If TVNZ has stopped working with your VPN, it means TVNZ’s VDS (video distribution service) has blacklisted the IP address your VPN is using to allow you, and other customers, to spoof your location to New Zealand.
There are a couple of things you can do to combat this. The first is simple: try and connect to a different New Zealand server using your current VPN provider. The second is more drastic: you might need to switch VPNs.
Before you go any further, I feel duty-bound to tell you that there’s no silver bullet for unblocking TVNZ outside NZ (yet). This is because the market (aka Kiwi expats) is too small for VPNs to dedicate the resources needed to constantly monitor and provide working connections.
With that in mind, I recommend only signing up for a VPN on a month-by-month basis. All major VPNs offer a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, that entitles you to a full refund.
Note (May 2020): ExpressVPN’s New Zealand servers are currently blocked by TVNZ. If you want to watch TVNZ outside of NZ, Ivacy ($2.25/month) is currently working well for me.
TVNZ not working with VPN: Quick guide
- Go to Ivacy.com ($2.25/month) and sign up for a plan
- Download and install the Ivacy app on your device
- Connect to the NZ server
- Watch TVNZ from anywhere in the world
TVNZ actively blocks IP addresses known to belong to VPNs. This is why you’ll have seen the error message (see below) that informs you it has detected you are using a VPN.
Unfortunately, the only way to get around this is to switch to a VPN that gives you access to VPNs that aren’t blacklisted by TVNZ.
See also: How to watch BBC iPlayer in NZ.
TVNZ VPN error
Incorrect timezone/not in NZ?
Error Code: VID-GEO
This video cannot be watched from your location. If you’re in NZ, please deactivate any VPN or Smart DNS service you may be running, and make sure timezone settings are correct on your device.
If you’re seeing the above error message, it means TVNZ has detected that you’re using a VPN. If you want to watch TVNZ you’ll need to switch to a VPN that’s not blacklisted by TVNZ. At the time of writing Ivacy ($2.25/month) is working well for me.
How does TVNZ block VPNs?
Detecting a VPN is difficult. Most VPNs have 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection (military-grade security). Which means TV streaming services have to use more basic methods to detect VPNs.
And they do. The way TVNZ detects VPNs is pretty simple. TVNZ shares its video distribution service with dozens of other international broadcasters (BT Sport, 9Now, beIN Sports Connect USA). And part of the video distribution service’s job – as well as hosting/serving the content – is to monitor each connection’s IP address.
When the VDS (video distribution service) detecting an abnormally high level of activity from the same IP address, it responds by blacklisting the address.
As New Zealand is not a major market, most VPNs only have a handful of servers in New Zealand. Which is a problem, as it creates the potential for thousands of customers to connect to TVNZ at the same time (when The Bachelor is one, for example). If/when this happens, the VPN’s IP address becomes detect and blacklisted for abnormal usage.
This simple, but effective, method captures any VPN that share’s its servers (and IPs) with too many customers.
Why does TVNZ block VPNs?
TVNZ is not alone in blocking VPNs from accessing its content. Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video all do the same. The reason for the blanket ban on VPNs is understandable. It’s all because of licensing.
All TV-streaming services are in competition with each other. This means they’re all bidding to win the rights to broadcast content in certain regions. Allowing viewers to use VPNs to virtually spoof their location would devalue these licenses. Online streaming services are therefore cracking down on VPNs to protect their borders (and investments in content).
See also: How to get American Netflix in NZ.
How to fix?
The workaround is simple. You need to get a VPN that has IP addresses that aren’t blocked by TVNZ.
Unfortunately, this is also where things get less simple. As I said above, New Zealand is not a major market for VPNs. And while high-end VPNs such as ExpressVPN ($6.66/month) employ technicians to monitor and fix their connections with streaming services such and US Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer – TVNZ is not in the same league.
Which means that if TVNZ’s VDS blacklist’s your VPN’s NZ IP address(es) – fixing the problem isn’t a priority.
If you want to try another VPN, then I suggest going with NordVPN ($2.75/month). It has dozens of servers in NZ, which means you have a better chance of finding a server, and IP address, that isn’t blocked by TVNZ.
NordVPN is little more expensive than Ivacy, but it’s arguable a more premium product and it provides 24/7 live chat support if you’re ever having trouble finding a server that works with TVNZ or any other major streaming service. And like all respectable VPNs, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try the service risk-free.
Read next: How to watch UK TV in New Zealand.