There are three and a half days in the year when the law says that shops must not open. Two of these days are at Easter. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are important days in the Christian church. Most shops are closed on these two days. Shops are closed also on Christmas Day and on ANZAC day before 1pm.
However, not all shops have to close. Dairies, service stations, souvenir shops, duty-free shops and pharmacies are allowed to open. Also, places that sell ready-to-eat food like cafes can stay open.
Many business people say the law is confusing. Shops in the tourist towns, Queenstown and Taupo, can stay open but the two tourist towns nearby, Wanaka and Rotorua, cannot open their shops. Garden centres can open on Easter Sunday but not hardware shops even if they have a garden centre in their shop. It is not clear whether regular Sunday farmers’ markets can open or not.
Inspectors checked 38 shops during this Easter holiday. Businesses that break the law could be fined $1,000.