‘I think we’ve

Matt Shand tells of close-knit Te Puke, and how their plan to pur­chase their post of­fice was just one phone call away.

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE -

WITH $5000 of the $50,000 still to raise and six days to find it, a Te Puke com­mu­nity group’s chances of sav­ing their post of­fice was hang­ing by a thread.

Jus­tice of the Peace Jenny Wot­ten and fel­low mem­bers of Te Puke Cen­tre be­lieved that although the sun may be set­ting on post of­fices, the sun was ris­ing on so­cial en­ter­prises that value pur­pose over profit.

Wot­ten has lived in Te Puke for 20 years and been push­ing for an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre for 18 months.

‘‘The post of­fice is the cen­tre of Te Puke,’’ Wot­ten says.

‘‘You can go there any time and see peo­ple you know. All the fundrais­ing for town is done out­side of it. We have a large pop­u­la­tion of sea­sonal work­ers who rely on it.’’

All day the post of­fice is a hive of ac­tiv­ity for the ki­wifruit cap­i­tal of New Zealand, just south of Tau­ranga.

Scores of peo­ple file in all day send­ing parcels and pay­ing bills. At the start of sum­mer, a wheel­bar­row was be­ing raf­fled off by the Lions out­side.

Peo­ple stop, chat, while away some time be­fore de­part­ing with a raf­fle ticket. For the 8350 res­i­dents, the post of­fice had a pur­pose be­yond bricks and mor­tar.

Un­der Te Puke Cen­tre’s man­age­ment, the postal ser­vice would con­tinue to run as is, but prof­its will fund com­mu­nity projects like an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre and other com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties. Staff will be paid the liv­ing wage and they hope to cre­ate more jobs at the in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, which will take over the Ki­wibank space.

Wot­ten and her col­lab­o­ra­tors had been try­ing to es­tab­lish an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre in Te Puke for more than a year but al­ways

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