Boxes grab attention

18:27, Jan 29 2013
QUIRKY CREATIONS: John Armstrong’s hand-made letterboxes are a talking point on Tautari St.

There is an Orakei street where colourful pirates, jesters and cowboys greet those who pass by. Reporter Karina Abadia set out to discover the story behind them.

The half-dozen unusual letterboxes dotted along Tautari St certainly grab people's attention. They're particularly popular with children, their creator John Armstrong says.

Mr Armstrong, who owns Blue Dude Swimwear, originally trained in industrial design and has always been good with his hands. A couple of years ago he had the idea of starting a business making humorous letterboxes.

He created about 10 different brightly coloured styles adorned with hats, moustaches and sunglasses.

Over a year he made a few letterboxes for private clients but the idea wasn't taken up by any of the retailers he approached.

He decided it was too expensive to market the idea himself and just promoted his business locally.


"I thought if everyone in the street had one it could be a neat form of advertising and it might snowball from there."

He did a letter drop on his street telling his neighbours that he would make letterboxes for anyone who wanted them.

Geoffery Porter, a resident of the street for more than 40 years, thought it was a great idea and wanted to be part of it. His brother and neighbour George Porter also owns one.

"I like it and a lot of people comment and say how much they love it. It's just a pity more of our neighbours didn't take John up on his offer," Geoffery Porter says.

There has been some trouble with vandalism, Mr Armstrong says.

His letterbox was wrenched off the stand on one occasion and the front ripped off on another. Mr Armstrong also replaced a neighbour's letterbox that was stolen.

But he says he is pleased how positive most people are about them.

"Kids really like them and it's a feature of the street. All in all they have been a bit of a laugh."

You can contact Mr Armstrong on 521 0685 if you want one of his letterboxes.

East And Bays Courier