New Zealand Post is stamping on Queenstown’s equivalent of Cardrona’s bra fence.
NZ Post is ordering holders to relocate and standardise in smaller clusters near their properties the 75 mailboxes making up a quirky row on Arthurs Point’s Atley Road.
Regional contracts manager Mike Wyatt, in a letter to box-holders, concedes some of the mailboxes “may have a cute and interesting aspect appreciated by tourists” but says visitors stopping to take photos are a hazard both to themselves and the drivers of vehicles who might hit them.
Wyatt adds that the boxes’ random numbering and layout are a nightmare for NZ Post’s contractor.
Atley Rd resident Maurice Murphy says the boxes are more tourist attraction than distraction: “It’s not as if it’s in a high traffic area or outside anyone’s place. If there was some danger it would be different but there’s good visibility both ways.
“I just think sometimes too many people get too worried about too many things. It’s a bit of an attraction that doesn’t do any harm to anyone at all – people take pictures away, it’s all part of Queenstown.”
Another resident, Ben O’Malley, says traffic goes pretty slowly when approaching the mail-boxes off the main road: “It’s all pretty harmless, playful sort of stuff.”
Local artist Jenny Mehrtens, who painted the boxes for an exhibition in 2011, says NZ Post’s ban is ridiculous: “Because people stop and look at them? This is surely a joke.”
Mehrtens says the mailboxes’ quirky nature and individuality typify the local community.“Are we all meant to be regimented and have all of those plastic similar ones?”
An NZ Post spokesman this week says: “We appreciate the mailboxes are viewed as a local tourist attraction by some but we are concerned that they do present a hazard as people stop in the road to take photos.”
Cardrona was famous last decade for a bra-laden fence till council banned it for traffic safety reasons.