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Historic Parliamentary Post Box Re-Commissioned

Historic Parliamentary Post Box Re-Commissioned

A slice of New Zealand mail history was brought into the present today with the Speaker of the House and past Postmaster General, Rt Hon Johnathan Hunt, officially re-commissioning the complex’s historic post box.

From left to right: Rt Hon Johnathan Hunt, Furniture Restorer Bob Yellowlees and Parliament Post Shop Manager Tim Russell. Photography by Woolf.

The post box, which is now situated outside the Parliament Post Shop, dates to around 1899 when the Parliamentary Library was built. Its distinctive gothic revival style matches other Library furniture. The re-commissioning is part of the build up to a programme of activities next year to mark 150 years of representative government in New Zealand.

The library had served as a post office well before 1899. According to the then Chief Librarian’s reports, Parliament had a ‘mailman who sold stamps and posted mails’. It is understood that this box was moved to Parliament House in 1923 when the post office was relocated, but is not known how long it continued to be used in its new location.

Parliament Post Shop Manager, Tim Russell, said the re-commissioning of the post box was a quirky addition to the close relationship between Parliament and Post. “The Post Shop is an important part of Parliamentary life and this is a great way for New Zealand Post to participate in Parliament’s upcoming celebrations.”

“No doubt the post box will become another interesting feature for the many tourists and visitors touring Parliament each week.” Today was a double celebration for New Zealand Post with the Speaker using the post box to send letters in honour of New Zealand Post’s latest stamp release. Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt mailed first day covers of the 2003 Scenic Waterways stamps, released today, to the Speakers of the House of Commons, United States’ House of Representatives, Lower House of the Japanese Diet and the People’s Congress of China.

The 2003 Scenic Waterways stamps are special for two reasons: They celebrate the United Nations International Year of Freshwater and the 50th Anniversary of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.

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