Motor Vehicle Old Style Black Number Plates.

Most of us have cursed the time when we forgot to put our vehicles registration on hold and have lost the use of the old silver numbered black number plates, I have and so has Knobsta. The older number plates hold more of the history of the vehicle and when lost through deregistration so goes that history.

However all is now not lost. For those of us that never throw anything away, especially those old registration papers, and for those of us who also haven’t flogged the old number plate off at a swap meet for $20.00 there is a possibility that the original number plate can be reused.

The old style black number plate first issued in 1964.

Below is a notice of change from the Vintage Car Club of NZ to its members outlining a change in policy from the Minister of Transport that could allow the re-use of these plates..

Changes to vehicle licensing regulations announced by Minister of Transport, Hon Steven Joyce on April 5th 2011.

Retaining Silver on Black Number Plates.

For members looking to put a vehicle back on the road with a €œdead€ registration but wanting to use the original silver on black number plates, life has just got easier.

New regulations which came into force on 1 May 2011 will allow vehicles to be reregistered using the old silver on black plates that were originally on the vehicle.

There are a few conditions:

  1. The number on the plates must still be available (sometimes people use a number from a silver on black plate and put it on a personalised plate €“ in such cases the old plates cannot be re-used as the number has been €œtaken€).
  2. The plates must be good condition (this is a general rule applying to all number plates including modern)
  3. You must be able to convince the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (currently the NZ Transport Agency) that the plates originally belonged to that vehicle. The best evidence is the certificate of registration or other paperwork (insurance policy, repair receipts showing the registration number, etc). As an alternative, a photograph of the vehicle when it was previously on the road showing its number plates would be helpful. Another additional option is to provide evidence that the plates have been attached to the vehicle for a long time €“ a close up photo of rusty bolts holding on the number plate might help. So if you were about to take the plates off to clean them and replace the bolts STOP and take a photo first.

If the plates are badly damaged and cannot be repaired but you can satisfy the other two conditions you still might be able to keep the number. The old number would have to go on the post 1987 series plates (black on white) as the old silver on black plates can no longer be made. Some members might not see this as ideal but an old number such as €œBX4846€ still looks better on an old car than a very recent one that you might see on the latest Hyundai.

Pre 1964 black on yellow numerical plates and previous series plates cannot be re-used as those plates are no longer legal.

Any member wanting to have their silver and black plates reinstated should contact the Transport Registry Centre, Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442. Atttention: Team Leader Business Administration.

Once approval is granted in writing a unique serial number will be allocated to allow the use of the original silver on black plates. These plates will be officially assigned to your motor vehicle at a vehicle compliance centre.


Note – ‘Members’ refers to club members of the Vintage Car Club however as this is a letter to VCC members it would not preclude non-members from applying to the Transport Registery Centre in Palmerston North for consideration of their own request.

But then again some owners are not too worried about the later plates.

Full marks to those who instigated this, and congratulations to the Minister of Transport for listening. I for one will be sharpening my crayon and sending away my request. I will keep you updated as to how I go.

Some of us have adorned our workshop walls with our mistakes. (Shhhh old Knobsta’s sleeping in his special box!)