No more papers after 49 years

Allied Press distribution manager Warren Godfrey tosses a newspaper from a delivery van for the...
Allied Press distribution manager Warren Godfrey tosses a newspaper from a delivery van for the last time yesterday, as he retires after more than 49 years. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

A colourful five-decade career in newspapers has provided Warren Godfrey with ''hundreds'' of stories, but the Allied Press distribution manager is leaving the job with his secrets untold.

''I could tell you about the pussy cat, the twin brothers ... there are hundreds of stories I could tell you, but they are all classified,'' he said.

Mr Godfrey celebrated his 65th birthday this week and last night walked away for the last time from the Lower Stuart St building where he had spent almost 50 years.

As a 15-year-old, Mr Godfrey started full-time employment as a linotype mechanic for the Evening Star on February 13, 1963.

The rise of computer technology changed the course of his career in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he moved from ''hot metal'' to ''cold metal''.

He then sought further change in 1985 when he successfully applied for the vacant position of Allied Press circulation manager.

In 2009 he was made distribution manager.

Born and raised in Dunedin, Mr Godfrey said his father was a motor mechanic and the prospect of working seven-day weeks, often on call, did not appeal.

But someone else was having the last laugh, he said, as he talked about the pressures of delivering an average 50,000 papers on time each day.

''All I've ever wanted is for the paper to come out at the same time every day. You only get one chance to deliver a paper.''

Flooding and heavy snowfalls were among a long list of unforeseen happenings which hampered delivery operations through the years. Mr Godfrey remembered transporting newspapers from Cromwell to Queenstown and Wanaka by helicopter when flooding prevented road travel over much of Central Otago.

''I've had horrendous fun. I've never thought of doing anything else. If I had my chance again, I would make the same mistake,'' he said.

Mr Godfrey had had ''hundreds of good people'' under his management and had met hundreds more through his job.

He would miss ''everything'' about the work and did not know what retirement would entail.

''Watch this space.''


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