Restricted shop trading days in New Zealand
Every year there are three and a half days that most stores must close under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990. These days are:
- Christmas Day (public holiday)
- Good Friday (public holiday)
- ANZAC Day, only until 1.00 pm (public holiday)
- Easter Sunday (not a public holiday)
You can read more about which restricted shop trading days are public holidays here
There are three reasons why a store may be permitted to open on these days:
- They come under a specified ‘shop type’ (with strict conditions)
- If an area exemption applies to them
- If their council has adopted a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy (note the Easter shop trading policies don’t allow a shop to open on Christmas Day, Good Friday or Anzac Day before 1pm).
The types of shops that are allowed to open (with strict conditions) are:
- Small grocery shops (e.g. convenience store, dairy or superette) can open, but can only sell food, drink, household items and personal items. They must only sell items that people can’t put off buying until the next day, such as baby formula or pet food.
- Service stations can open, but only sell food, drink, household items, personal items, petrol, oil, car parts and accessories. They also must be items people can’t put off buying until the next day, such as baby formula or pet food.
- Take-away bar, restaurant, cafes can open so long as they only sell prepared or cooked food ready to be eaten immediately in the form in which it is sold.
- Duty free stores can open, provided they are only selling duty-free items.
- Shops providing services, rather than selling goods (e.g. hairdresser) can open, provided they are only providing services, not selling goods.
- Real Estate Agencies can open without any restrictions.
- Pharmacies can open without any restrictions.
- Garden Centres can open only on Easter Sunday.
- Shops located at any public transport terminal or station can open provided they only sell books, magazines and newspapers, duty-free items, or food that is ready to be eaten.
- Shop in a premises where an exhibition or show is taking place. This includes markets, craft shows and stalls at these exhibitions and shows.
- Souvenir shop.
Shop owners are responsible for determining whether they meet the criteria. If your shop isn’t listed above, then you cannot open on restricted trading days unless you come under an area exemption, or if you are opening on Easter Sunday under a local territorial authority Easter Sunday shop trading policy.
Some areas around New Zealand have historic exemptions that allow them to open on restricted trading days. They are mostly tourist hot spots like Taupo and Queenstown.
Check if you are covered by any area exemptions here.
Easter Sunday Trading
Some councils have created policies which allow shops within their jurisdiction the option of opening on Easter Sunday. You can see more detail on Easter Sunday trading and find out whether you are covered by an Easter Sunday shop trading policy on our advice page here.
Shops that don’t fit into one of the exemption categories, or are not in an area where a council has made a local Easter Sunday shop trading policy would be committing an offence if they open and trade on restricted shop trading days. The owner of the shop may be liable for a fine of up to $1,000.
Need further advice about whether you can operate on the restricted trading days? Members can call our Advice Service on 0800 472 272 (1800 128 086 from Australia) – or email [email protected].
Updated January 2024.