Trade Me's 25 'most iconic listings' of all time revealed to mark its 25th birthday

Trade Me is something of an institution in Kiwi culture, and as the platform celebrates 25 years of weird and wonderful listings from across the motu (who could forget the half-eaten loaf of bread?), it's taking a look back at its "most iconic" marketplace items.

In a statement on Wednesday, Trade Me's Jessamy Malcolm Cowper said the online actioneer has cherry-picked 25 notable listings from its beginning in 1999 to today, including both memorable items and those that amassed a high number of views from curious Kiwis.

Said memorable items include a Lamborgini made of cardboard, Orlando Bloom's sticky lollipop, and the outfit ACT leader David Seymour wore while twerking on Dancing with the Stars.

"From humble beginnings and a desire to keep a Wellington flat warm to over five million members buying and selling their items onsite, for a quarter of a century Kiwis have been using Trade Me as their spot to grab a bargain. Over that time there have been some listings that have made us laugh, cry and on occasion, cringe," Cowper said.   

She noted a number of the auctions serve as signposts for poignant moments in time or significant events in New Zealand, with references to the COVID-19 pandemic, single-use plastic bags, and the ban on indoor smoking.

"Trade Me has this ability to reflect New Zealand back to itself... it's a fascinating look back at moments in our collective history." 

For example, when indoor smoking was banned in 2009, Trade Me hosted a listing for the infamous 'last cigarette', which was said to have been legally smoked inside Malt Restaurant and Bar in Auckland at 11:59pm on December 9, 2004 - just before the smoke-free legislation came into force. It was sold for $7475 and racked up over 100,000 views.

Another important cultural moment in Aotearoa's history was the Lord of the Rings franchise; filmed across the motu and premiered in director Peter Jackson's hometown of Wellington.   

"During the premiere in Wellington, actor Orlando Bloom 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. Some might find that a little odd but that wasn't the case for everyone, as it ended up being bought for $300," Cowper recalled.  

Several of the listings in the top 25 are arts-and-crafts projects, said to reflect Aotearoa's inherent 'do-it-yourself' attitude and good old Kiwi ingenuity. These include a Sky Tower created out of rubbish from MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine); the Lamborghini made of cardboard; a 'spa boat'; and a Toyota TownAce that crossed the Cook Strait.

Over the last few years, fruits and vegetables that are "interestingly" shaped have dominated the site's most-viewed listings, Malcolm Cowper noted.  

"No Trade Me listing roundup is complete without a phallic-shaped vegetable or two. Kiwis love to share their weird and wonderful shaped fresh produce, and it wouldn't be a list of Trade Me top listings without them," she joked.  

Another iconic listing that made the cut? That time one good-humoured Trade Me member attempted to sell Australia - yes, the country - in 2006. The listing was uploaded in the BBQ category, with the description noting that it was "the only thing of note you could use Australia for". The listing was eventually removed, but it still went down in history.

Rounding up the top 25 is a listing titled "sandpaper gate", which poked fun at the 2018 Australian ball-tampering scandal. Cricketer Cameron Bancroft appeared to rub the ball with an unknown material during a match against South Africa, which was later found to be sandpaper. A member was quick to jump on Trade Me and make a mockery of the incident (and $58), with the listing also amassing over 260,000 views.

Also featured in the top 25 are the Tana Umaga handbag, Helen Clark's beehive sketches, and John Key's signed plaster cast.

Trade Me's 'most iconic' 25 listings of its first 25 years are as follows:

Island Resort

$32,290,000 asking price


Used cigarette butt



Iconic Big Fresh characters



Orlando Bloom's lollipop



Toyota TownAce BoatAce 1990



Launch payload to space and attend rocket launch



Pak'nSave bag



Ed Sheeran ticket and date in Auckland



Ardern, Seymour join forces for 'pricks' everywhere



'Cardborghini Aventapoor'



Sky Tower made from MIQ trash



John's cast-off



Spa boat



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



'Wicked Wing Taste-Tester' for KFC



Demonic printer



"Bernie" the Fire Engine



The infamous beehive sketch signed by Helen Clark

No bids, listed for $4562


Phallic-shaped vegetables



Travelling hat



David Seymour twerking outfit




Not sold


Hurricanes handbag and cellphone



Stormtrooper costume