New postal service and controversial name
The area south of the Tukituki river mouth was still called Clive Grange until 1913 when the Post Office presumed to impose a new name that annoyed many locals.
According to the Hastings Standard on 20 March 1913, the New Zealand Post Office decided it would “adopt the more euphonical Maori appellation” calling the area Tahumoana (seaside). The decision came just ahead of connecting a telephone line and opening the first Post Office, which was part of the general store in Grange Rd which opened on 21 April.
However, locals, then as now, objected to being told what to name their evolving coastal village and rejected the new name. On 10 June, New Zealand Post agreed, with the urging of influential locals, on the name Haumoana, meaning sea breeze, although it could also imply breath, wind or vitality of the ocean.
Originally the post office was simply a counter at the back of Estall’s general store along Grange Rd. The first postmaster was Harry Taylor. The building was badly damaged by fire in 24 February 1926 and rebuilt. From 1923-1953 a rural delivery was in place for Tukituki, Te Awanga and Clifton and run from the post shop each daily with Taylor holding the contract from 1925-1927.
The Post Office had moved to the new general store opposite the present-day fire station in Beach Rd by the 1940s with one of two fire sirens for the newly formed fire brigade mounted on the roof and electrically operated by then postmistress, Mrs Bambry.
With the growth in the number of beach residences in the 1960s the general store-post office proved inadequate. At Christmas, there used to be long queues of people picking up and delivering parcels because there was no postie. Things improved when the dirt track was finally paved to make it easier for people to get to the store.
The new building on Beach Rd, today a private residence, only came about after the local branch of the Country Women’s Institute, formed in 1930 as the Women’s Institute, canvassed the village with a petition asking for support. CWI members had a function to celebrate and provided afternoon tea when Sir Richard Harrison came to officially open it on 18 August 1969. CWI newsletter 30-09-1981
The 990 square foot (301 sqm) building of brick veneer was erected by Mr J. L Jones. The first post mistress was Mrs Pat McGoverin who had been a postal clerk in the store. Local postal delivery began in October 1969. Julian Driver was the first postie.
Hastings Standard, 20 March 1913
From the Bay to the Bush, the Postal History of Hawke’s Bay, Bruce Marshall and Robin Startup, HB Philatelic Society, 1984, p136
Interview with Moira Lindsay
Images: NZ Stamp Collectors and Auckland Weekly News, Thursday May 12, 1918 (so no, it’s not really Haumoana postal delivery!)