The Society was formed in 1888 by a keen group of stamp collectors based in Wellington, New Zealand. They formed "The Philatelic Society of New Zealand". Even from the very beginning their aims were based around research, publication of the results of their studies and the formation of a library of philatelic literature. The Royal prefix was granted in 1946, and since then our Patron has been the Governor-General of New Zealand (or, during one tenure, his wife). A full history can be found in the Society's 1988 centenary monograph A Century of Philately.
The Society does not aim to replace local stamp clubs, but rather acts as a hub for serious collectors of the stamps and postal history of New Zealand worldwide, and for experienced collectors, researchers and exhibitors of any stripe who reside within New Zealand. To that end, most of New Zealand's notable philatelists are, or were, members of the Society. This includes eight signatories of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.
The Society also took on some responsibility for the advancement of the hobby and relating the wishes of the collectors to the stamp issuing authorities of the time - a role that has continued to this day. Our members are involved in local and international exhibitions at all levels, from exhibiting to judging. As at 2010, we have about 380 members, with 40% residing outside New Zealand.
We are affiliated informally with the other "Royals" around the world, namely London, Canada, Victoria, Sydney, Cape Town & Zimbabwe.