Easter holiday

This weekend is Easter, which is one of the most important holiday times in Christianity. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays, so banks and offices are closed on those days. Schools and universities have Tuesday off as well, which means they have a 5-day weekend.

Almost all shops must close on Good Friday. The only shops that can open on Good Friday are pharmacies, petrol stations, and small grocery shops such as dairies – because people may need emergency supplies from these kinds of shops. There are one-and-a half other days in the year with similar restrictions on shopping: Christmas Day (25 December), and until 1pm on ANZAC day (25 April).

Easter Sunday is also a restricted trading day, but it is not a public holiday and there are some extra rules for shops on this day. As well as the shops for emergency supplies, some shops which sell souvenirs in popular tourist areas such as Taupo and Queenstown can open. In addition, a law was passed in 2016 which allowed local councils to decide whether shops in their area could open on Easter Sunday. Many councils have now set their own rules to allow shops to open in their area. However, they are not required to open, and workers are not required to work if they don’t want to. Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch do not have Easter Sunday shop trading policies so shops in those cities will be closed.

There has been a lot of discussion over recent decades about Easter trading. Some people think that there should be no restrictions anymore, as not as many people in New Zealand are Christian as in the past, and there is now a more multi-cultural society. They also say that online shops are open all day, every day, so the current restrictions are unfair for physical stores. However, other people think that it is good for retail workers to have some guaranteed days of holidays, and unions which support these workers do not want the law to change. Easter can be a chance for families to spend time together and sometimes to go away on holiday.

If you want some extra listening, type “Easter” in the search box to find earlier posts about Easter.


dairy (dairies, plural) – a small local shop. This is a NZ word – in other countries dairies are called convenience stores or corner shop

pharmacy – a chemist, where people get medicines

guaranteed – if something is guaranteed, you are sure it will happen

union – an organisation which protects workers’ rights