Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 22, June 1978


The Post Office at this time was located at the junction of Willoughby and Victoria Streets. Members of the Staff were as follows:

J.G. McDougall


R.J. Bramley


P.S. Miller


V.N. Underwood

Telegraph Cadet.

A.B. Purdie (Miss)

Exchange Attendant.

E. Vincent (Miss)

Exchange Attendant.

J.T.M. White


E.H. Patton

Junior Postman.

A.E. Edmonds


C.N. Manning


E.C. Brock


Office Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

Telephone Exchange 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mon.-Sat.

Public Holidays and Sundays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mails were received and despatched by all Express and mixed trains and Postmans deliveries to the Business area were thrice daily. Outer areas were covered by a Postman on horseback once daily. No Rural Deliveries originated at Paeroa at that time.

W. Medhurst & Co. held the mail contract for the transport of mail to and from the Railway Station (then located opposite the Paeroa Hotel). The Postal Messenger was required to travel to the Station with the outward mails and was responsible for the transhipment, where necessary, of mails, and the correct loading of mails for despatch. At that time Cinematograph films in metal containers were frequently forwarded through the post 'Express Transit' to ensure reaching the next Theatre in the circuit in time for display. Bags containing Farmers Trading Co. catalogues and others holding two bundles of 'Weekly News' for newsvendors proved a real test of strength to lads in their early teens.

Train Travel was the most used form of transport although passengers were provided for on the Northern Steamship vessels 'Taniwha' and 'Waimarie' providing service between Auckland and Paeroa via the Hauraki Gulf and Waihou river. Mails were received from Auckland by the steamers when the timetable, which was subject to the tide, did not delay estimated arrival and miss connection with onward despatch by train on the Waihi Branch line. Mails were not despatched by the steamers leaving Paeroa but passengers made use of the service which enabled business men to have a full day in the city and return by the vessel leaving Auckland that evening.

Mails to and from Komata Reefs were carried by a messenger using a bicycle. The service was thrice weekly along the Thames Road, unsealed in those days, to the junction with the Reefs Road then a four mile push over a road of doubtful classification. One has vivid memory of days with fierce winds and pouring rain 'the mail must go through! Fords of varying depth had to be crossed and with gale force wind it became necessary to cover most of the Reefs road on foot. Mrs. Thorburn was the Postmistress at Komata Reefs at that time and would gladly fortify the messenger with a hot drink of cocoa before he set out on the return journey. Later the mail contract was given to Davie Evans, Grocer, who was serving the Reefs with supplies twice weekly using a horse and cart.

During World War I, junior staff members vied to qualify in morse telegraphy and be selected for tuition at staff training schools. Later after being graded as Telegraph cadets they were appointed to offices where older men were being released for War service. The last four members named in the list of Paeroa Post Office Staff were all promoted. However I was the only one who returned to work at Paeroa.

Following cessation of hostilities in 1918 soldiers who had survived the carnage began gradually to return to New Zealand, and when fit, to take up civilian employment once more. This resulted in an excess of Telegraph staff in particular and cadets were asked to temporarily transfer to Line Construction work for a period of six months. Another cadet and myself from Paeroa undertook this work and were employed in a gang replacing badly pitted main circuit wires between Waihi and Tauranga. Later, officers who were nearing completion of their service were given the opportunity to retire and eventually the staff position returned to manageable proportions.

The present Post Office building at the junction of Normanby and Belmont Roads and Princess and Wharf Streets was erected after my leaving Paeroa on transfer to Taumarunui in 1924. A site had been acquired some years earlier further eastward in Normanby Road but the present site far exceeds it in location and suitability.