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Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm                              Last admittance at 4pm

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Communications - Write a letter!


Communications - Letter writing

Writing letters was the only form of communication between people who lived apart from each other.  Sunday evening was the most common time to write to relatives and friends. By candlelight, with a pen and ink bottle, one would write about daily events and the health of friends and family. Once your letter was written it would be ready to start its long voyage back to the United Kingdom. 

Ngamapu (James Fairburn) was Howick's first postmaster and he lived next door to Fencible James White in Elliot Street Howick. Ngamapu - known as the Maori mail-runner - ran barefoot to Auckland twice a week to deliver and collect mail. He ran from Howick to Pakuranga over the marshes to Panmure, then over a scoria road to St Johns College, along the Tamaki Coach Road to Remuera and Auckland. The journey to Auckland Post Office took him on average 4.25 hours for each trip.He left Howick around 10.15 am on a Monday and Thursday taking mail collected from Panmure, Whitford and Howick. He returned at 2.30pm on a Wednesday and Saturday to Howick bringing mail for these three areas.  This was the way mail was collected and delivered from 1848 to 1857 when a horse and cart took over the delivery. Ngamapu was paid 20 shillings a week - a reasonable wage for the time. 

Check out our worksheet and write a letter to someone you miss and create a stamp for its journey! You might also like to create your own paper and wax stamp for your letter. 


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icon time blueOpen 7 days a week
10am to 5pm
(last admission at 4pm)

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Howick Historical Village

Bells Road

Lloyd Elsmore Park



New Zealand