Paua The iridescent shell of the Paua (Abalone) is polished and fashioned into beautiful jewellery. Carved jewellery Contemporary or traditional Maori designs carved in greenstone, bone or wood. Wool Fine wool in hand-knitted jerseys or sumptuous sheepskins. Possum fur Blended Merino wool and Possum fur crafted into soft and wearable hats, gloves and many other accessories. Ceramics and sculptures Beautiful artisan pieces in ceramic, wood, glass and metal. Gourmet foods Including homegrown wines, olive and avocado oils, chocolates and distilled liqueurs. Quirky cultural icons The Buzzy Bee pull-along toy, a much-loved New Zealand cultural icon, makes a great gift. Original art Purchase an original New Zealand painting or limited-edition print.
Top New Zealand fashion designers, such as Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper and Zambesi, are lauded worldwide for their unique take on high fashion. A few others to watch for are Untouched World, Sabatini, World, Andrea Moore, Starfish, Workshop and Helen Cherry, but there are many more that are well worth discovering. Take a look at www.fashionz.co.nz to preview the latest collections. New Zealand Fashion Week, held in September each year, is a celebration of New Zealand fashion and some events are open to the public.
Although NZ does not have a GST refund scheme, visitors can shop tax free at many retailers. Show your international plane ticket at a registered GST-free retailer and your items will be sent to the airport to collect on departure.
Buying the Essentials
The ultimate camping and outdoor equipment store is Kathmandu. It’s not always the cheapest option, but it’s worth splashing out on a good sleeping bag, waterproof shoes or rain jacket to keep you warm and dry – and they do have great sales on a pretty regular basis. The Warehouse is a discount store for just about everything from cooking equipment to towels, tents and torches. Pop into Briscoes for cooking equipment, sheets and towels.
There are several big supermarket chains, including Pak ’n’ Save, New World, Countdown and Fresh Choice. Dairies Convenience stores (called ‘dairies’) – some of them open 24 hours – will provide you with essentials like milk and bread.
Pick up good-value clothing at Glassons (for women) and Hallensteins (for men). Farmers is the largest department store.
Want to send a postcard home? You’ll find a post shop in all major centres as well as most small towns.
Like most places in the world, New Zealand has embraced online banking – but you can still find ‘bricks and mortar’ banks in cities and towns. Many are closed on weekends though – look for branches in malls if you need Saturday or Sunday services.