Postcodes in New Zealand

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In June 2006, New Zealand introduced a new postcode system, which, unlike the previous system, applies to all items of mail, from June 2008.

New Zealand Post did not require individual items of mail to include the postcode in the address, as optical character recognition (OCR) enabled automated sorting machines to scan entire addresses, rather than just post codes, as was the case with older machines. Until the early 1990s, all mail was sorted manually.

There are 1856 4-digit postcodes, each of which may serve up to 10000 individual locations. They start with 0 in Northland and progress southward, ending with codes starting with 9 in Otago and Southland.

The first two digits specify the area, the third digit specifies the type of delivery (street, PO Box, Private Bag, or Rural delivery), and the last digit specifies the specific lobby, RD (rural delivery) number, or suburb.

In October 2008, New Zealand Post launched a 'remember your postcode' campaign, offering a NZ$10,000 prize for remembering a postcode.[1]

Modes of delivery[edit]

In cities and large towns, the last two digits indicate one of the four modes of delivery, as illustrated by addresses in Palmerston North:

  • Street address, in which mail is delivered directly to homes by the 'postie';
43 Vogel Street
Palmerston North 4414
  • PO Box address, in which mail is delivered to a private box, usually at a Post Shop (formerly Post Office), for collection;
PO Box 400
Palmerston North Central
Palmerston North 4440
  • Private Bag, in which a private mail bag is delivered to an organisation such as a large company or a government department
Private Bag 11222
Manawatu Mail Centre
Palmerston North 4442
Railway Road
RD 10
Palmerston North 4470


Under the new system, some suburbs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch now either have their own postcode, or share one with fewer suburbs. For example, whereas the old postcode 1003 covered Epsom, Mount Eden, and Mount Albert, these suburbs now have separate postcodes from one another.

6 Ferryhill Road
Auckland 1023
2 Avenham Walk
Mount Eden
Auckland 1024
3 Laurel Street
Mount Albert
Auckland 1025

PostShop lobbies[edit]

Each PostShop lobby now has its own postcode. Under the old system, some covered several PO Box or Private Bag number ranges in the same city, for example, whereas 1730 was used for several PO Box number ranges in South Auckland, each now has its own postcode:

PO Box 51000
Manukau 2140
Private Bag 76912
Manukau City
Manukau 2241
PO Box 38234
Manukau 2145

Repartition of postcodes[edit]

Here below is a table that - for each first postcode digit - indicates in which government regions the addresses are:[2]

Code prefix Regions
0 Northland, Auckland (Rodney, Hibiscus Coast, North Shore & West Auckland)
1 Auckland (roughly the old Auckland City)
2 Auckland (South & East), Waikato (northernmost part)
3 Bay of Plenty, Waikato
4 Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui
5 Wellington (Wairarapa, Kapiti, Porirua and Hutt Valley)
6 Wellington (roughly Wellington City)
7 Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast, Canterbury (excluding Christchurch)
8 Canterbury (roughly Christchurch City)
9 Otago, Southland

Previous system[edit]

Although postcodes were first introduced in New Zealand in 1977,[3] these were used entirely for pre-sorting large volumes of mail in bulk,[4][5] similar to the Mailsort system used by Royal Mail in the United Kingdom. Consequently, post codes were not usually seen in addresses:

New Zealand Post
Private Bag 39990
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt

Under the old system, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch were divided into postal zones, which were incorporated into the post code system for use in bulk mailings. For example, for the former Wellington 4:

Flat 2
173 Park Road
Wellington 6004

In cities and large towns, the last two digits indicated the mode of delivery, as illustrated by addresses in Palmerston North:

Street address:

43 Vogel Street
Palmerston North 5301

Post Office Box address:

P O Box 4000
Palmerston North 5315

Private Bag address

Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North 5320

Rural Delivery address

Railway Road
R D 10
Palmerston North 5321

NB: Prior to the changeover, New Zealand Post also required that a space was inserted between the letters 'P' and 'O' in 'PO Box' or 'R' and 'D' in 'RD'.[6]

Māori names[edit]

New Zealand Post recognises Māori names for cities and towns in New Zealand; for example, the Māori Language Commission's address is:

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
Pouaka Poutāpeta 411
Te Whanganui a Tara 6140

In English, this translates as:

Māori Language Commission
PO Box 411
Wellington 6140

In spite of the considerable difference between the two languages, there was no need to add the post code under the old system, which in this case would have been 6015.


Mail to Members of the Parliament of New Zealand is delivered free of charge for individuals (organisations must pay regular rates). The cost is deducted from the Member's budget.

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Private Bag 18888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

Other Freepost mail includes a unique number as well as the PO Box or Private Bag number:

Freepost 112002
PO Box 913
Dunedin 9054

Third party registered postal operators[edit]

Until recently NZ Post has had the majority of influence on Private Box rentals. But now DX Mail and Private Box provide an alternative solution for people who need a remote box address. Along with the new competitors in the marketplace NZ Post may find it difficult to keep up with the new addressing system, which is why they have set a standard for addressing mail.


External links[edit]