Because of its isolated location, New Zealand has traditionally not seen much in the way of locally exclusive toys or collectibles. This has appeared to change somewhat over time with the globalisation of merchandising (i.e., we are exposed to licensed items from large, international corporations like Pepsi and KFC), but the costs involved in niche licensing still limit our truly exclusive pickings compared to larger countries, in particular the USA.
Having said that we do in fact have quite an interesting history of unique product harking right back to the very beginning...1977. Geographic isolation and modest population numbers have influenced the story of NZ Star Wars collectibles in other ways: some items and sets were produced in small numbers only, and have become quite sought after due to their rarity.
This section chronicles such collectibles.
1977 :: R2-D2 Space Ice stickers
How many of you were around when these came out? These 15 small (73x50mm) stickers, released at the time of the first Star Wars movie (1977) are likely the earliest New Zealand-exclusive collectibles. ...MORE
1978 :: New Zealand Toltoys Death Star
It's one of the biggest Star Wars playsets ever. It's arguably the most sought-after Star Wars playset ever. It's not the most accurate of Star Wars playsets ever, but it certainly packed a whole lot of adventure into one item. And the really interesting thing is that there were 4 subtly different versions, with a New Zealand iteration, released under the 'Toltoys' brand, coming straight from a factory in Auckland. The vintage cardboard Death StarTM! ...MORE
1979 :: Europa Petrol Advertising Campaign
Here are a couple of collectible stickers that came in conjunction with a petrol station advertising campaign. As far as we know, they were not licensed by Lucasfilm (no reference to 20th Century Fox is made on the stickers, as would be expected were these officially endorsed), but the source of inspiration is quite obvious! ...MORE
1980 :: Empire Strikes Back Masks
Following on from the success of the R2-D2 Space Ice ice-blocks and collectible sticker set, the Tip-Top Ice Cream company released a second Star Wars themed ice-block/collectible run in 1980, in conjunction with the screening of 'The Empire Strikes Back' movie. This time around though, instead of stickers the giveaway item was a paper cut-out mask. ...MORE
1980 :: Twinkies Empire Strikes Back Stickers
'Twinkies' snack cakes are renowned as the quintessential junk food (yet are consumed at a rate of over half a billion per year worldwide). The original, American version is created by Hostess, which is owned by Kansas City-based Interstate Bakeries Corporation - New Zealanders, however, will remember a local version made by General Foods Corp (NZ) Ltd. that, in the early 1980s, one could be forgiven for purchasing as they came with NZ-exclusive Empire Strikes Back collectibles. ...MORE
1983 :: Return of the Jedi Ice Block Stickers
Tip-Top wrapped up its trilogy of ice-block-related collectibles in 1983, with a small set of 4 Ewok stickers. Commonly referred to as "Jedi Jelly" ice-blocks and/or "Jedi Jelly" stickers, we can see here that the naming of this frozen confection is a little more ambiguous. Both the marketing poster and the ice-block wrapper brand this as a "Return of the Jedi" item which contains "Jedi Jelly" as a feature ingredient. ...MORE
1984 :: Kellogg's Cornflakes Stickers
Many of you will have heard of the Kelloggs Cornflakes Return of the Jedi Stickers. Many will remember eagerly opening the single cellophane packet that came in 300g or 500g packages of cornflakes back in 1984 (around the time that Jedi was in the theatres), and sticking the now highly collectible sticker somewhere or on something that no longer exists... ...MORE
1997 :: Confection Concepts Postacards (ANH)
This series of 50 "Postacardz" was issued by a New Zealand-based company called Confection Concepts International Ltd., who produced a few licensed collectables... ...MORE
1997 :: Confection Concepts Postacards (ESB)
Although the 'A New Hope' companion set contained 50 cards, this set of 'The Empire Strikes Back' "postacards", from Confection Concepts International Ltd., numbers only 45... ...MORE
1997 :: Quality Bakers Cards
Star Wars memorabilia offered with another staple food item: the Quality Bakers bread cards. This set of collectible cards came out in 1997, in conjunction with a promotion and competition that coincided with the availability of the Original Trilogy on VHS. Indeed, Star Wars videos were amongst the prizes, as were lesser, but instant, awards of watches and yo-yos. The competition was topped with a $10,000 cash draw.... ...MORE
1999 :: Pizza Hut 'The Phantom Menace' Promotions
In 1999, the whole globe was abuzz with Episode 1 hype. One area that was quite saturated with Phantom Menace promotions was the fast food market. 'Restaurant Brands NZ Ltd', the New Zealand company which has operated the kiwi outlets of KFC, Pizza Hut (and, Starbucks Coffee) since 1997, was behind this, executing a fairly extensive campaign. Borrowing from collectibles and branded packaging that was also released in other countries (including Australia and the United States), a gamut of promotional items were available to local pizza consumers.
A set of four toys, unique to Australia and New Zealand, came with meal deals including the kids 'Works' meal (the all-you-can-eat buffet)... ...MORE
Matt G & Archon Revuge & the SWNZ Forums community
1999 :: Pepsi Episode 1 Cards
This set of 12 Episode I character cards had to be cut from the packaging of Pepsi multipacks. The cards are round (about 58mm in diameter): not the best configuration for a card that needs to be cut out by hand!
Their design and graphics closely matches the rest of the Pepsi Episode I marketing, including the set of 6 exclusive graphic soft-drink cans that were a related part of the Pepsi collectibles. Interestingly, these cards were available in both Australia and New Zealand, but with significant differences. ...MORE
1999 :: Pepsi Episode 1 Cans
PepsiCo Inc. made extensive use of its license to the Star Wars Episode 1 imagery, through its Pepsi and many related brands. In addition to a large variety of promotional and packaging material, core components of its international Episode 1 campaign were series of elaborately detailed collectible soft-drink cans. A number of unique series were available in different countries, and although the set of six different cans that were exclusive to the New Zealand market comprised one of the smaller sets, these are definitely worthy and sought after items... ...MORE
1999 :: Bluebird Multipack Episode 1 Cards
In 1999, Bluebird chips released 2 sets of collectible cards: a gold-bordered series with glow-in-the-dark images on the back of each card, and a red-bordered series with chrome-bordered variations. Taking a look at the gold-bordered cards first... ...MORE
1999 :: Bluebird Chips Episode 1 Cards
In 1999, Bluebird chips released 2 sets of collectible cards: a gold-bordered series with glow-in-the-dark images on the back of each card, and a red-bordered series with chrome-bordered variations. The red-bordered cards are interesting in that, depending on how you want to categorise them, they could be considered as one, two, or four "sets"... ...MORE
1999 :: Telecom Episode 1 Phone Cards
Star Wars seems to find its way into many aspects of our lives. Telecom New Zealand went beyond the obvious marketing opportunities, and released a set of collectibles that were also functional, in the form of 'The Phantom Menace' prepaid phone cards. ...MORE
2002 :: Mainland 'Taste the Magic' Episode II Cards
2002 was a big year for New Zealand in that, with the opening of 'Star Wars: Attack of the Clones', we saw Kiwi actors playing Star Wars characters on the big screen. Coincidentally, one of the marketing campaigns that preempted the movie's screening can stake a claim as of one of the biggest New Zealand-exclusive collectible releases.
2005 :: Uncle Tobys 'Revenge of the Sith' Promotions
From 01 April 2005 through to 30 September 2005, Goodman Fielder ran a 'Revenge of the Sith' Promotion in association with their Uncle Tobys 'Chewy' muesli bars, and Fruit Roll-Ups. The concomitant television advertising... ...MORE
2005 :: Kelloggs 'Revenge of the Sith' Promotions
The Kellogg company has a longstanding, international relationship with the Star Wars genre. In New Zealand, this dates back to their 'Return of the Jedi' promotional stickers and competition. In 2005, associated with the release of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, the Kellogg's Star Wars branded product and included collectibles are so numerous, it pays to take a systematic approach in order to get a comprehensive overview. 11 different cereal packages were released - they progressively made there way on to supermarket shelved over a period of a number of weeks... ...MORE
:: Local Manufacturers
A growing collection of articles on manufacturing companies who made and redistributed Star Wars products here in New Zealand... ...MORE
As well as New Zealand exclusive or unique items, it is interesting to note that a number of Star Wars collectibles that were available elsewhere, additionally had versions made in NZ. Typically these have made use of the fact that there were preexisting local production facilities allied to those in the original country of manufacture.