By 1931 stamp plates used to produce King George V stamps were becoming worn out. It was thought that, after sixteen years, there would be no objection to the introduction of a new pictorial stamp issue to replace the King's portrait. The proposal was approved and it was decided that a public competition would be used to find the new designs.
Competition entries were divided into subject groups: three depicting New Zealand fauna, three representing national scenery, three devoted to Maori subjects, two presenting agricultural and pastoral scenes, and one each portraying an historical New Zealand subject, sport and Maori art.
In total, fourteen stamps were issued in 1935.