King of the posties retires after 40 years

Wanaka postie Ed King finishes with NZ Post on Friday after 40 years. Photo by Mark Price.
Wanaka postie Ed King finishes with NZ Post on Friday after 40 years. Photo by Mark Price.
After 40 years delivering the mail in Wanaka, postie Edwin King has hung up his bag for the last time.

Mr King has been team leader of New Zealand Post's four Wanaka posties in recent years but still fondly remembers starting out in 1974 as the town's sole postie - doing his round on a bicycle rather than on a motorbike.

During his Post Office days, he was inclined to stop to lend a hand with a lawnmower that would not start and sometimes he would add flowers to deliveries of bereavement cards.

On one occasion the mail was three hours late because Mr King was busy taking an elderly woman to Dunstan Hospital, in Clyde, after she slipped in the snow.

In 1990, he was first at the scene of a house fire, tackling the fire with a garden hose and helping the elderly Lady Margaret Gilkison to safety.

But he was unable to save her husband, Sir Alan Gilkison (80).

And there was the big snow of 1995, and the equinoctial gales of spring that meant he was forced to walk in places such as Rata St, rather than ride.

Mr King took over Wanaka's postie round not long after home delivery started.

Previously, residents collected their mail from 150 boxes at the Post Office in Ardmore St.

With much of Wanaka consisting of cribs, and cribs not having telephones, Christmas brought a rush of seasons greetings via telegrams and these were always given priority.

Since then, Mr King has seen the ''summer holiday town'' where he was born grow to a point where it has 1100 to 1200 letterboxes.

And the mail that once consisted mostly of letters and the occasional birthday present now includes a lot more magazines and online purchases.

Mr King says he has never had an accident, despite the ever-present danger of car doors opening in front of him and vehicles pulling out without signalling.

He says it will take him a couple of months to work out how he will spend his retirement but he and his wife Judy plan to start by exploring the parts of the North Island they have not been to.

He says they are well-equipped with bikes, tennis racquets, golf clubs and fishing rods, and he hopes to have more time now to use them.

mark.price@odt.co.nz