I was delighted to receive through the post a copy of the June 2011 magazine The Mail Coach, which features stories of the postal history of New Zealand. There was no accompanying letter, but the magazine was clearly sent to me because it c0ntained a story entitled “The post office at Piha, Auckland – a moving story” by G.I.Robertson and it had made liberal use of information on this web site.
But it also contained new information that only a postal historian would know about. And it contained some photos by H.E.Waite taken in the 1980s that I had not seen before.
From the article I learned that Official Post and Telephone Department services began at Piha on 15 June 1912 with the opening of a telephone office. This would have been at the Piha Mill. Postal services were added on 10 March 1913. Postal services were withdrawn on 21 December 1920 and the telephone service was closed on 17 January 1921. This coincides with the closure of the Piha Mill.
An agency post office was opened on 3 September 1935 in the local boarding house run by Ted Le Grice. By 1940-1 Edward Browne is listed as the proprietor of the boarding house, store, post office and a pertol bowser. In 1944 Browne was replaced by Charles Pople.
The author then traces the history that is well known in Piha and which is contained in a brief history I wrote which can be found here. History of the Piha Post Office update
The article congratulates Piha on keeping its PO, saying that early settlers often banded togather to provide postal services: “The residents of Piha, and their Association, are to be congratulated on resurrecting this pioneering spirit and also for their persistence in calling the facility a “Post office”".
Another part of the article deals with date stamps. Piha was issued with an A class, 20.5 mm diameter, date stamp, proofed on 5 February 1912. During the second period, Piha used a J class, 34mm diameter date stamp, proofed on 6 September 1935 which was replaced about January 1980 with a C class, 32 mm diameter date stamp.
I guess this is still the one used by Post Mistress, Chris Warman.
I went looking to see if I had any old letters with a date stamp. I couldn’t find any from Piha, though I suspect I have some in my archives somewhere. But I did lay my hands on this letter to my mother, Mrs TH Pearce, from her father and mother, Benjamin and Hellen Morgan, written in January 1939. On the back was the Piha Post Office stamp.
This was when my parents were on their honeymoon at Piha. “We are glad to hear that you are getting on allright with the cooking and that the bach is still standing up to the weather,” they write.
This was because Mum cooked the Christmas roast on a primus and the little bach was made from a car case, with only a bunk, and a little bench and shelves inside.