Tom's plates have a cultural tone

21:38, Feb 17 2009
LUCKY KIWI: Timaru man Tom Goldsmith considers himself lucky to have one of first personalised plates ever sold in New Zealand. He is pictured here with his K1W1 I plate and his kitten Lucky.

Timaru man Tom Goldsmith is culturally sensitive with his personalised plates.

Not only does he have a K1W1 I plate but he also owns a MAORI 1 plate - some of the first personalised plates ever purchased in New Zealand.

"I thought I might get the MORMAN plate but someone might have thrown a stone through the window so I thought I'd be culturally sensitive and get the MAORI 1.

"I don't know if any other Maori have the plate, I could be the only one. Does that put the price up anymore?," he laughed.

While the original KIWI number plate would today be worth around $20,000 Mr Goldsmith's version, which replaces the I with 1, is still of great value.

Purchased in 1988 for about $300 it would now be valued in thousands of dollars rather than hundreds.


"People have said to me, Tom it's worth a fair bit. I say, yeah, it's worth more than the car," he said.

Mr Goldmith said there was advantages and disadvantages to having such a well-known plate.

While everyone around town knows exactly where he is and what he's doing he also said it was a safe plate as if it was ever stolen it was under his man.

There have also been some extra safety features with the plate over the years when Mr Goldsmith used to run a family home.

"Whenever anyone saw our car without me or Margie driving it the police always rung us up because they thought it might have been one of the kids taking off with it," he laughed.

While Mr Goldsmith still sports his K1W1 plate on own car, his nephew - who works for Maori radio in Rotorua - has claimed the MAORI 1 plate.

Mr Goldsmith said he would never sell his plates - they would be left for his children to fight over - but did joke he could perhaps offer the MAORI 1 to Tame Iti who could try and claim it on the treaty.


The Timaru Herald