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Last updated : Nov 2009
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Food & Drink

New Zealand is country noted as a leading producer of meat and dairy produce with pork, lamb, venison and beef on most menus. Kumara (a natural sweet potato) is a locally produced vegetable and popular.

A wide range of fish is available, such as John Dory, grouper and snapper. Seasonal delicacies are also available, including oysters, whitebait, scallops, and crayfish. Game birds are also popular.

Another reputation that has developed for New Zealand is it's wide range of French like cheeses, including Brie, Bleu de Bresse, Montagne Bleu and Camembert.

The traditional dessert for New Zealand is the well known pavlova, a large round cake topped with fruit and cream, with a meringue base.

A formal dress code is not expected in resturants (apart from the more exclusive ones) and some invite the customer to bring your own liquor (BYO). Waiter service is normal, and fast-food and self-service chains are also available, as well as barbecue facilities and picnic areas at roadside sites.

New Zealand is also well known for it's world-class domestic beers and wines, some of which have won international awards. A wide range of imported and domestic wines, beers and spirits are available from hotel bars, wine shops and liquor stores. Bars have counter service, and the dress code for bars is very informal, however house and lounge bars (for hotel guests only) are often more formal and occasionally have table service.

Licensing hours:
Monday to Saturday, 11.00am to 11.00pm.

Note: There is some variation in licensing hours in some hotel bars and in major cities, some open Sunday, providing a meal is eaten.

Legal drinking age: The legal and minimum drinking age in a bar is 18.


The entertainment and nightlife in New Zealand is varied and considered fairly active. Theatres offer great entertainment ranging from comedy, drama and musicals, to pop concerts and shows. (concert tickets can be booked online with Ticketek.

In the larger cities there are often guest artists or professional performers from overseas, the best place to find more information on these is in the 'What’s On’ section in local papers. There is also a small selection of nightclubs and cinemas in the larger cities and areas.


Distinctive jewellery made from New Zealand greenstone (a type of jade) and from the beautiful translucent paua shell are unique purchases and soveiners. Maori arts and crafts are reflected in a number of items, including the carved greenstone tiki (an exclusive Maori charm) and intricate woodcarvings often inlaid with paua shell. Woollen goods, lambswool rugs, travel rugs, leather and skin products are also admired buys.

Shopping hours: Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 5.00pm (minimum hours open)

Note: Many stores and most malls are also open Sunday 10.00am to 1.00pm.
Most shops are also open in the evenings in resorts.

Social Conventions

If a visitor is invited to a formal Maori occasion, the pressing of noses (hongi) is common. New Zealanders are generally very hopitable and relaxed, so casual dress is broadly acceptable. After introductions have been made first names are normally used, stiff formality is rarely apprieciated.


Smoking is limited where indicated


Tips are not expected.

Taxes and service charges are not added to resturant or hotel bills.