Letter-writers hope to save Karitane postal service – You’ve got mail

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A bulk delivery of letters to Karitane has letter-writing enthusiasts hoping to simultaneously save the town’s post pick-up and drop-off point, and encourage Dunedin residents to get writing.
Dunedin resident Paul Gourlie joined Abdul Alsallum and Ryan Jones for the group’s first trip to Karitane on Tuesday morning to post 150 letters at the town’s local store, which is a pick-up and drop-off point for residents’ mail.
“They were really surprised when we turned up with a box full of letters.”
Mr Gourlie said the initiative would continue every Tuesday morning until Christmas.
The organisers hoped interested residents would drop off their letters to the group on a Tuesday morning so they could post them through the Karitane store.
The letters the group posted on Tuesday were going as far afield as Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Mr Gourlie said.
He had been inspired by a recent trip to Japan, where even though technology was so prominent, there were many special days to encourage letter-writing, including Children’s Writing Day and Grandma’s Writing Day, and the postal service was one of the country’s largest employers.
“They see the social importance of writing letters.”
Mr Gourlie said he was told by New Zealand Post that a letterbox needed 25 letters through it per week for NZ Post to retain it, so they hoped to help the Karitane community by providing more than enough to meet this requirement.
A petition was circulated in the coastal settlement in July this year in an attempt to retain the local store as a pick-up and drop-off point for residents’ post, instead of the proposed establishment of a rural delivery system, the Otago Daily Times reported.
A New Zealand Post spokeswoman said while the potential use of the store as a pick-up and drop-off point for postage was still under discussion, she confirmed the postbox outside the shop would remain, either way.
Talks over whether the town’s residents will be made to move to a rural delivery system instead of the one pick-up and drop-off point –¬†which they have had in place for decades –¬†were still continuing and NZ Post would make a decision in the next few months, she said.
Mr Gourlie and other letter-writing enthusiasts will meet in the Octagon at 9am every Tuesday until Christmas and residents can drop their letters off if they want them posted at Karitane. Mr Gourlie can be contacted on 021 260-8059 for more information.