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Old Post Office

It would not be very hard to realise the importance of a Post Office to a community in the days when the populace had come from as far away as England. Ireland, Sweden and Australia as did the early settlers of this district. The families they left behind must have seemed to be a very long way off especially when letters often took many months to reach them.

The first Post Office in this area was set up in the McMorrin home and the first postmistress was Miss May McMorrin followed by her sister "Dorde". Mail was brought by coach from Auckland to Tauranga, and the postmistress would ride out to the old Waihi-Te Puna Point Road junction and await its arrival which was often many hours late depending on the state of the roads. Around 1916 the Post Office was transferred to the Andersen's home which was only a short distance away, and it was then that Miss Vera Anderson took up the position as Postmistress, and after her marriage her sister, Effie, took over the post.

Photo of old Post Office - Corrugated iron shack

It was in 1922 that a small Post Office was erected at the top of ‘Uncle Willie's Lane' at the corner of Kirk's property. This was a small one roomed corrugated iron building and served as Post Office and meeting place for the local community. Later it was also a telephone exchange and money order office. It is interesting to note that from the one wire connecting the Omokoroa Post Office to Whakamarama the late Mr H. H. Sharplin was able to converse with his relatives in the South Island.

The names of the postmistresses prior to the building of the Post Office are as follows:

Miss May McMorrin (Mrs Sydney Crapp)

Miss Valeta (Dorde) McMorrin (Mrs Arthur Harper)

Miss Vera Anderson (Mrs John H. Edmondson)

Miss Effie Anderson

and those of the succeeding postmistresses:

Miss Kathleen McClinchie (Mrs Bill Roberts)

Miss Myrtle Lauder (Mrs Gerald Crapp)

Miss Lucy Francis (Mrs Selwyn Crabb)

With the opening of the railway service in 1929, mail-bags were exchanged at the local railway station, and at 11a.m. each day the incoming mail was transported to the post office by 'express delivery' per Myrtle on 'Darkie' her horse. The salary at the time of Miss Lauder's office was the enviable sum of 98 pounds p.a.

One of the outstanding events of the 1920's was the football matches between Omokoroa and Whaka. These were usually held on a weekday. There was a complete cessation of work; even the Post Office took an unofficial holiday.

A welcome sight in the mail was the pink cover of the Auckland Weekly News. Its glossy pictorial section, advertising section and news of world affairs that had long since happened was stimulating and stirred the imagination.

The enormous annual catalogue sent by the Auckland Farmers Trading Co. or was it Laidlaws then - was a never ending source of interest and information.

The closing down of the little Post Office on 30th November 1938 was a sad day, especially for the school children to whom it was a 'tuck shop’. Miss Lauder began her first shop during her term as postmistress, and kept a small but very comprehensive assortment of goods on hand. Sweets, biscuits and cans of pineapple were in great demand by the nearby school pupils.

In 1946 the post office building was offered to the ladies of the district as a place for them to hold their Institute meetings, and it was transported to a delightful site on the water's edge almost at the Omokoroa Beach. When eventually it became too small for this it was sold and moved, this time, on to a farm.

First published in the Omokoroa Omelette 2010