Post Office (Former)

33 Honi Taipua Street, Manakau

  • Post Office on the left..
    Copyright: Horowhenua Historical Society Inc..
  • Post Office (Former). Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: C Cochran. Date: 28/06/1985.
  • Map from QuickMap®.
    Copyright: QuickMap®.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4063 Date Entered 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 81871 (CT WN48B/765), Wellington Land District, and the building known as Post Office (Former) thereon.

City/District Council

Horowhenua District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 81871 (CT WN48B/765), Wellington Land District

Location description

33 Honi Taipua Street, Manakau


Manakau’s Post Office (Former) resulted from a 1908 expansion of an existing early twentieth century building and has historic and social importance because it was a vital communications and community hub for its Horowhenua farming district for much of that century. This modest building has architectural significance as a representative timber example of the standardised post office designs established by Government Architect John Campbell.

The advent of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway opened up this area for earnest European settlement in the 1880s. Manakau was established in 1887 and the town’s first post office apparently operated out of the General Store. The Post Office Department obtained the property in late 1906; it already featured a building, which was then altered and added to in 1908. Not just a place for sending and receiving communications, the Post Office would also have offered services such as banking facilities and an associated telephone exchange was eventually built in a small separate building nearby. In 1988 the Post Office was said to have ‘always been the center [sic] of the village…a popular place for residents to meet and gossip…and its history is woven into that of the district’. As such, in 1987 there was a large gathering to celebrate a hundred years of the post office in Manakau. However, the following year the Post Office was closed. Telecom used the building from 1990.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century there was a post office building boom. To manage the Government Architect Office’s workload John Campbell developed three post office standard designs. The 1908 changes to the existing building, which is likely to have been the general store, meant Manakau’s Post Office adhered to the simplest of these - the small provincial or suburban post office design. The modest, rectangular, rusticated weatherboard building exhibits features typical of the 1QW standardised design, such as a hipped roof with a pediment over the entrance porch, sash windows, some instances of decoration including corbels and entrance scroll bracketing and contained both a public office area and a private residence for the postmaster/mistress. At the time of the Post Office’s closure the building was said to have had ‘few alterations…since it was built’. The former Post Office was adapted into a house in 2007.

There are similar late nineteenth and early twentieth century Category 2 historic place examples of this type of Post Office on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero, with varying degrees of alteration, in Ashhurst, Halcombe, Havelock North, Kaikoura, Takaka, Te Kopuru and Tokomaru Bay.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1908 -
Rear additions and alterations to front section

1986 -
Frosted window glazing replaced

2007 -
Alterations to convert building into a residence

Original Construction
1901 -
Front section constructed

Completion Date

11th October 2016

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Richardson, 1988

Peter Richardson, 'An Architecture of Empire: The Government Buildings of John Campbell in New Zealand', MA Thesis, University of Canterbury, 1988

Clulee, 2009

I, Clulee, Post Office Buildings in the Lower North Island, Auckland, 2009

Kete Horowhenua

‘Manakau School Centenary, 1888–1988’, Feb 1988, Kete Horowhenua,

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.