South Island town proves difficult to find for NZ Post

Residents in a South Island town have been left feeling misplaced after waiting days and weeks for their mail, with parcels bouncing between other towns.

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Reefton was the first town in New Zealand to receive electricity, but NZ Post has been struggling to find it on its radar. Source: Fair Go

Folk in Reefton approached Fair Go after experiencing ongoing delays when receiving parcels via New Zealand Post’s CourierPost.

The town of Reefton has seen fame and fortune – with a rich mining history and as the first place in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity.

Roughly 80km from both Greymouth and Westport, it has a population of around 1000 people.

Resident Paul Hazlewood says they deserve more recognition, “we live in the heart of the golden mile”.

But he and other residents feel like the town has dropped off the radar of the country’s postal service.

Paul told Fair Go that the parcels he receives are posted in an overnight bag, “so they pay for an overnight service and of course, we never get it overnight”.

Instead, he says it nearly always takes a week for it to get to Reefton.

“The worst one was a parcel that arrived from China and came into Auckland and went to the sorting centre in Auckland and it was there for about a week,” he says.

The journey had just begun.

Paul says the parcel went onto Christchurch, then Westport, was resorted, sent back to Christchurch “and then to my amazement a few days later, I looked at the tracking number and it was in Amsterdam!”.

Christina Mitchell has lived in Reefton for 22 years and says the overnight courier service has been a regular problem for her and for others.

She felt helpless after recently ordering medication for her dog. It was sent from Wellington, but was delayed in Westport and then diverted to Christchurch.

“He got very sick in the 36 hours that he was without it and when it finally arrived.. I actually thought I was going to lose him”.

When Fair Go asked New Zealand Post for an explanation, chief operating officer Brendon Main said its automated sorting machine that allocates the parcels to where it needs to go had a programming problem.

“So what had happened, is that it had parcels being directed to the wrong location”.

But Main says thanks to the feedback from Reefton residents, NZ Post has been able to sort the problem out.

Now the parcels will “go through to Reefton on time, overnight and we'll be able to get them to where they need to be”.

The company is also adding an option to 'Click and Collect' from the Reefton Post Shop, which will be up and running in the next few weeks.