Weraroa Post Office to mark 75th jubilee

Weraroa Post Office will celebrate its 75th jubilee on April 21st and to mark the occasion staff will wear period costume and early telephone equipment will be on display. Mr F.C. Swanwick traces the history of the building since it was opened by Sir Joseph Ward on April 2, 1910.

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The Weraroaites had agitated for a larger post office for some years. They had wanted the Levin Post Office centrally sited on the north west corner of Stuckey St and Oxford St but big brother won out. 

In the end, Weraroa got its own new office. 

On April 21, 1910 Premier Sir Joseph Ward opened the new post office. The opening was held at the back of the Railway station with dignitaries standing on the steps that then led into the waiting room. 

A photo shows the opening with a large crowd on the road. A table shown in the photo, a recent post master, Mr J.G. Delaney, considers is still in the office. It is well worn. 

The Weraroaites must have been gratified that a premier opened their office, when only a mere postmaster general opened the new Levin Post Office in 1903.
 

(It was in fact the same man, Sir Joseph Ward, who had risen in rank in the intervening years).

 

RIVALRY

There was rivalry between Levin and Weraroa in those days and Levin usually got the bigger share of improvements. 

There were living quarters at the back of the office occupied by Mr Curtis (a well known postman) and his family for many years in my memory. 

Mrs Inder was the postmistress in the new office until October 13, 1910 when Miss R. Richardson took over, followed by Miss M.J. Gallagher on April 10, 1911. Mrs Inder was again the postmistress from May 9, 1911.

 

LONG REIGN

Miss Harriet Emma Bowen came back from the Aramoho PO after three years and became the postmistress on September 28, 1912, beginning a long reign. She ran the office very efficiently and controlled her customers admirably. Though very petite she soon put anyone, be it child or adult in their place if they put a foot wrong. As children, we were rather afraid of her. 

In private life she was a wonderful person, willing to help anyone in trouble, and a very efficient person in fund-raising activities for any cause. She drove from her house in Queen St to the office in a pony drawn dogcart. This was a small vehicle with a basketware body. 

I can remember when going to school seeing the pony with its head over the front picket fence getting many a pat from passersby. The lawns were its grazing area. 

Miss Bowen’s reign probably finished on February 2, 1927 when officers from the Levin PO were rostered to act as the officers-in-charge on a monthly basis. 

Miss Spenser at her retirement function said that she became in charge of the office in 1928 when Miss Bowen retired. Post Office records state officers were rostered from Levin from 1927. 

Miss Spenser said for the first two years she worked between Levin and Weraroa Post Office. Miss Spenser said she was a messenger in 1904 when Miss Bowen was postmistress at Levin Post Office. 

From December 16 1935, officers from the Levin PO acted as postmasters, rotating for a period of not less than six months. 

From August 15, 1938 the office had regular officers. Miss E.C. Kinsey being the postmistress, followed by Mrs M.B. Close from May 16, 1941, Mr H.C. Kearney from August 8, 1949 and Miss A.C. Walker from January 30, 1953, becoming Mrs Ransom during her term. Mr J.W. Perry followed from May 18, 1970, Mrs N Potter from October 8, 1971, Mr E.W. Millar from January 23, 1974, Mr Delaney from July 22, 1977. 

Mr Delaney transferred at the end of September 1984 with Mrs Warren being the acting postmistress until the beginning of February 1985 when Mr Trevor Solomon became postmaster.

 

UNALTERED

This office is almost unaltered since it was built. The original white picket fences have been replaced and the telephone booth shifted from the kerbside to the south side of the building. The front window has also been replaced from the old sliding weighted type to a more modern type. 

The living quarters have not been used for some years and it is planned to extend the office into these. Some years ago, the office was extended partly into the living quarters. 

Some old customers regretted this change but the building is lucky not to have suffered the fate of the Levin Post Office.

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The following is an excerpt from the Horowhenua Chronicle,  April 22,1910:

 

The premier, Sir Joseph Ward, visited Levin on April 20 and 21, 1910 and one of the functions was the opening of the Weraroa Post Office, April 21.
    

Sir Joseph Ward was in a happy vein at Weraroa yesterday afternoon, when opening the new Post Office. A vagrant dog, evidently possessed of Opposition leanings, persistently barked at inopportune moments while the Premier was making his speech. 

Constable Bagrie, a model policeman who is “always there when wanted”, strode into the ring, grasped the interrupting canine, and then stood undecided as to where to put him. 

“Oh put him in the Post Office,” said the Premier, in jocular reference to the reputation of that department for dealing successfully with every package and every problem that comes with it. 

 

PRESENTATION AT WERAROA

During the proceedings in connection with the opening of the Weraroa Post Office yesterday by the Prime Minister, Mr Field, MP, asked Sir Joseph Ward to present to Mrs Inder, the postmistress, a testimonial which had been signed by all the prominent residents of Weraroa, thanking her for her good offices and the excellent way in which she had conducted the business; and expressing the hope that she would live for many years to carry out the duties of postmistress at Weraroa. 

Sir Joseph, in making the presentation, congratulated the residents on their good taste in arranging the testimonial, and complimented Mrs Inder on the way in which she had carried out her duties at that important office. While the signatories wished her a long life, he on his part, wished she might live as long as she herself desired, and that was one hundred years more. (Cheers and laughter).

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Weraroa Post Office to mark 75th jubilee


Creator:Corrie Swanwick
Creation date:17/04/1985
Publisher:The News
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Weraroa Post Office to mark 75th jubilee by Pippa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License