New Zealand Post has chosen to mark the centennial of the First World War with a five-year stamp and coin programme, which is being launched tonight at Te Papa.
Each year’s issue will look at the key events of that year, and the impact of the war on those New Zealanders who served and those who stayed at home.
In 2014 we will tell the story of Melville Mirfin. Like thousands of others, Melville Mirfin left his family behind and answered the call to defend country, King and Empire. But unlike so many of them, he not only survived the War, he survived action from one end of the war to the other, and until now his story has remained untold.
Born at Ikamatua on the West Coast of the South Island, Melville Mirfin spent four years and 359 days overseas. His postings ranged from Samoa in 1914 to Egypt in 1915, the Balkans in 1915, Egypt in 1916, the Western Front from 1916 to 1918 and finally the occupation of Germany in 1919. Outside of the officer corps, he must have been one of the longest serving New Zealand soldiers during World War One.
Over the next five years, New Zealand Post will feature a range of media on its commemorative stamps and coins. Posters, postcards, letters, diaries and photos that were brought home will show the mundane and the unimaginable. Though the servicemen may no longer be with us, those records live on, and it is our intent to remember and honour those who bravely served 100 years ago.
For more information, visit www.stamps.nzpost.co.nz/ww1