The mail must get through!

Published date04 June 2021
Publication titleWest Coast Farming Times, The
Mahia Fisher is the proverbial busy bee, delivering the goods as the rural delivery mail contractor for the Blackball and Reefton areas. This position, delivering to "around 225" people, spans many kilometres, and services many needs, up and down the Grey Valley.

Leaving her home in Nelson Creek at 5.30am, Mahia starts her day at the Arney Street depot in Greymouth by sorting, scanning, and organising her parcel deliveries.

This is no small job -- while the advent of e-mail has led to fewer envelopes, the internet has also increased the parcel delivery workload exponentially.

Post-Covid, Mahia says "parcels have gone through the roof", increasing by "around 40%" as people look at other options for buying, not only through lockdown restrictions, but also health concerns.

As the slots are arranged, each is in order of delivery with two households to a slot, letters placed on either right or left accordingly.

"Sometimes there are mistakes, but we're only human and most people are good about it," she smiles.

The warm smile of Mahia is a constant during the day.

Parcels loaded into trolleys, their details scanned into her device, Mahia proceeds to the sorting room where smaller envelopes are waiting and orders them into the appropriate slots. Finally, they are deftly bundled together with rubber bands and placed in trays to be loaded with the parcels.

With the red Hyundai van bulging at the seams, it's time to set off from the Arney Street depot.

Mahia's first stop is at the foot of the Blackball hill, where her territory begins.

It's a Wednesday and, on top of the usual workload, The Messenger newspaper is to be delivered so it promises to be a busy day.

With a firm grasp of what lies before her, Mahia says "time management is essential."

As we head to Ikamatua, Mahia gestures at the farms we pass: "These people, the farmers, they're practical people, out all hours working, making sure their animals are good, it's physical and hard, I take my hat off to them. I used to shear in that shed over there," and she points at a rough old building in a passing paddock.

Mahia came to the West Coast from Masterton in 1987 with her parents Mahia and Alice Pitau, as a rousey on a shearing gang. Working with Malcolm Sadler at Nelson Creek, they sheared wool for a lot of the Grey Valley farms.

It was in Nelson Creek that she met Clayton Fisher, of the historic Creek family.

"Well Mr Clayton came up to Masterton looking for me after we went back home "

The couple returned to...

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