Brian Edwards Media

Whatever happened to the friendly postie (postwoman)?


Every now and then an old cynic like me – the sort of person who says most Kiwi voters are as thick as two short planks – has his faith in humanity restored. It happened today.

Every morning, weather permitting, Judy and I go for a walk around Herne Bay/ Ponsonby/Grey Lynn. The walk usually takes between an hour and an hour-and-a-half and ends with two flat whites and a biscotti. By now we know every shop, house and letterbox in the district. And everyone knows us.

Of the 90-odd minutes, at least ten are spent talking to and stroking the purebreds and moggies who populate the district. Like the humans, we know them and they know us.

Walking round Marine Drive this morning we encountered an unusual sight. A postie had parked her bike against a fence and was engaged in conversation (and tummy rubbing) with an ecstatic ocecat whose name was apparently Ossie. (I hope I’ve got that right – purebreds are so particular!)    

Naturally we stopped and joined in the conversation and the general adoration and scratching behind the ears which cats expect.

It turned out that this lovely young woman was our postie and relatively new on the Herne Bay route. She knew our house but, to our amazement, had never met our Burmese, Felix and Max. Introductions would have to be arranged.

The effect of all of this was to restore my faith not just in people but, more specifically, in posties. You see, for some years the cheerful, chatty postie of memory and children’s books had disappeared from our district. He/she had been  replaced by the least friendly, grumpiest and most taciturn series of postal employees that you might expect to find cycling through a hailstorm at 6am on a Saturday.

Not looking where he was going, the first of these gentlemen drove his bike into Judy while we were walking along the pavement in Jervois Road, leaving a painful bruise on her leg. Well, accidents happen, but what might have made Judy and her leg feel a little better would have been if the postie had said sorry. He didn’t. He didn’t say anything. He just cycled off.

This really annoyed me and I bailed him up and said, “You just drove into my wife. Don’t you think an apology might be in order?” He looked me up and down, re-directed his front wheel and cycled away. Not a word.

His replacement some months later had a better sense of direction, but his only means of expression was the scowl and he also appeared to be deaf and dumb. Even if you happened to be at the gate when he was delivering a letter, he greeted your cheery ‘good morning’ with a dispiriting silence.

All of this led me to ask the question: What happened to the friendly postie? Was he/she gone forever?

Well, this morning a nice young woman with her bike parked against a fence paying homage to an ocecat called Ossie answered the question for me. The friendly postie was back.




  1. That’s a nice story! Come down to Palmy, we have always had friendly posties. Our one now knows our dog by name and always has a dog biscuit in her pocket for the dogs she comes across! She is lovely, smiley, and friendly. She makes the world a nicer place to be in.

  2. Keyword ‘she’

  3. Somewhere back in the mist of antiquity I spent a few months as a postie. I must have been one of the “memory and children’s books” type, as I recall often finishing late due to being invited into people’s homes for cups of tea.

  4. 4

    Lustic Bountifuls

    My postie and I have an excellent relationship, especially when my hubby is out of town.

  5. My front porch is one of NZ Post’s overflow depots, one of a number around my town where the postie’s next bag of mail awaits him/her. Once a year I sign a piece of paper confirming the arrangement and every Christmas I receive a thank-you letter and a little gift. How very civilised.

  6. I suspect that Marie and I have the same postie in Palmy… unless we just breed ‘em well down here. Given our famed blustery days, it is particularly nice to have her friendly greeting. Our dog thinks she’s the dog’s bollocks too.