Friday 18 May 2012: Coffee brown replaces Post Office red
The Grey Lynn Post Office was built on the corner in the centre of the Grey Lynn shops in 1939. A lot of people used the Post Office for more than its postal services; Kiwi Bank uses Post Offices as outlets, and people are able to pay for car licences, and other such transactions. It was said to be one of the core aspects of the life of the Grey Lynn village.
So when NZ Post announced its intention to sell the building and replace the full Post Office with an agency across the main road in a pharmacy, there was an outcry. Protests were mounted. Public meetings called. politicians from the left came and tried to be all things to all people. NZ Post is now a State Owned Enterprise and behaves as near as it can manage to do so, as if it were a big business. So, of course it all opposition was heard and ignored.
A large amount of the opposition was related to a rumour that the new owner intended to open a bar. Instead he has opened a cafe (called Kokako). The very necessary structural work was done, along with refurbishment. Old bits and pieces (e.g. a desk scales for weighing parcels) have become part of the decor.
During the preparation for opening as Kokako, the owner found a locked door, and no one had a key to it. A locksmith was called and opened to a cobweb filled unlit room containing such things as bicycles hanging on the wall, a 1970s woman's gown, some old documents and lots of carved and written initials names and dates.
Apparently it was a store room, and it had almost certainly not been opened for 20 years.
All postal services are available in the pharmacy, and the Post Office Boxes have been relocated there (mine included). As the pharmacy hours actually exceed the old Post Office hours, for someone like me who uses the Post Office for mail only, this has actually been an improvement in service. I still feel that the elderly who don't pay bills on line have been hard done by as the nearest full service is quite some distance away.
This photo was taken shortly before 0700 am, as staff were starting to get the food ready for the breakfasters. They shut by mid afternoon, and have become an important aspect of local community life in the less than six months since they opened.