The 1990 Health stamps featured two sporting heroes from the 1920s and
1930s - around the time of the first New Zealand health
John "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.
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.
Nepia (25 April 1905 - 27 June 1986) was a Māori rugby union and rugby
league player. He was an exceptional full-back and one of the most famous
Māori 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.