Darryl Robinson Donald says his social isolation was one of the reasons he scoured the internet for child pornography.
And while Hamilton District Court Judge Melanie Harland said she accepted he did live in isolation, it wasn't an excuse for his actions.
Some of the objectionable material found on his computer was categorised as the most serious - level 5 - with some images and movies involving young girls and bestiality.
The 69-year-old's collection was discovered after he took his computer in for repair in May last year.
Days later police executed a search warrant of his Leamington home and seized various computers, hard drives and other electronic equipment.
After a forensic examination, more than 1200 videos and 31,000 files were identified with "a large number" classified as objectionable publications.
Most involved child nudity and sexual exploitation or abuse, bestiality, teen modelling, adult and other sexual-related themes.
Judge Harland said each publication was viewed by investigators and depicted young girls, aged between 5 and 14 years old, either being sexually violated by adult men, engaged in sexual acts or posing in an explicit manner.
Donald's counsel Eilidh Hook said her client accepted the offending was serious and had co-operated fully with police.
He was also remorseful and accepted he was going to prison and did not apply for a home-detention sentence.
Judge Harland noted his comments to probation, in a pre-sentence report, where he said he felt "relieved" in being busted as he had felt guilty about his actions "for a number of years".
It was also noted that he had experienced a long period of "social isolation".
The judge said although she wasn't excusing his behaviour she could understand how he could try and find "some solace" on the internet.
"More details about your background and in particular your social isolation which I think I can understand how that, not condoning it, led you to try and find some solace through some connections of some sort on the internet. These were clearly inappropriate and harmful way for you to have dealt with your social isolation."
She told Donald this offending contributed to the further victimisation of the child victims and continued to fuel the international demand for the imagery.
In New Zealand, over a million clicks on illegal child sex abuse websites were identified by the Department of Internal Affairs through a two-year trial period ending in 2009.
"It is estimated that more than 200 new child sexual abuse images are circulated daily on the internet.
"The number of sexual predators connected to the internet at any one time is estimated to be 750,000 ... [while] the number of child sexual abuse images quadrupled between 2003 and 2007."
Giving Donald a 5 per cent credit for his personal circumstances, Judge Harland reached an end sentence of 25 months' prison.
She issued an order for destruction of all the confiscated equipment.