Tales of Te Papa resource masthead


Pigeon Posties

Episode:99Te Papa Collection:History

Suggested curriculum levels:2 – 6

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Social Sciences: Continuity and Change Economic World

Description:Today posties face the challenge of steep streets, bad weather or the odd angry guard dog. But the original 'airmail' posties had to fly across 90 kilometres of rough sea with letters tied to their legs!

Questions for students

  1. When and why was pigeon post started between Auckland and Great Barrier Island? What problem did it solve?
  2. Why did the Post Office object to the use of the word 'post' on the Pigeongram Service's stamps? How was this resolved?
  3. Two rival services operated a pigeon post to Great Barrier Island. Describe the similarities and differences between them. What does it mean to 'undercut' the price of a competitor? What is the effect of this? Give a modern-day example of price-cutting and explain the effect it has on business.
  4. Why was it cheaper to send a pigeongram from Great Barrier Island to Auckland than the other way around?
  5. These sayings are used in the Tale: 'The mail must get through' and 'Don't shoot the messenger'. Research each one to explain its origins and meanings. Record your findings using the 'Words' response template.

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