... Victorian New Zealand is just crazy for perf ... varieties ...
This strikes me as odd ... not in the sense of doubting you, but in the sense of wondering "why"?
I can understand paper varieties; after all, the raw materials that ended-up in each batch of pulp would vary - with the species, with the seasons - as might the temperature in the vats, the pressure on the rollers, etc.
And, I can understand color/colour varieties (even in spelling!); after all, "make us another batch of red" neatly summarizes the requirement and, even if you gave the supplier a reddish target to match, the chemistry of each batch of bugs that made up that batch of carmine would vary, too.
And, I can understand these aggravating each other, as slight varieties of ink interacted with slight varieties of paper.
But what's with the perfs?
I saw a rotary perf plate on display at the National Postal Museum in DC last Monday, and it seems to me that the customer would settle on some size & density of the pins, and that would be that.
Okay, over the decades, they might experiment a bit, but the plates wear-out; so, there might be some overlaps (causing some varieties) as any one change propagated thru the population of plates but, eventually, that would be that.R-i-g-h-t ?
Its not like The Ancients did not appreciate the value of standardization.
Clock accuracy was a big deal, especially for nautical navigation.
And, the metric system dates to the 1790s, never mind the shekel system.
Q/ So what's with the all those perf varieties?
/s/ ikeyPikey (who knows the answer from Evolutionary Biology, to wit: varieties persist in things that have little survival value, eg, do not really matter ... but we stampers know how much perf counts really, really matter, so that answer could hardly be correct)