From about 1856 mail was delivered regularly between Wellington and Auckland by a succession of Māori mail carriers. The trip took two and a half weeks each way, partly because the carriers, who had become devout Christians, refused to work on Sundays. The journey up the west coast was difficult and often dangerous. One postman almost drowned crossing Kāwhia Harbour by canoe in rough weather. However, he managed to save both himself and his mailbag, which could weigh around 30 kilograms.
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Source: Howard Robinson, A history of the Post Office in New Zealand. Wellington: Government Printer, 1964, p. 58