First Post & Telegraph Office
1994
Roy Cunliffe, Katikati.
Acrylic on panels, 22 sq m.
This building was sited across the main road from the Uretara Domain. For several years after the arrival of the first settlers the site for their town remained uncertain. Later it became plain that the Uretara Landing was where the town would grow. The new Post Office, officially named Uretara, was opened on 28 December 1880 and the telegraph office four days later. The original offices, the Post Office by the store at the Uretara Landing and the telegraph office at Bowentown, were then closed. The settlers asked the name Uretara be changed to Waterford but this name was official for only three years. It is said that the settlement’s leader George Vesey Stewart, objected to paying the extra money it cost to add “New Zealand” to his cablegrams to avoid confusion with the Waterford in Ireland so in 1884 it was renamed Katikati after the old Maori name for the Bowentown area at the northern entrance to the Tauranga Harbour. The telegram delivery girl, Miri Tylee, died 30 August 1994. The telegraph girl at the time was Rita Johnson, now Mrs Rita Hume, aged 98 in 1999, and still living in Katikati but she is not shown in the mural. The postmistress is looking out of the window. To the right of the Post Office are the gaol, the courthouse (which also housed the library) a private home and the old flourmill. The mural painted by Roy Cunliffe, was sponsored by Telecom New Zealand. Roy also painted the mural 'Uretara Landing'.