Country codes are numeric
“geocodes” (geographical codes) or short alphabetic
codes made up to represent nations and subordinate
areas on the map, for the purpose of processing data
and communications. There are many different systems
that have been developed just for this purpose. The
most famous system developed is the ISO 3166-1.
Country code is also a term which often times refers
to global dialing codes.
The ISO or International Standards Organization
defines names for countries, its territories which
are its dependents, and other geographical areas of
special interest. The ISO 3166-1 is a division of
the ISO 3166, a published standard by the ISO.
“Codes” is the standard’s official name. It is used to
represent country names and their sectors. There are 3 sets
of Country codes:
ISO 3166-1 (alpha-2) is the country code with 2 letters that
is the most frequently used of the 3. It is also the most
used by top level domains on the internet for country codes
although there are a few exceptions.
ISO 3166-1 (alpha-3) is the country code with 3 letters that
allows a better association visually between the name of the
country and the codes than does the first one.
ISO 3166-1 (numeric) is the country code with 3 digits that
are very similar to those maintained and developed by the UNSD
(United Nations Statistics Division).
Its advantage is it is
independent of script or any system of writing
making it useful even for people or systems which
employ scripts which are non-Latin.
Since 1974 when it launched its 1st edition, ISO
3166 has incorporated country codes which are
It was in 1981 that they introduced
country codes which were numeric. In 1997, country
codes were 1st introduced in the 5th edition of ISO
3166 as ISO 3166-1.
This was when the standard was
separated into 3 different parts.
As an international standard which is used widely,
ISO 3166-1 is in force in other standards and
employed by global organizations, to facilitate the
exchange of information and goods.
However, ISO 3166 is not the only standard used for country
Other organizations worldwide employ country codes
which are in part or totally not compatible with ISO 3166-1.
However, there are still some that adhere closely to the
codes of ISO 3166-1.
To make an international call to New Zealand’s city of
Auckland from overseas, simply dial the local international
access code which is usually “00” followed by the NZ country
code which is “64” followed by Auckland’s area code which is
“9” and then followed by the 7 digit number of the person or
institution you are calling.
To make calls inside New Zealand, the national access code
is “0” followed by the area code whichever city you are
calling. The area code in Northland, Auckland, and the Bay
of Islands is “9”, Coromandel, Tauranga (Bay of Plenty), and
Hamilton (Waikato) is “7”, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa,
and Palmerston North is “6”, Wellington is “4”, cities in
the South Island such as Christchurch, Nelson, Dunedin,
Invercargill, and Queenstown is “3”.