Background to New Zealand Phonecards

New Zealand is a technologically advanced country with a modern telephone system. The network is operated by Telecom New Zealand which also manages about 5,000 public cardphones throughout New Zealand. these are GPT type machines which currently use magnetic cards although smart card are expected to be introduced in the near future. There are a number of other phone companies in New Zealand but these so far either do not have cardphones or only operate them in a boutique quantity largely to justify the issue of phonecards. Remote memory cards are also available but none have had widespread use yet in New Zealand. For remote memory cards see our page here


The first Telecom New Zealand phonecards were issued in 1989. Since then about four regular sets of cards have been issued each year. these sets usually comprise four cards and normally include $5, $10 and $20 value cards with a $50 card added every two years or so.


In addition to regular sets, Telecom New Zealand have since 1992 issued a large number of Advertising cards, known in New Zealand as AdCards. These cards, normally of $5 face value but sometimes of other values are issued on behalf of various companies who can choose to either distribute the cards themselves or arrange to have Telecom New Zealand distribute the cards for them. Sometimes these AdCards are only available at substantial premiums. This is particularly the case with cards supplied in special collectors folders. Many of these cards however are supplied by Telecom as loose cards to accredited Phonecard dealers at a small premium over face value while other Adcards can sometimes be purchased direct from the advertisers at face value. This means that obtaining some Advertising cards can be very difficult and collectors really need to use the services of a reliable phonecard dealer.

Design artwork used on New Zealand cards is top quality. Many of the designers used are leading artists and graphic designers. Several of these designs have won awards around the world including premier awards at several Cardex International Phonecard Expo's.

Topics appearing on New Zealand cards are varied with many of the most popular themes present. These include top favourites such as Movies, Disney, Macdonaldís, Coke, Motor Bikes, Sports Cars, Military Aircraft, Elvis Presley and such world-wide favourite animals including cute cats ("Fluffy"), dogs ("Spot") and meerkats and sports such as rugby, cricket and America's Cup. New Zealand has also issued several jig-saw design cards and even a "Magic Eye" card.

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