Communication over the years

How has the way people have communicated changed over the years?

When people first came to New Zealand the population was really spread out and many people lived out in the bush. In the early days people relied on written communication such as sending letters – often taken by people walking out to the nearest settlements where they then were taken by horse, ship and so on to their destinations. As technology improved so did the time taken and ease for people to communicate. Now days communication for people even in Tiniroto is instantaneous.


Postage travel

The main form of communication used to be by snail mail. But over the time mailing letters has changed. Once the mail travelled by horse across muddy and treeless landscapes. It took over five hours by horse to get to the farthest farm to deliver the mail. The riders were girls and they had to wear white dresses everyday when they delivered mail. In Tiniroto a horse drawn cart/stage coach or even a rider would bring the mail out. Once the mail arrived in Gisborne it could go by air mail to other cities and overseas.

This method of communication by post still exists today but it much quicker because the mail comes to the Tavern daily with the Gisborne Herald. Less people are writing letters but a lot of advertising and bills etc still come in the post.










The Telephones and Party Lines

In the late 1881 the first telephone building was made. Before this telephone building was built many had to travel to talk with friends and family. Over 26 women worked as telephone operators in that year.

The workers weren’t allowed to wear bows in their hair or bangles on their wrists. There were male and female supervisors as well. The lighting was poor so they used gas lamps. There were exchanges in all of the areas. The telephone was first introduced in Tiniroto in 1953. In 1987 the last party line was closed in Tiniroto.

It was pretty exciting when people first got a telephone but it wasn’t exactly private like it is now. It first started in 1905 with the help of Walter Whyte and Mrs. Cooper. It was open from 8am-8pm weekdays and Saturdays. In 1953 the exchange was replaced with a rural automatic exchange. The Tiniroto Line was one of the longest and earliest private lines in the Gisborne district.

What are party lines?

Party lines are a telephone line that was shared throughout a community. Only one person could be on the party line at the same time with someone else.

How does a party line work?

Here is a recording sharing the interviews I did to discover about Party Lines.


How often do people use phones now?

It used to be extremely expensive to make calls out of the area (a toll call) and overseas. People used to write more because of this but now it is getting cheaper and cheaper to make phone calls. There are lots of special deals like talk for as long as you like in the weekends to someone in England for $3! The cost does influence how often people use their phones to communicate.

Do these types of speaking to other people have an impact on Tiniroto community?

Mobile Phones: Very little as some parts of the Tiniroto region does not get cellphone coverage. That is called patchy coverage. Vodafone have a tower on top of Whakapunake so their coverage is better than Telecom.

Internet and E-mail: "It has had a huge impact on me because I studied my degree all on the internet without going to university. I use my e-mail to contact people anywhere over New Zealand or even overseas, I do all our farm accounts, banking etc online too. It just doesn’t matter where they are if I want to catch up with them.” Spoken by Mrs Roadley.

Instant Messaging: "It has helped me catch up with my friends. Also it has help me contact people from all over New Zealand.” Spoken by A. Martin.

Social networking eg Facebook: " It helps me catch up with friends and see what they are doing! Also I can contact family all over New Zealand.” Spoken by Logan.


How has the language changed in our community?

In the early days of English speaking language was a lot more formal and would be very difficult for us to understand today. Adults often say that we use a lot more colloquial language these days.

Interview with Mrs Crombie on 8/6/2010:

“Over the years I have noticed in Tiniroto that the elderly speak both English and Maori fluently. Also I realised that younger generations are speaking Maori as well as English. They are learning to speak Maori at school and also from there grandparents. Also teenagers of our region are speaking slang or colloquialism to their friends and speaking English or Maori to elderly at community gatherings. Also at community gatherings that Maori, slang and English are being spoken for those that understand it.”

Slang or colloquialisms are becoming more common. Texting has had an influence because it’s faster and easier it catch up with people. Texting slang is used by teenagers and some adults instead of texting in full English to communicate. There is a real concern that

'proper English' will be lost if these abbreviations and slang become too common place.


By Jessica