Shopping in New Zealand
Shopping in New Zealand offers a huge variety of New Zealand souvenirs from arts and craft markets, galleries and museum shops to exclusive designer stores.
For traditional New Zealand souvenirs look for examples of superb Māori carvings in wood, bone and pounamu (greenstone or jade). You may also find unique New Zealand kiwiana to choose from, such as jewellery and ornaments made from the iridescent paua shell (abalone) treasured by Māori for centuries.
Alongside top international, boutique fashion stores in the main New Zealand shopping areas, you will also find New Zealand's own award-winning fashion labels, including Zambesi, NomD, Karen Walker and World.
Most shops and businesses are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, as a minimum. Many stores also open Saturdays and some are open on Sundays. In resorts you will find most stores open in the evenings. Banks are closed at weekends.
New Zealand Kiwiana
Kiwifruit - Often simply called a 'kiwi', this fruit is of Chinese origin, but grows throughout New Zealand. It was originally called a 'Chinese Gooseberry' by New Zealanders, but when New Zealand started to export the fruit, it was decided to give them a better name.
'Kiwifruit' was the choice because it would associate the fruit with New Zealand. The choice was timely, and New Zealand enjoyed record exports during the worldwide kiwifruit boom. While kiwifruit are now grown throughout the world, you can always tell if a kiwifruit is from New Zealand, as it will be branded 'Zespri'.
Buzzy Bee - Not the live one, but the toy! The Buzzy Bee is probably the most famous single piece of New Zealand kiwiana, and it's great for children as a memorable New Zealand souvenir. But it's not just the bright red and yellow colours that make Buzzy Bee so attractive to Kiwis, who are far more used to the greens and browns of their native bush. As you pull the toy, the wings of the Buzzy Bee rotate, making a wonderful loud clicking sound.
Paua - (pronounced par-wah) Is a close relative of abalone and comes in a beautiful shell. Māori used the shiny shell for eyes in carvings of various creatures. Whole paua shells are used for ashtrays and other containers, and pieces of paua shell are used for making jewellery, butterflies, coasters, 21st birthday keys and a variety of other New Zealand souvenirs.
Pavlova - This dessert was invented as a tribute to the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured New Zealand and Australia in 1926. Pavlova is made of meringue and cream and is usually topped with kiwifruit.
The pavlova has long been at the centre of a trans-Tasman argument. Both New Zealanders and Australians steadfastly maintain they invented it. The first appearance of the recipe in written form was in a New Zealand cookbook in the early 1930s. Surely it is obvious that a Swiss-style meringue cake covered in 'chinese gooseberries' and named after a Russian ballerina can only be a New Zealand invention!
Edmonds - More copies of this book, published by the makers of Edmonds 'Sure to Rise' Baking Powder, have been sold than any other book in New Zealand. Few New Zealand children would leave home without buying or borrowing their mother's copy of this kiwi culinary bible.
No. 8 Wire - Kiwis are famous for their ingenuity and self-sufficiency. It is said that Kiwis can create amazing things - all they need is 'a piece of number 8 wire'. No 8 wire is a certain gauge of wire that was incredibly popular for use as fencing wire around New Zealand's many farms. Ironically, until 1963, it was imported from other countries. Because No. 8 wire was widely available, it was used for a variety of tasks and it has become a symbol of kiwi adaptability.
L&P - L&P stands for Lemon and Paeroa, New Zealand's most famous soft drink. It was invented in 1904 after its maker tasted some mineral water near the town of Paeroa, and mixed it with lemon to make a particularly refreshing drink. L&P was originally called Paeroa and Lemon, though the name was later reversed, and then shorted to L&P. This drink is still popular throughout New Zealand today.
Crown Lynn Railways Cup - Rail transport was once the major mode of transport in New Zealand and an important part of the culture, as well as the infrastructure. On the overnight express from Wellington to Auckland, passengers would stop for a cup of tea along the way. The steaming brew was also served in an incredibly sturdy railways mug, made by New Zealand's Crown Lynn pottery. While the mugs were cheaply made, over the years they have become valuable collector's items.
Click here to view tourism operators for souvenirs and shopping in New Zealand.