Easter shopping

If you live in New Zealand, you already know that most shops were closed Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Many shops were closed today, Monday, as well, although the law says they can open if they want to. Easter is the most important time for Christians.

The Easter shop trading law is a bit of a muddle. Most shops have to close on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. However, garden centres are allowed to open Easter Sunday, because gardening is a leisure activity which people enjoy on holidays. One garden centre, with many branches throughout New Zealand, always opens Good Friday as well, for the same reason. This is still illegal.

The law is confusing. Shops in tourist towns like Queenstown and Taupo are allowed to open during Easter but shops in other tourist towns like Wanaka and Rotorua are not allowed. Some services are allowed like video shops where you can hire a video but you cannot buy a video on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. Likewise, a hair dresser can cut your hair on those days but cannot sell you hair products.

However, there is a bill in Parliament at the moment which could become a law before next Easter. This law would allow local councils to decide which shops could open on Easter Sunday. Shopping on Good Friday would still be banned. This bill, however, may not become law. Some local councils feel that the government should make a law which includes the whole country.

Although New Zealanders were traditionally Christian, fewer than 50% are Christian today. However, many argue that Easter is a family time. If parents have to work, they cannot enjoy being with their family.


• trading (adj, n) – buying and selling
• leisure (adj, n) – activity for enjoyment not work
• muddle (n,v) – not clear, confusing
• services (n) – business for people’s needs e.g. restaurant workers
• bill (n) – the words of a law before Parliament has voted and passed it; the bill then becomes a law
• banned (past tense of verb: to ban) – not allowed