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Blog > Postcrossing Spotlight: SonOfBilly from New Zealand!

Russel, (aka SonOfBilly) joined Postcrossing when the project was barely starting, and hasn’t stopped sending postcards since then… as a result, he is the second user with most postcards sent in New Zealand!

Here is what he had to say to our interview questions:

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

As a young 10 year old boy, an American pen friend sent me a chain letter which promised me 1,000's of postcards if I sent one to the person at the top of the list, put my name at the bottom of the list and sent the chain letter to 5 other people. My Mother said it wouldn’t work and guess what, she was right.

I now travel a lot on business, mainly throughout Asia and in particular China. I have been travelling in China now for 31 years. While travelling I have always sent postcards home to my family and extended family.

Back in 2005, not long after Postcrossing started my ISP sent out a newsletter showing interesting sites and “Postcrossing” was one of them. I immediately joined and have been hooked ever since.

I even try to send postcards while I travel. I also stock up on postcards by buying them in China, Hong Kong and have recently discovered a marvelous bookshop in Taipei called Eslite that has a great selection of postcards from around the world.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

Sport plays a dominant part of my lifestyle. I maintain my fitness by walking an hour a day, up to 5 days per week.

Work commitments mean I don’t have a lot of spare time but I always find time to keep in regular contact with my old High School friends with regular dinner evenings. I also watch most of my favourite sports on TV such as Rugby, Rugby League, Soccer (or Football as most of the rest of the world knows it), Motorsport (especially WRC, Formula 1, MotoGP & Superbikes) Tour de France, Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.

Have been a season ticket holder of the New Zealand Warriors ever since they entered the Australian Rugby League competition back in 1995.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
Luke Our Postie

Luke, our “Postie” who delivers our mail, rain, shine or hail 6 days a week.

Shop assistant at Real Aotearoa

I buy my stamps from the NZ Post shop in the central shopping street of Auckland called Queen Street. The shop is called “Real Aotearoa”. Aotearoa is the maori name for New Zealand and means “Land Of The Long White Cloud”. The photo shows my friendly assistant.

SonOfBilly's mailbox

This is our very basic letter box.

SonOfBilly's postbox

This is where I post most of my postcards, on the way to work most mornings, outside our local BP petrol station.

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
SonOfBilly favourite postcards Canton Guangzhou China

One of my favourite postcards was the very first one I received. It is black and white and shows the streets of Canton in China. Now called Guangzhou, it is the City I would visit the most in China. I enjoy all of the postcards I receive but a couple that stand out were of The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum, the Taichung Jazz Festival, Soccer World Cup 2010 and Finnish Nature. SonOfBilly favourite postcards Finnish Nature Photo + great wall The Colosseum + Jazz festival Soccer World Cup, 2010

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

The sending means more than the receiving. I like to try and and match up the receivers requests with my closest equivalents. I enjoy getting a big thank you when the postcard is received and knowing that it is really appreciated.

I also enjoy finding out more information about the postcard I have received. I will try and add more information to the postcard, either when it is scanned or within a couple of weeks of having received the card. If you have sent me a postcard, please check the image to see if the information is correct.

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

I sent 2 postcards to Tuvalu. The first one was posted from China and my guess is that perhaps they didn’t realise it was a country, so it never arrived. Located in the Pacific, halfway between Australia and Hawaii they were formerly known as the Ellice Islands. Its population of 10,500 makes it the third-least populous sovereign state in the world, with only Vatican City and Nauru having fewer inhabitants. Because of the low elevation, the islands that make up this nation are threatened by current and future sea level rise.

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

The only issue that I take a real interest in at the moment is the world wide decline in mailing. The drop globally between 2008 to 2010 was 14% with one notable exception being China which continues to experience growth but from a relatively low base.

Mailing is expected to decline a further 43% by 2020.

For example in New Zealand mail volumes declined 6.7% in 2009. Slowed to a 4.9% reduction in 2010 but at the same time 7,200 new addresses were added to the delivery network bringing the total network to 1.9 million addresses. This meant the Post was delivering 20% less mail per address than they did 3 years ago.

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38 comments so far

HM, Netherlands
Nice to read you! Must be great to travel a lot. Maybe the most fun is to sent out cards!

I remember your from a North Korean card you sent to me
http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/NZ-52165
A big surprise!
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CarlaColleen1, United States of America
Very interesting and informative interview with some lovely photos. The best one yet. Thanks for sharing a bit of your part of the world.
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yuvraj, India
EXCELLENT! I CONSIDER MYSELF UNLUCKY, BECAUSE OF NOT KNOWING ABOUT POSTCROSSING IN 2005- WHEN IT STARTED. I CAME TO KNOW ABOUT IT IN THIS JANUARY & I JOINED IT IN THIS JANUARY.
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isagv, Germany
Very informative interview. Great that you share your story with us. :)
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hoera, Belgium
Wow :) Love to read about other postcrossers !
Cheers !
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idus, Germany
Very interesting interview and photos!
Maybe this can be the start of a series where Postcrossers (who are willing to) introduce themselves (and their postboxes etc.).
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hannah2009, United States of America
Great story!

With so many postcards sent from New Zealand and an antipode in Spain you have sent and received some of the furthest travelled postcards of all. This appears to be your furthest travelled postcard:
http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/ES-71054

New Zealand postcrosser Gordonsmummy has one that travelled 56 km further and which may hold the record:
http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/ES-84973
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booboo_babies, United States of America
Glad to see a Postcrosser featured that I've actually sent a card to. (The card was US-1645799 - a picture of winter at a temple in South Korea. Bought it years ago when I lived in that country.) It was awesome to see the box that my card arrived at as well as the Post Office people involved in its delivery!

Russel/Son of Billy had lots of nice things to say about my card. Very courteous man with interesting stories about his travels. You couldn't have featured a better Postcrosser! - Gail
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nboliveira, Brazil
Interesting interview, Russel! Awesome postcards! And I received from you a postcard that I like so much: http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/NZ-53843.
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florencen, Australia
I tell people I am helping to keep posties worldwide in a job ......one postcard at a time.
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ebreah, Malaysia
Seconding florencen.

People don't take the time to write nowadays. Soon they'll forget how to write :(
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rosenbusch, Germany
A good spotlight. I sent you a vintage postcard of Frankfurt...
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DorotheeB, Germany
Great story! I enjoyed reading the interview and of course I enjoyed the photos. It gives a real face to Postcrossing. I love these interviews! And I hope that one day I will be lucky to get a card from New Zealand.
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frans48, Netherlands
Nice story and beautiful photo's.
I am just starting postcrossing, so I have not so many cards
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giacatalan, Philippines
What a great Spotlight interview and what an amazing traveler/mail-lover. It's nice to think that we all are helping out with the postal system's evolution through a simple postcard.
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mingshu, Finland
interesting interview :) happy postcrossing everyone ^^
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hmassese, Australia
I really enjoyed reading this. I dont know about everyone else but I wish the spotlight interviews were more often!
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droopy_kat, Belgium
I enjoyed reading this a lot. Thanks for sharing your life (with postcrossing) with us!

I'm waiting patiently to get a postcard or more from New Zealand.

To postcrossing: keep doing these interviews they're really interesting and we learn more everytime.
Thanks again for this great initiative that i enjoy so very much since the end of july 2011 ( not nearly long enough, but happy to have gotten to know it then!!)
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Antosie, United States of America
I enjoyed your story. It is so interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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Luziaceleste, Brazil
It is a pleasure to know over postcrossers from different corners around the world.
Each time a nice surprise.
Congrats again!
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Caramellia, Mauritius
The postcard with Great Wall of China on it reminds me something : some friends of mine sent it to us from their trip to China !
I enjoyed reading this interview, as usual, I love to know the postcrossing experiencing of other postcrossers.
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Mabo63, Switzerland
greets from switzerland, nice to meet you :-)
this is a card i sent to you:
http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/CH-78160

maybe in the future i`ve got one of you :-)
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jany_gurb, Mexico
A great interview, nice to meet you!!!
Thanks for sharing!!!
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MiniP, Czech Republic
Hi Russel, nice to hear more about you!! You sent me a card from New Zealand with a Taiwanese stamp - unique!!!
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gritte, Lithuania
It was interesting to read!
Russel is a real postcrosser:).
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Lorelai, Germany
Greetings to your "postie" (mailman) from Germany! I like his optimistic charisma.
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Kekstas35, Lithuania
Hmm.. It is a pity, that delivery of post so much declining.. I think, that this civilization is about lost the nicest way of communications. Strange thing is, that we are living in age 21, but due to psichologists, our way what we are communicating with families adn friends in last 20 years declined in way it was in middle of 18th century.
Sounds to be our mission to bring communicating by letters back :)
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marica_t, United States of America
Wow, such an interesting Postcrosser! I think this was the most informative spotlight I've ever read!

I wish I had found Postcrossing earlier, but it's better late than never! :)

Kind greetings from Ohio USA, Marica
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nugget, United States of America
Thanks for a great article. I would love to read more interviews like this one. I enjoyed "meeting" Russel and I hope to get to send him a card someday.
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lucymonty, United Kingdom
Lovely spotlight article! I love the Colusseum card :-D The decline in mail is very sad but as Postcrossers we are all helping to keep post alive!
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Magrathea, Netherlands
Hey, I got one of my first cards from this guy :D My third one to be precise.
http://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/NZ-61321
So far the only one who liked to send me airplanes :))
Yay for snailmail!
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Jodie05, Australia
What a wonderful interview! It was nice to meet you Russel. Thank you for sharing all those cards and thoughts. I am so impressed to hear that you receive mail 6 days a week - awesome!! Across the Tasman, here in Australia, we have to be content with 5 days of mail. Fortunately, Postcrossing makes them 5 good days!
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Hawwa, Spain
I've just got a postcard from Russell! :)
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originaloflaura, United States of America
Great interview! I love the pix of the "postie" and the New Zealand postal box. Way more creative than our boring blue U.S. boxes.
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wildernesscat, Israel
Thanks for the lovely interview. I also got a card from Russell, almost 3 years ago.

As for the decline in postal services - I guess that we are going to pay increasingly higher postal rates, until it becomes non-practical to send cards by mail. I hope we still have 10-15 years left ...
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juliaschot, Netherlands
Wow! Really nice. Groetjes.
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caoyang, China
太漂亮了,长见识了。谢谢 SonOfBilly !
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bodrumlu, Turkey
great interview!
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