We agree, exactly like we ought to, that no vacation is complete without some shopping. And when one is in a country as exotic as New Zealand, shopping becomes an even more exciting experience! However, as exciting and pleasurable as the entire process may sound, it is also equally confusing because there are just so many things to choose from and so many markets to visit.
Here’s our guide for you to have the perfect shopping spree in New Zealand!
Gumboots, buzzy bee toys, and ashtrays may be seemingly normal objects for us. But, for the people of New Zealand, these are objects that symbolise their country for them. Like all countries, New Zealand also has some quirky things that are absolutely typical of the Kiwi land. For children, the 'buzzy bee' toy is a souvenir like no other! In bright colours like red and yellow, this toy was and has remained the most famous toy.
Since New Zealand is well-known for its natural beauty, especially the kind that one can witness in beaches, shells are one of the most popular objects that tourists like to collect. Paua is one such beautiful shell. Primarily used for carving, this shell is also used to make ashtrays, jewellery, butterflies and coasters.
Of course, one must not come back from New Zealand without getting a little something for the taste buds. Edmonds Cookbook is just what one would need to keep a little of New Zealand in their hearts (and kitchens) always! This also happens to be the most sold book in New Zealand. One other kitchen thing that we're sure you'd miss and would want to bring back with you is the L&P, which could quite possibly be declared as New Zealand's national soft drink because it's just that famous! The Lemon and Paeroa drink was invented in 1904. To make this, mineral water is mixed with lemon.
And now, we'll let you in in a tiny secret. Kiwis are fond of the Number 8 wire. We're serious- while we may only be able to use this wire for fencing, Kiwis can create absolutely amazing things from this! You may want to consider getting this, too to try your hand at some impromptu creativity.
New Zealand believes in all things beautiful, whether it is their landscape, their people or their art and craft. The country is famous for its traditional Māori crafts that include weaving, carving and tattooing, which is called Tā moko. If interested, one can also watch these highly skilled Māori carvers and weavers at work in Rotorua. The unique artifacts can be purchased directly from the craftsman or can be looked at and purchased from the many galleries that the cities house.
In certain areas like Nelson, Waiheke Island and Coromandel, craftsmanship finds abode in people’s residences. Creativity, literally then, is in the kiwi blood. The creative Kiwiians then display and exhibit their work for sale at art shops and weekend markets.
Many art shops also organize hands-on workshops for locals and tourists to give them a glimpse into arts like bone carving, oil-paining or ceramic pottery.
Some of the major public galleries will be found in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. These galleries are known for their diverse collection across centuries. While some collections date back to the 1800s, the others are more modern in nature and in their features. These public galleries also undertake the responsibility for shipping overseas purchases safely within a stipulated time.
When looking to purchase art or unique items for interior decoration, make sure to visit the galleries in Whanganui. Whanganui has birthed many glass artists, several of whom have been internationally recognized for their artsy glasswork.
New Zealand Glassworks is one of the many places all art connoisseurs must visit to view the impressive works of local artists. In fact, here, one can also see glass blowing in process, and hot kilns in operation. When talking of glass artwork, we must also tell you that one of the many things that one could get for themselves from New Zealand is traditional handmade jewellery- found easily in many galleries and studios across town.
There is absolutely no feel like the feel of being among the locals in their local setting. Being with them and feeling like one of them has its charm. Wouldn’t you agree?
For this reason, we recommend visiting and shopping from local markets. As fancy as the feel of those modern outlets are, there’s something brilliant about the good ol’ farmers’ markets. An insight into the Kiwi way of life, these markets are the perfect places to get delicious treats, souvenirs, gifts and local crafts.
We recommend the farmers’ market because we believe in learning about a new cuisine straight from the source. Also, another bonus of attending the farmers’ market is that not only will you find some fresh produce that you will cherish- be it summer or winter- but you will also find many handcrafted goodies that’ll make memorable souvenirs and meaningful gifts for your family back home. One of the best things about the local markets of New Zealand is that no one market is the same as the other. Every market is influenced by the area’s cultural specifications and climatic conditions.
Most areas host mixed local markets, which have a few stalls of handicrafts and the remaining food items and raw materials. There are some other markets, however, that are entirely dedicated to local art and craft products- a tradition that runs into some Kiwiian families for generations. Most of these stalls are manned by crafts persons who are directly involved in the creation. So, there is also a personal touch involved.
Some of the routine local markets one can visit are Riccarton Market (Christchurch), Otara Market, Titirangi Market, Bay of Islands Farmers’ Market, Creative Queenstown Arts & Crafts Market, The Nelson Market, Wellington Market and the Wanaka region’s Farmers’ Market.
We’ve said it so many times, but we’ll say it again- New Zealand has something for everyone. You can have an amazing time just shopping around locally, and you can have a fantastic time browsing through the boutiques in up-town markets. We think of New Zealand as just the land of beaches and adventures. But, there is much more to New Zealand that has given to the world designers like Karen Walker and Margi Robertson. Of course, how can we forget the iconic label Zambesi?
World is another New Zealand (Auckland)-based fashion house known for its colourful, imaginative clothes.
Other than these indigenous designers, many streets and markets around the country can give tourists and visitors the chance to browse through and shop from labels famous worldwide.
The Queen Street (Auckland) is one such central city street that attracts locals and tourists through its luxury brands like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
Another market, Parnell, in Auckland, features several upmarket boutiques and impressive jewellery stores. Adjoining to these central markets are various gift stores, jewellery stores, galleries and other stores that are sure to please the hearts of several people.
In Wellington, the Cuba Street is a must-visit as it hosts several New Zealand designers as well as international labels. This street resembles a perfect balance between what’s traditional and modern, and between what’s indigenous and global.
Queenstown is home to various local fashion boutiques and souvenir shops. It is famous for sheepskin products, greenstone jewellery, and wool clothing.