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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > New Zealand

New Zealand Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in New Zealand

There is a wide range of shopping available in New Zealand. Regular centre-of-town retail areas sit alongside modern shopping centres, whilst factory outlets sell well-known brands at reduced rates. There is a wealth of high-quality goods on sale, including traditional arts and crafts in Maori, South Pacific and contemporary New Zealand style.

Special purchases include distinctive jewellery made from New Zealand greenstone (a kind of jade) and from the beautiful translucent paua shell, which has an unappealing, drab exterior but a stunning interior or iridescent blue, green and purple swirls and hues.

Maori arts and crafts are reflected in a number of items such as the carved greenstone tiki (a unique Maori charm) and intricate woodcarvings often inlaid with paua shell; look in specialist art and craft or museum shops for the best examples, particularly in Nelson, Golden Bay and Coromandel. Wood studios use native timbers including kauri, rimu and totara to craft attractive bowls, ornaments and other objects; the traditional swirls and patterns from customary Maori arts and early carvings are represented in numerous designs, which are very popular for their aesthetic appeal, cultural heritage and symbolic meaning. Glass art is also popular in Nelson and has attracted worldwide praise.

Other items of note include woollen goods, lambswool rugs, merino knitwear, possum fur products, leather and skin products. The ubiquitous All Black rugby jerseys and memorabilia are widespread, with the best cotton-made shirts available from the Canterbury Clothing Company. For something a little more stylish, look out for award-winning local labels such as Karen Walker, Nom*D, World and Zambesi. Alternatively, take a flavour of your trip home with you by buying New Zealand wine, manuka honey or avocado oil.

Shopping Note

All goods and services are subject to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is always included in the advertised price. Visitors cannot reclaim this tax.

Shopping hours

All shops and businesses are open Mon-Sat 0900-1700, as a minimum; there are local variations. Many stores and most shopping centres are also open Sun 1000-1300 and in the evenings in major resorts.

Nightlife in New Zealand

New Zealand has an active and varied entertainment industry that’s set up to cater for people who want a casual drink, cultural experience or a more hedonistic experience. Animated DJ and live music venues provide a vibrant night out, especially in the larger cities, which also host a range of nightclubs, cabaret shows and concerts. Lively entertainment districts such as Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour and Britomart and Wellington’s Courtenay Place and Cuba Quarter offer a variety of music and live entertainment options, so there’s something to suit everyone from pub-goers to clubbers.

Classical music, dance and theatre can be taken in whilst visiting Auckland and Wellington in particular. Theatres also offer good entertainment ranging from drama, comedy and musicals to pop concerts and shows; you can book concert tickets online through Ticketek (www.ticketek.com). In large cities, there are often professional performers or guest artists from overseas – check the 'What's On' section of local papers (also www.newzealand.com). Smaller towns have restaurants and local pubs with plenty of individual character and charm. There are also six casinos in New Zealand: one each in Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin, and two in Queenstown. Smoking is prohibited inside all these venues.