In Praise of our Post Office – Kaeo and Whangaroa's Nerve Centre Since 1857

When the telegraph first came to Whangaroa in 1882 subscribers were so awed they sang songs to each other down the line.

Tracking the evolution of post and telegraph in Whangaroa, this social history includes oral history interviews with postal staff, linesmen and telephone operators formerly employed at Kaeo’s nerve centre. They had to be jacks-of-all-trades. Take old Percy Miller, the postmaster for instance, he had no head for heights but he had to climb the telegraph pole outside the Kaeo Post Office one day to rescue a lineman having a heart attack. As for postal services - all manner of things made it across the counter, from a box of bees to a wooden leg.

In Praise of our Post Office - Kaeo and Whangaroa's Nerve Centre Since 1857

Commissioned to commemorate the Kaeo Post Office building’s centenary in 2012, this work was financed by a Ministry for Culture and Heritage oral history award, Lottery Grants Board Environment and Heritage Committee, The Gibb Family Trust, Far North District Council Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board and Whangaroa Community Arts Council. Proceeds from the ongoing sale of this book are dedicated to the purchase of resources for the Kaeo Public Library, now accommodated in the former post office.


"[In Praise of our Post Office] is a fascinating book, Fiona. It must have taken an enormous amount of research and writing. It’s impressive."
– Kathleen Wynn

back to project library | back | next

Weaving the Strands