Tuesday, March 21, 2006

State Of The NZ Pencil, 2006

Writing this blog has focused my attention on what is and isn't available here in New Zealand. With that in mind I thought I would document what's available and maybe see how things change over the years. This is a brief survey of pencil brands available in NZ in early 2006. It is based on visiting a number of art supply, stationery and office supply stores in Auckland, (including all the major national chain stores) and on a few basic internet searches. I do not know the situation outside of Auckland, but would be surprised if it was substantially different. Brands listed as “Available” are able to found by visiting a few stores or are readily available online. I'm sure those of you who live in places like the US or UK can read this and feel lucky at the pencilness of your country after reading this sad state of affairs.

Mechanical Pencil Brands
Apart from the less expensive brands, most of these brands are usually only available in pencil format on request. Their pens are readily available, but mechanical pencils would normally have to be ordered in from the local distributor, who in turn may sometimes have to specially import them. For example you do not normally see Parker, Shaeffer or Waterman pencils, but their pens are widely available. Also many of the brands have only a limited range offered in NZ. For example the Pentel distributor in NZ made a passing comment to me that they imported “much less than ½” of the Pentel range, e.g. the Sharp Kerry is not available in NZ. Some of the brands may not have official distributors in NZ, large retailers may just direct import shipments on a regular or occasional basis.

Artline, BIC, Cross, Faber-Castell, Inoxcrom, Lamy, Marbig, Mont Blanc, Papermate, Parker, Pentel, Rotring, Shaeffer, Stabilo, Staedtler, uni, Waterman, Zebra.
  1. Tombow – recently withdrawn from NZ?
  2. Many generic / housebrand mechanical pencils are also available. They generally appear to be of Chinese origin.
  3. Cross is available, but I never see them anywhere, not even their pens!

Uncommon / Unsure of Status
(Never really see them, but some local information implies they are available)
Aurora, Pelikan, Pilot (pens are available, but I never see their pencils), Sensa

Wood Case Pencil Brands (Plain graphite only – coloured pencils not included)

Columbia, Faber-Castell, Stabilo, Staedtler, Wolff

  1. Only Staedtler & Faber-Castell are widely available, but only a limited number of their models may be imported into NZ. A few other well-known brands (e.g. Koh-I-Nor, Derwent) are supposedly available from small online retailers or small specialist stores.
  2. Many high schools specify Staedtler by name as the pencil to use for their classes. Graphics, Technology and Music courses commonly specify a pencil(s) in their students stationery requirements list. Not sure why Faber-Castell’s lawyers aren’t getting themselves involved in this!
  3. Many generic / housebrand pencils are also available. They generally appear to be of Asian origin.


Anonymous said...

I haven't done a systematic count - There are a fair number of different pencils available here in the US, but with all the mergers, one finds the same Mirados and Ticonderogas and cheap house brands everywhere. In the days of independent office supply stores, you had pencils from numerous makers, and makers had lots of varieties, as the old catalogs show.
But as I said, I haven't done a comprehensive survey....
thanks and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Looking for shaeffer pencils,any ideas?

Anonymous said...

With reference to Cross pencils (and pens)....

They are indeed available in New Zealand - Whitcoulls branches have Cross displays, mainly ball-point and related pens, but some fountain pens and pencils.

I am a long-time (25 years) Cross fountain pen user and I have never used anything better to write with than my present Century II fountain pen. I used to have a Classic Century pencil, but I have lost it, alas. A new Century II pencil is on my must-buy list.

The Cross pencils have ratchet mechanisms that are actuated by twisting the top, like their ball-points. Being Cross, everything works perfectly and smoothly, and the Century lines are pleasantly narrow and a delight to hold.

A.V said...

oh yeah......you think Kiwiland is bad!....look at the land of curry and software professionmals(India) the only brands you get here...(after a lot of hard searching and only in the big cities) are pentel and staedtler...pilot or parker are completely unheard of for being makers of mech pencils...the only common international brand you get here is Faber Castell and Reynolds....you get it everywhere including the small cities...other than that just old chinese ones and some indian brands like camlin basically the state of mechaniocal pencils here is bad.....paents teach their children to write with wooden as they think the whole lead crammming button pushing thing is too distracting its more like fancy stuff here most kids use wooden pencils only....

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks Arvind.