‘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.
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