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One out of the box: Gavin posts 50 years

Gavin Oakly has been a postie for 50 years. PHOTO/HELEN HOLT

When Gavin Oakly became a postie when he was 17, he didn’t think he would still be doing it 50 years later.

“I started as a telegram boy, and then a job became available at the post service.

“I didn’t think I would still be here.”

While he never intended to be at NZ Post for half a century, he wouldn’t swap his time for anything.

“I was offered many jobs in the mail room along the way, but I turned them down as I like being active and being outdoors.

“This job keeps me fit.”

Over his time with NZ Post he has done stints as a head postie, occasionally working in the Carterton and Martinborough depots. He also delivered letters in all weather.

“Some days the rain would soak right through your clothes.”

The post team celebrated his milestone with a morning tea, where there was a bit of banter about the good old days.

He said post-tracking machines and electric bikes had changed the industry.

“These bikes have been a game changer. You can put them on multiple settings and go up to 35km an hour.

“They’re great for going up Lansdowne Hill. Back in the day if you reached a steep hill you would just get off your bike and walk.”

Over the years Oakly built relationships with residents and received a variety of gifts at Christmas time.

“For the last two years, a woman has given an expensive bottle of champagne. Another person gave me half a dozen beers.

“Most people are really friendly. I’ve delivered to Upper Plain Rd for eight years and everyone there recognises me.”

When new posties join the Masterton service, they don’t believe Oakly had been there 50 years.

“They tell me I don’t look ‘old enough’”.

Wairarapa service delivery co-ordinator Darren McGregor said not many make it to 50 years.

“There’s maybe one other person in Masterton who has done over 50.”

“I had only heard of posties doing 30 years before I moved to Masterton.”

As well as being a union delegate for the past 20 years, Oakly is also president of the Offroad Wairarapa 4×4 Club.

His passion for four-wheel driving led to him spending his long service award [a $2000 Prezzy Card] on a new set of tyres for his Jeep Wrangler.

After reaching the milestone, Oakly will continue to deliver on his electric bike two days a week, and deliver by motorbike three days a week.

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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