Our 25 most iconic listings

Aotearoa’s #1 classifieds and marketplace site has released the most iconic listings of the past 25 years.

Hip Hip Hooray it's our 25th birthday! From humble beginnings and a desire to keep a Wellington flat warm (not much has changed there) to 25 years down the track with over 5,000,000 users buying and selling their items on Trade Me, we've come a long way and we’re glad to have shared the journey with you. 

We started a trend of sharing our most viewed listings each year to share what Kiwi have been most interested in looking at. There have been wholesome charity auctions, a load of phallic shaped veggies, political controversy and a few tropical islands. 

Here’s our pick of Trade Me’s most iconic 25 listings of all time. They make us proud to be Kiwi.

1. Island Resort

It’s not everyday that you get the opportunity of a lifetime to purchase your own Island but with Trade Me the possibilities are endless. If you happened to have a spare $32 million in the bank then you could have been the owner of a five-star beach resort which includes 33 bungalows, two restaurants and bars, a spa, an air conditioned gym, swimming pool and a gift shop. Wow!

2. Used Cigarette Butt

A priceless kiwiana collector’s item… The butt of the last cigarette officially and legally smoked inside Malt restaurant and bar in Auckland, 11:59pm on December 9, 2004 before the smoke-free legislation came into force. Twenty years on, it's hard to believe that it was commonplace to smoke inside public places - how times have changed. 

The Iconic Big FRESH Characters

3. Iconic Big FRESH Characters

A bit of nostalgia for all Kiwi was Big Fresh the iconic supermarket chain which was New Zealand's answer to Disneyland with live country music, a TV room for the kids and giant animatronic vegetables swaying in the rafters. One lucky person got the opportunity to own this piece of history with the odd and perhaps scary looking icons.

4. Orlando Bloom's Lollipop

Wellington or Wellywood as it was once proclaimed, hosted the premiere of Lord of the Rings back in 2003 when famous actors from all over walked the red carpet. One of the stars was Orlando Bloom who plays Legolas in the LOTR films was seen sucking a lollipop which strangely had a cricket in its centre. This half sucked lollipop was grabbed and became a listing on Trade Me. An opportunity to get some of his DNA, some might find that strange but someone bought it for $330.

5. Toyota Townace Boatace 1990

It’s not everyday you see a 90s van that can do it all. Well this van could. Aptly named “Roofliss” this Toyota Townace could not only make tracks on our New Zealand roads but it also transformed into a boat and actually made it across the Cook Strait! No easy feat but they do say Toyotas are built tough.

6. Launch Payload to Space and Attend Rocket Launch

Back in 2009 private aerospace company Rocket Lab made a historic launch of a rocket into space. They were the first privately owned company in the Southern Hemisphere to do so. An opportunity was offered to the highest bidder to come and watch the rocket launch but also for the winner to launch 100 grams of personal belongings on the rocket up to space!

7. PaknSave bag

Another piece of Kiwi history was the discontinuation of the iconic PaknSave yellow plastic bag. We have since made the move to paper bags which is a step in the right direction for sustainability but there will always be a small place in our memory for the yellow plastic kind. This iconic listing even made $52, I wonder what the bag is doing now.

8. Ed Sheeran Ticket and Date - Auckland

It takes a lot to put yourself out there but this brave woman did just that. After purchasing two tickets to watch Ed Sheeran but with no one to go with, she listed an advert on Trade Me for the opportunity to go on a date and enjoy the concert together. The listing received 17 bids and closed at $205.  You can even find love on Trade Me or our sister site Find Someone!

9. Ardern, Seymour join forces for pricks everywhere

The uniting of two political foes that we will probably never see again. Following questions in the House of Representatives our then Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called Act Party leader (now our deputy PM) David Seymour an “arrogant prick”. The bad blood was pushed aside as they joined together to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation by auctioning a signed and framed copy of the remark. The framed page sold for a staggering $100,100.

10. Cardborghini Aventapoor

After giving a real Lambo a drive in LA, this 22 year old Kiwi decided to make his own but with a twist… this one is made out of cardboard! The DIY job process was posted on YouTube and upon completion was listed on Trade Me to raise money for Starship children’s hospital selling for an impressive $10,420.

11. Sky Tower made from MIQ trash

Remember that time the whole of New Zealand was locked down because a horrible virus was taking over the world? We try to forget it too! If someone was coming in from overseas they would have to quarantine in MIQ hotels. Instead of wallowing in pity this Trade Me lister built a masterpiece out of meal packaging and care packages given by family members during his time at the Rydges Rotorua. The winning bid went to the actual Auckland Sky Tower who put it on display.

12. John's Cast Off

John Key who was PM at the time famously broke his arm in a tumble at a Chinese community New Year celebration and did the typical thing of getting his friends to sign his cast. But these are no ordinary mates, they were fellow world leaders from Australia and the Pacific Islands. The cast was listed up for auction with the chance to also have morning tea with John. The winning bid hit $18,500 with the money going to the Fred Hollows Foundation who have performed over 88,000 eye surgeries in the Pacific to restore eyesight.

13. Spa boat

Exactly what it says on the tin, a fully working spa on a boat. Five Years in the making from a washed up wreck to a place to relax all your worries away. The spa boat could be pulled anywhere around the country so you could relax with a different view each time.

14. Scary washing machine. No really, it's terrifying!

In 2009 this scary phenomenon took the online world by storm - reaching over 800,000 views and with 2,128 questions! The real comedy was in the post listing as it was described as: ‘an old mid-80s Fisher and Paykel top loader ironically named “Gentle Annie” that “goes like a rocket” and shakes the whole house.’ The machine still worked but it shook so violently that it took you to new dimensions. In the end the 100% appliance chain decided to buy it and took it on a marketing tour around New Zealand.

15. A 'Wicked Wing Taste Tester' for KFC

It’s true, Kiwi have a love affair with KFC. In August 1971, the first KFC store was opened in Auckland to a large queue and only six items on the menu. Since then the love has only grown and grown. During COVID lockdown there was panic and more queues, even Judith Collins’ National leader at the time waded in describing our lockdowns as “Level 3 is Level 4 with KFC”. So there was no doubt that this listing would get people clucking and it did with 71,000 views and one successful applicant.

16. Demonic Printer

Another household appliance that had been possessed and captured the nation’s fascination - this time a demonic printer. The printer, which was described as “Satan”, was purchased from Warehouse Stationery and caused the owner to have a life of misery, hence him reaching out to people to “exorcise the demon.”  "Eventually an ancient shaman told me on his deathbed that the only way to get rid of Satan was to pass the curse on to someone else."  We love when people get creative with their listings!

17. "Bernie" the Fire Engine

"Bernie" is a 1964 VK Commer fire engine who was converted from a service engine to a fundraising vehicle by his owner. In 2020 he was put up for sale after many years fundraising for the charity Variety New Zealand.

18. The infamous Beehive sketch signed by Helen Clark

This sketch was donated by Helen Clark for a charity fundraiser in 2001 but then became a controversial topic as Helen refused to confirm or deny that she drew the picture leaving many to believe she didn't. This then became known as “Paintergate” and it was revealed by Helen herself to journalists that there were actually six fakes out there bearing her signature and it even resulted in a police investigation about copyright fraud.

19. Phallic shaped vegetables

No Trade Me list of iconic listings is complete without a mention of the phallic shaped vegetables, of which there are many. Apparently us Kiwi have an eye for this kind of thing. Some of them are crude, some funny and some just a little too realistic.

20. Travelling hat

An innocent hat from Bunnings you’d think, but you’d be wrong. This is in fact a hat from the infamous family of “unruly tourists” who made the news in New Zealand after wreaking all sorts of havoc in 2018/2019. There was swearing, aggression, shoplifting, littering beaches and even dining-and-dashing before NZ decided enough was enough. Petitions were created, social media was tracking their movements, thankfully they got the point and left the country.

25 Most iconic listings

21. David Seymour Twerking outfit

Maybe not quite as terrifying as the demonic printer, but pretty close is David Seymour’s infamous twerking on Dancing with the Stars. After failing to make it to the final round of the reality television show but determined to raise more money David listed his outfit on Trade Me and raised $1,240 that went straight to Kidsline.

22. Australia

There’s nothing quite like the friendly banter that we have with our over the water cousins. This Trade Me member decided to give it a go to sell the whole Australian continent, categorising it in the BBQ section because “it's the only thing of note you could use Australia for”. The features of the listing included: “large brown boring featureless land mass”. This listing did have to be removed in accordance with Trade Me policy as Australia actually isn’t for sale.

23. Hurricanes Handbag and cellphone

Forget Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent or even the viral Uniqlo bags, this is the most talked about bag in New Zealand. This $30 Roxy bag has a story though. In a Christchurch pub in 2006 it was used by Tana Umaga to discipline Chris Masoe. After a loss to the Crusaders a group of the Hurricanes were drowning their sorrows when an altercation between the two happened resulting in Masoe getting a clip around the head with the Roxy bag. The phone inside the bag did end up breaking but I don’t think the owner was too bothered after the winning bid bagged them $22,800!

24. Stormtrooper costume

For Star Wars fans it doesn’t get much better than this. A full size Shadow Trooper Stormy Costume. It even comes mic’d up so you can talk like a Shadow Trooper. This is iconic!

25. Sandpapergate

Finishing off with a rough one…known as sandpapergate. The 2018 Australian ball-tampering scandal which caught the cricketer Cameron Bancroft live on TV tampering with the ball during their test match against South Africa. Bancroft appeared to rub the ball with something which was later found to be sandpaper. This lister was quick to jump onto Trade Me and make a mockery (and $58) off the incident..

And that concludes our top 25 most iconic listings, let’s see what comes up in the next 25 years. Maybe it will be one of your listings, get started now.


Sophie Graham
Sophie Graham
Meet Sophie Graham, a seasoned Digital Content Producer with over 7 years of experience in content production and marketing. Armed with a BA degree in TV and Radio, Sophie brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise to her work. Passionate about storytelling and leveraging digital platforms, she crafts engaging content that resonates with audiences. With a knack for staying ahead of trends and a commitment to quality, Sophie is dedicated to delivering impactful narratives that captivate and inspire.