New Zealand music charts

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The New Zealand Top 40 are the official music charts for New Zealand and are published by Recorded Music NZ , the New Zealand record industry association.


A first hit parade for New Zealand is known from the time after the Second World War. The Lifebuoy Hit Parade (later Lever Hit Parade) was a list of 8 songs compiled by radio station programmers. It existed from 1946 until the 1950s.

In the 1960s there was another radio hit parade with 20 tracks. But it wasn't until 1966 that the NZ Top 20 appeared for the first time, a publicly selected hit parade commissioned by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC) and published weekly in The Listener magazine. It is considered the unofficial forerunner of today's top 40 and is included in some chart statistics.

From 1970 the single sales in New Zealand were determined and the best list replaced the chosen charts under the name Pop-o-meter.

Three years later, the New Zealand Federation of Phonographic Industries (NZFPI) started the record industry with its own determination of sales figures for marketing purposes and created an internal National Sales Chart.

The official NZ Top 40

In 1975 the Heylen Research Center was officially commissioned by the NZFPI to compile a national hit parade on behalf of the record industry, and on May 2, 1975 the first issue of the Top 40 appeared for both singles and, for the first time, albums. After two years, the NZFPI, which later renamed itself RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of New Zealand), took over charting itself and founded Record Publications Ltd. From 1979 the charts were expanded by ten places to the top 50.

In the 80s and 90s, radio playlists were published in New Zealand and various airplay charts appeared, including the Radioscope 100.

In 1999, the worldwide decline in record sales led to the fact that the airplay data was included for the first time in the determination of the single hit parade. Today sales figures and radio stakes are used in a ratio of 3 to 1 to determine the chart positions for singles.

The next big change came in 2004. Radioscope / Media Sauce Ltd. took over the charter position on behalf of RIANZ and switched to fully electronic determination of sales figures. This eliminated the one-week delay in the compilation of the charts, which means that from April 19, 2004, the current leaderboards were already available at the end of the sales week. However, falling sales led to a return to the top 40.

In addition to the official singles and album charts, there are lists for compilations, DVDs and the Airplay top 10.

Chart records

The most successful international album in New Zealand chart history is Come On Over by Shania Twain . For 25 weeks in the years 1999–2000 it was in first place and 104 weeks, almost two years, in total in the best list. The most successful local artist was Hayley Westenra in 2003 with the album Pure with 19 weeks at the top (56 chart weeks).

In the same year, the most successful New Zealand single was also # 1 for 12 weeks, Stand Up / Not Many by Scribe .

The most successful New Zealander in the local charts is Neil Finn . Solo and as a member of Crowded House and the Split Enz , he had nine albums and four singles at number 1. The four number 1 albums by the Split Enz also make them the most successful New Zealand band. With 17 singles in the charts, Crowded House are number 2 among the New Zealanders behind The Exponents , who had one more chart hit.


  1. ( Memento from May 26, 2011 in the Internet Archive )


  • The Complete New Zealand Music Charts 1966-2006, Compiled by Dean Scapolo

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