It took Rachael Reid two decades to hunt down and photograph 140 unique and cleverly crafted letterboxes from all over New Zealand. In It’s in the Post! she has organised her finds under headings such as Crafty kiwis, Kiwiana, Re-use and Repurpose and Kiwis at Work. Beneath each letterbox she added a witty caption.
We are an agricultural nation, so it is not surprising that she found many animal letterboxes, especially Friesian cows, by farm gates. Occasionally she came across a more exotic creature including one almost life size metal sculpture of a giraffe.
There are plenty of Kiwiana letterboxes too, odes to our national identity. On one, pairs of jandals have simply been randomly glued. Another letterbox sculpture bears an uncanny likeness to All Black Dan Carter.
Kiwis are fond of repurposing old equipment. With much ingenuity and effort some-one has used old machine parts to build a complicated steampunk sculpture.
Elsewhere an old microwave and a fridge have been given a new life as letterboxes, and above a kitchen sink a winsome sculpture of a metal maid rises.
There is a series of kiwi blokes too including a distinguished gentleman, a stockman, a party boy, and a heavy metal fan. We might well ask ourselves, are these self- portraits or were they made by their loving partners?
A bright yellow Sponge Bob letterbox with a toothy grin would be loved by children of all ages. As would Snoopy daydreaming on top of his letterbox.
There are a great many more letterboxes in this book, which provide a fascinating picture of our DYO skills, creativity, talent for recycling and quirky sense of humour.
Sadly, some of these letterboxes may be well become obsolete and turn into collector’s items in the future. Kiwis increasingly prefer to use social media and emails to connect with each other rather than using snail mail. But, with more shopping happening online, the larger ones may well survive as couriers need bigger containers to deliver parcels. So, the wine barrel letterbox should last the distance!
This light-hearted little book is fun to browse in and may well set your own creative juices flowing. Just bear in mind that your letterbox must be postie friendly and conform to NZ Post mailbox specifications.
It would be great to leave on a coffee table to browse through whenever you need a smile, or it would make a cute gift to post to a friend.
Reviewer: Lyn Potter
Bateman Books. RRP $24.99