Stoke's Tania Read with some of the letters she receives from her 35 pen pals across the world. Photo: Andrew Board.

Stoke woman has 35 pen pals


One Stoke woman is doing her best to keep local posties employed, writing up to ten letters a day to some of her 35 pen pals.
Tania Read, 30, got her first pen pal when she was 16 and “pretty down”. She found the Palmerston North friend via a page on Teletex and is still writing to her, along with 34 others.

Her letters come from other parts of New Zealand as well as Canada, the United States, Finland, Australia, Germany, Austria, England, Singapore, Argentina and even Malta.
She says the pen pals have given her friendship and a trip to the letterbox is always exciting.

“Sometimes I get five letters in one day, that’s always exciting.”
She says she also emails and Facebook messages some of the pen pals but prefers the traditional method.

“I think it’s more personal and I just get the most pleasure out of it. I only do emails if I decide it’s too expensive to print off some photos to send.”
Tania says she can write up to ten letters a day and they often take her more than an hour as she decides how best to structure it. She says she has 12 that she needs to write within the next week as well as some Christmas presents to buy.

“We swap Christmas and birthday presents which is neat. Some of them have the same hobbies as me so they may be able to get me something I haven’t seen before.”
Despite having a huge collection of pen pals and occasionally suffering from a sore hand from all the writing, Tania says she wants to do it forever. “I’ve got friends all over the world now and it makes me happy. I get some really interesting post cards and I tell them all what’s been happening in Nelson.”