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The Motu Post Office

The first mail deliveries to Motu were by “pony express.”
Frank Fisher picked the mail up in Motu and delivered it to Opotiki once a week and then he turned around and brought the new mail back to Motu.
He did this summer, winter, autumn and spring often through mud up to his pony’s belly. The first Post Office was built in 1921 as a telephone exchange.
The building had:
- a telephone exchange area
- a customer room and mail counter (mail, stamps, telegrams)
- a telephone booth

It was attached to a three bedroom house where the post master lived.

Telephone lines were two copper wires carried on poles between the houses and the Post Office. Often the farmers put up their own wires.
Nearly everyone was on a party line with up to 6 people on each line.

To see what the exchange was like see this Te Ara link Post and Telegraph 1914-1945

Lines were manually connected by an operator in the Post Office between 7am and 9pm. It was still a toll call to Te Karaka or Gisborne until 1965 when an automatic exchange was installed.

The building was used as a mail delivery centre until 1965 when it was sold to Lil Read as a private house and the mail boxes were shifted to the Motu General Store.

A group of forward thinking residents of the Motu Community purchased the house in 1999 and set up a trust to create a community facility large enough to accommodate community gatherings and in the process retain and upgrade a piece of local history.

by Luke

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