History Of MPA
A BRIEF HISTORY
IN NORTHLAND, August 1945, the first MPSS lessons were posted to Maori children. Mr Arnot Edwards typed and duplicated these on an ancient flat-bed duplicator. About the same time and unknown to the Northland folk, Miss Elsie Severinsen (now Mrs Elias Kerr) commenced her own lessons for children in Marton and surrounding districts.
Interest grew rapidly, and in 1946 the Postal Sunday School Mission in Auckland kindly gave their lessons at a low cost to those who wanted them in the Maori field. In 1948 Mr and Mrs Arnot Edwards were appointed as full time superintendents, a position they held until their resignation in 1964.
Because the roll had increased to something over 2000 and branches numbered 15 it was considered that Dargaville was too far away from the centre of operations. Accordingly in 1950 Wanganui was chosen as a suitable centre in which to establish Headquarters.
In 1955 the small, antiquated printing press was exchanged for a modern Heidelberg platen press which was purchased by interested Assemblies and donated to MPSS.
Mr and Mrs Ken Forster were appointed as superintendents in 1964, and sought to build upon the foundation laid by Arnot and Ruth Edwards. They continued as superintendents until early 1970 when Mr and Mrs Fred Fox, who had been serving the Lord as field directors for MPSS in Northland, were appointed as superintendents. In 1974 a further step forward was taken with the purchase of a secondhand Solna 124 offset printing press.
1976 saw the commendation of Graham and Evelyn Batson by the Foxton Assembly. They moved to Wanganui to assist in the work at HQ and took over as superintendents on the resignation of Mr Fox in 1982.
In 1977 came the opening of the new HQ office and printing works in Lowther Street, Wanganui. Also added to the plant at that time was a graphics art camera for film work associated with offset printing, and other ancillary equipment which made us fully independent for all printing requirements until the advent of greatly increased colour work some years later.
In 1980 the Solna offset press was replaced with a brand new Dominant 514 which handled most of the offset work for almost the next 20 years, when it too was replaced by a new Ryobi 520X in December of 1999.Shortly after purchasing the Ryobi we also purchased a finishing unit to handle magazines and calendars, etc.
It was then becoming obvious that our building was somewhat cramped for space and, after examining various alternatives, in 2002 we were able to purchase the property at the rear of the existing HQ building. This then became the new Maori Postal Aotearoa office with the original building being used solely for printing and graphics. With the assistance of Mobile Missionary Maintenance both buildings were upgraded and new concrete laid between the buildings for easier access.
In 2005 we added to the plant an image setter, allowing us to produce all our own film work for offset which was a decided advantage cost wise and for convenience. This made us fully independent for all printing operations once again.
Present HQ Staff
Not only has there been changes in technology over the years, but there have been changes in leaders and HQ staff. Earlier this year (2017) Malachi and Charmaine Williams joined Evelyn and Graham Batson and are learning the routine in order to be able to run HQ in the near future. Being the elder daughter of Graham and Evelyn, Charmaine has been brought up with the work of MPA since about the age of two when the family shifted to Wanganui from Foxton Beach to become involved in the work. Malachi has an engineering background and is also well acquainted with current computer technology. They are paid a minimum wage from the MPA general fund.
As we look back over all these years, we do so with so much gratitude and praise to the Lord for the way in which He has directed and supplied the various needs of Maori Postal Aotearoa.