New Zealand Post Office

Known as the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department (NZP&T) from 1881 to 1959, and as the New Zealand Post Office (NZPO), from 1959 to 1987, this government department offered mail, telephone and banking services following the model provided by the British Post Office (GPO). Already large (1,700 branches) at the beginning of the century, by 1987 the department had expanded in scale and complexity delivering community services including birth, marriage, death and car registrations, accepting television and fishing licence fees, enrolling people to vote, and collecting pensions.

Many Post Office Buildings were designed and constructed through the government's Ministry of Works. As public places for the community, public artworks were commissioned for many of these buildings, a few of which have survived.

As part of the major reforms of the late 1980s, the department was abolished by the Postal Services Act 1987. Its functions were devolved into three 'state owned enterprises' (SOEs): 'New Zealand Post Limited', 'Telecom Corporation of New Zealand' and 'Post Office Bank Limited.' Both Telecom and the banking section were sold to American and Australasian corporations respectively, however in 2001 the government reestablished banking services through 'KiwiBank,' a subsidiary of the only remaining SOE, NZPost Ltd.

See also:

E. Mervyn Taylor, ‘Early Settlers’ (1962), 122 Queen St (former Post Office Building), Whakaoriori Masterton

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2018