For more than 60 years, millions of kilometers and countless vehicles later, Dannevirke's Gary Wallace is still delivering the news, the mail and keeping an eye out for those who live in rural Dannevirke.

"I reckon I've been the equivalent of around the world 66 times on my runs and I've certainly been to the moon and back a few times too," he said.

Mr Wallace, 78, has an impressive record of delivering the Dannevirke (Evening) News and now Hawke's Bay Today to rural properties around the district that goes back to 1955. But his history goes back to 1947, when as a 14-year-old, he helped his dad out.

"I started off in 1955 driving for my dad on Saturdays, just in the Umutaoroa district and I did that for three years,'' Mr Wallace recalls. "I took over full time in 1958 and the only time the News (Dannevirke Evening News) didn't get through was when a major snow storm prevented me from finishing my run, but I managed to get halfway around.''
For many on his rural runs, Mr Wallace is a local hero.


"He makes our life tick over, he's so dependable," Ray Black of Umutaoroa told the Dannevirke News. "He's devoted his life to the job and the people who live on the routes he covers. He looks out for everyone."

These days Mr Wallace's run includes Umutaoroa, Glengarry, Raumati, Tiratu and part of Rua Roa.

"I've delivered newspapers to four generations of some families and I still know where certain members of each family are now, even if they've left the rural district and moved to town,'' he said. "And there are some of those original families still on my run.''

From his first Ford V8, to a Chevy one-tonne truck, seven VW trucks and Mitsubishi's and Toyota's, Mr Wallace has well and truly "run in'' 12 vehicles.

"I've seen it all, including plenty of accidents and there have been plenty of slips, trees down and washouts, which have made things interesting,'' he said. "And of course in those early days it was all gravel roads.''

Mr Wallace's wife Alison helps to sort the mail before the morning run begins, but not in the early dawn hours of years ago.