there were any) would be equally divided among the team. This financial reward was highly criticised and in a news paper a journalist used the name “all golds” as an insult against the players. Even if it started as an insult this name remained and is still used when speaking about the first New Zealand rugby league team of 1907.

Plunket movement began on 14 May 1907, when Dr Frederic Truby King founded a society that would ‘help mothers and save the babies’. Today, Plunket continues to play a vital role in the lives of young families around the country. Plunket is now the largest provider of services to support the health and development of children under five.

Home of Compassion : Suzanne Aubert, founder of the Sisters of Compassion, has been acclaimed as one of New Zealand’s greatest women. She opened Our Lady’s Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington, in 1907 to care for babies, children, the disabled, and extended it to establish a hospital to nurse the sick and elderly. Other Homes were built and today the Sisters continue the good work of Suzanne Aubert, throughout the Pacific.

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