Horowhenua, Kapiti and Manawatu are now the heartland for an emerging postal provider with ambition, called Whitestone Post.
Though the company started five years ago in Oamaru as a franchise, its head office is now in Palmerston North and its Levin postie has hit the streets recently. The company is now a limited liability company and three of Whitestone Post's five shareholders are Horowhenua residents, hence the drive to develop the business locally.
Whitestone will soon be moving into Rangitikei, Hamilton and Auckland's North Shore.
"It is our intention to be a nationwide postal service within three years," said Jon Norfolk, long-time Levin resident, Whitestone shareholder and the company's sales and marketing manager.
The rapid growth of Whitestone Post in the past few years shows that snail mail hasn't slowed to a crawl yet.
"Many industries still rely heavily on postal services," Norfolk said. Whitestone offers competitive prices and promises next day delivery throughout the region. More than 160 Horowhenua businesses already use Whitestone Post, which sells prepaid envelopes of all sizes and offers a number of drop-off boxes for those letters, but Whitestone also picks up from clients.
A standard letter costs 90c through Whitestone Post. Mail collected throughout Horowhenua and Kapiti is couriered to Palmerston where it is sorted and then returned, ready for next day delivery.
All letters can be tracked by the company through GPS. Local posties deliver mail Monday to Friday and soon you will see Whitestone letterboxes around town. Speldhurst Country Estate residents already use Whitestone Post.
They buy prepaid branded envelopes and have a receiver box in the village to drop their letters. Many local businesses already use Whitestone Post and soon the public can use it.
For now any mail going through Whitestone to areas where it has no service it hands mail to New Zealand Post for delivery.
Whitestone products will soon be in local shops, but the company emphasises it only does letters, not parcels.
Whitestone believes in the benefits of a postal service and not just for those who do not have or cannot afford electronic modes of transmission.
Norfolk said he has found that businesses get a better and faster response to invoices posted rather than emailed to clients.
"A lot of businesses tell me than an electronic bill takes time to get paid, while a posted one generates an almost immediate response."
Whitestone Post was founded in 2014 by Murray Bell in Oamaru and the business delivered its mail by taxi. Whitestone is now a nationally registered postal delivery service and its owners, management and staff believe that local people can provide a superior service. The company says it has a good working relationship with New Zealand Post.
Whitestone works in a number of regions in the South island and its motto is 'Faster, Cheaper, Local.'
Smaller infrastructure, and lower overheads are the main reasons Whitestone can compete with large providers like DX and NZ Post.
For more information: www.whitestonepost.co.nz, 0800 POST WS (767 897). They will back to you via snail mail.