Could You Be Great Barrier’s Next Postmaster?

Could you be the next postmaster of one of New Zealand’s most remote post shops?

Situated on Great Barrier Island, over 100 kilometers from Auckland and accessible only by boat or small plane, the Claris Shopping Centre’s post shop offers a rare opportunity to manage a piece of New Zealand’s postal history.

The shop, named Pigeon Post, serves as a modern link to the island’s early communication ingenuity, when carrier pigeons were vital for transmitting urgent messages.

Historical messages carried by “crack birds” included the tragic news of the SS Wairarapa shipwreck in 1894 and the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, sent from a depot on Karangahape Road in Auckland’s CBD. Back then, daily boat service wasn’t available, making the pigeon service crucial to transmit and receive word from the mainland.

Today, the operation is more streamlined, with mail arriving several times a week via courier planes or the Sealink ferry.

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The post shop itself is part of a bustling community hub and includes a New Zealand Post box lobby, which is pending renewal and could boost income by adding $550 to $950 per month from 195 postal boxes.

Potential buyers have two options: purchase a turnkey operation ready to go with all fixtures included or start fresh and customize the space to their taste. Previously purchased pre-COVID for $95,000, the shop saw annual turnovers of $120,000 to $130,000, though recent figures have adjusted to between $70,000 and $90,000.

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The lease runs $1,200 per month with additional operating expenses of $800 to $1,000. There’s flexibility for the shop to be divided, offering room for both retail and a workshop or studio.

While Great Barrier Island’s post shop is notably remote, it is not the most distant within New Zealand’s postal network. That distinction likely goes to the post shop on the Chatham Islands, located over 800 kilometers east of the South Island.

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Then there’s locations like Pitcairn Island and the Cook Islands which also have their own postal services, but operate independently from New Zealand Post.

Of course none of those share Aotea’s innovative legacy of Pigeon Post, which uniquely linked the motu to Auckland before modern communication methods were established.

Arising from a matrimonial split, the business is seeking a new steward. Contact Ruark Redwood at ruark.redwood@gmail.com or 0211837429 to step into history and shape its next chapter.

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