When Martin Leach took over the Ponsonby News in July 2004, I gave him a bit of advice. I told him that I delivered to local businesses myself. Some were advertisers and some were not.
I was delighted when Martin continued this practice, one he has maintained ever since. There are now lots of business owners who have seen Martin every month for the past 14 years, and become firm friends.
Twelve thousand copies of Ponsonby News are hand delivered every month to every home in Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Herne Bay, St Mary’s Bay, Freeman’s Bay, Arch Hill and Westmere.
Martin’s partner, Jay, organises the 21 families who deliver these magazines each month.
When we tried professional delivery companies for a time, we used to get regular calls telling us boxes of magazines were found thrown over fences, and not delivered. Now Jay knows who is responsible for each street and can follow up any delivery problems.
One issue of concern is wet magazines. Not everyone has a flash waterproof letterbox, so Martin has been covering the mags in plastic so they will be kept dry. Most people have praised this endeavour, but with an increasing awareness of the damage plastic is doing to our world, Martin is constantly exploring new options. He is now using a 100% recyclable plastic.
Deliverers must get all their mags delivered by Sunday evening each month, after receiving them on the Wednesday. Some families have been delivering for years, handing down the job to younger siblings. They are paid 15 cents per copy so if they deliver a thousand they earn $150.
The business area receives close attention. Martin, of course as I’ve said, delivers many himself, usually part of Ponsonby Road, Parnell, Newton, Symonds Street, and Mt Eden. Martin also has Dan who has helped for eight years now.
Gwynne, Martin’s operations manager, delivers to the Three Lamps area Grey Lynn shops, Farros precinct and part of Richmond Road.
Jay with help from George delivers to Jervois and Great North Roads’ businesses. The pair also deliver to our 21 family delivery teams.
All Ponsonby News staff help with distribution. Melissa, our graphic designer, delivers the CBD and K Road, while our other graphic designer Arna, helps too.
Piles of mags are left at local libraries, including Mt Albert, their is s stand outside Barfoots Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, New World, alongwith Bayleys in Three Lamps and the new Countdown.
Martin also has Dan and Jay is helped by George distributing. Dan has helped for eight years now.
This in-house hand delivery ensures magazines reach their target readers. We’re in our 29th year of production. I started the mag in 1989. A lot of goodwill has been built up, and it is always exciting, when people say to a deliverer, "good, I thought it was due. I love reading Ponsonby News."
A few people ask us not to deliver to their home or business, and we respect this. Sometimes it’s a person who goes away a lot and doesn’t want mail left in their letterbox to attract burglars.
Professional surveys have shown that about 69,000 people read Ponsonby News each month. It’s a huge effort and a huge responsibility to get each month’s edition out in time and with plenty in it to read.
I always tease Martin that he and Jay need a good lie down after production each month to recover, and then before they can turn around, the next deadline is quickly upon them.
We need a good party next year, to celebrate Ponsonby News serving greater Ponsonby for thirty yearr JOHN ELLIOTT