Land Transport New Zealand also issued "AAA1ØØ" to "AAA1Ø3" as personalised plates, officially meaning that the first plate in the new series read "AAA1Ø4".Starting with "CEA", the number ranges started with 1, as in the old system.The authorities issued this series according to the first two letters — the third letter and numbers did not necessarily get issued in sequence.
Unlike in many countries, observers cannot normally identify a location of registration by simply looking at the number-plate.
One exception to this rule occurred when LLnnnn plates first appeared in 1964: most plates went to the regions in batches, starting with the "AA" series in Southland and moving progressively north.
For some time one could reasonably infer that an "AF" plate hailed from Dunedin, an "AI" plate from South Canterbury, and so on.
In some later instances issuers coded plates to the area of registration, such as in 1966 with the allocation of plates beginning with "CE" to the Wanganui-Manawatu region, in 1974-1976 with the allocation of plates beginning with "HB" to the Hawke's Bay region, in May 1989 with the allocation of plates beginning with "OG" to Wellington region, and in July 2000 with the allocation of plates beginning with "ZI" to Auckland region.
These vehicles use one of several five-character systems.
Since 2009 the system has consisted of one letter, followed by one number followed by three letters; for example 'A2ATL'.
The previous system consisted of one or two numbers followed by three letters.
The system incremented the number-sequence first, so after plate "12ABC" comes "13ABC", and "99ABC" precedes "01ABD".
In New Zealand, vehicle registration plates (usually called number plates) contain up to six alphanumeric characters, depending on the type of vehicle and the date of registration.