The 1990 Health stamps featured two sporting heroes from the 1920s and
1930s - around the time of the first New Zealand health stamps.
"Jack" Edward Lovelock (5 January 1910 - 28 December 1949) was
born in Crushington (near Reefton) and showed a talent for sports while at
Timaru Boys' High School. By 1933 - already holder of the British
Empire record for the mile - he set a new world record of 4:07.6. The
highlight of his career came in 1936 when he won the gold medal in the 1500
metres at the Berlin Olympics games, setting a new world record in the
final (3:47.8). In that race he beat Glenn Cunningham and both athletes
broke the previous world record in that event.
Jack studied medicine
at the University of Otago and became a Rhodes Scholar at Exeter College,
Oxford. He graduated as a medical practitioner and in 1946 was appointed to
the staff of Manhattan Hospital, New York. He died tragically in 1949 when
he collapsed in front of a New York subway train at the Church Avenue
station, having telephoned his wife from work saying he was coming home
early because he wasn't feeling well.
George Nepia (25 April
1905 - 27 June 1986) was a Maori rugby union and rugby league player. He
was an exceptional full-back and one of the most famous Maori rugby
players, playing 46 matches for the All Blacks and scoring a total of 99
points. He was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990
and has been described as "New Zealand rugby's first
miniature sheet featuring two copies of each stamp was issued.