New Zealand

Currency used in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar NZD. Other currencies are not readily accepted other than at some of the larger hotels and at banks throughout New Zealand. Attempting to make a transaction in a foreign currency may result in some light hearted bemusement.

The smallest coin is 10c, since New Zealand reduced the size of its silver cent coins in 2006, and eliminated the 5c piece. The 10c piece is a coppery colour similar to a U.S. or UK penny. The 20c piece is silver with a Māori carving depicted, as is the 50c piece with captain James Cook's ship the Endeavour. The gold $1 features a kiwi, whilst the $2 features a heron. Banknotes come in $5 orange with Sir Edmund Hillary, $10 blue with Kate Sheppard, $20 green with Queen Elizabeth II, $50 purple with Sir Apirana Ngata, and $100 red with Lord Rutherford of Nelson.

On Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and before 1PM on Anzac Day 25 April, all but a few essential businesses must be closed. While many traders flout this regulation, the matter has for many years been being reviewed by the government. If you are in New Zealand on one of these days, ensure you have all your needs met prior to the date.

price negotiation

Because of strong advertising laws, the displayed price is normally the purchase price for most goods sold in New Zealand. The principle The price stated is the price you pay is strongly ingrained in New Zealand culture.

Most retailers will not negotiate on price, though some have a formal policy of matching the competition and will match or even discount their prices for you if you can find a better price for the exact same product elsewhere. However, this seems to be changing as there are stories about people finding appliance and electronics stores very willing to negotiate on price in order to get business, especially if you're looking at high-end items or have a shopping list of multiple high-priced items. Some places you have to ask for a discount, while others have salespeople that offer discounts on pricey goods as soon as they approach you. Other than high end appliance stores haggling is generally viewed as extremely rude. As a customer you are seen as wasting a shopkeeper's time because it is assumed that they have priced the good at a reasonable price and as a shopkeeper you would be wasting the customer's time if you overpriced the item expecting customers to haggle.

If you are in New Zealand for an extended period of time, the website Trademe provides a similar business model to overseas giant Ebay. However Trademe has a greater focus on Direct Debit based trading and minimal to no fees required upon an item's initial listing.

electronic banking/purchasing

New Zealanders are amongst the highest users of electronic banking services in the world. Automatic teller machines ATMs, locally known as 'the hole in the wall', are available in just about every town, even those without a bank. Most shops have Eftpos Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale terminals for debit and credit cards, so most purchases can be made electronically. Credit cards, especially Diners Club and AMEX due to the large fees they force on retailers, are not accepted by some merchants with Eftpos, especially smaller food retailers such as dairies, takeaways and cafes that do not serve alcohol. Also smaller retailers may often set a minimum purchase of around $10 when obtaining cash, if they agree to provide cash. Banks offer a wide range of telephone and Internet banking services. If you are going to be in New Zealand for a while it may be convenient to open a New Zealand bank account and set up a local debit card, to avoid carrying a lot of cash around.

New Zealand is a user of the CHIP and PIN credit card system which uses an electronic chip in the card and the holder's PIN number to allow a transaction to go through. Most merchants also accept the swipe and sign method which is mostly used by U.S. credit card holders; as they have not yet adapted to the CHIP and PIN system. However, automated machines may not accept credit cards without a chip. Therefore, it is recommended that you have enough cash on hand to make purchase. These mainly appear in rural areas. If you are using a credit card with a magnetic strip no chip embedded at a staffed stand, then you shouldn't have problems using your credit card. After your card is swiped; the terminal will prompt you for your PIN. Just press "ENTER" and your transaction should be approved. After signing the printed receipt, the clerk is required to check that your signature on your credit card matches that of a valid identification before he/she can complete the transaction. This is to minimize fraud. A driver license or passport, from your home country, will suffice.

Note: New Zealand cards can be set to have up to 3 accounts loaded hence the terminal will prompt "Cheque - Savings - Credit". Overseas cards will need to use the "Credit" option, regardless of card type.

Note: The Discover credit card is accepted by a limited number of merchants in Auckland. It is not known whether Discover is accepted in other parts of New Zealand.


In lodgings, restaurants, and bars the prices charged include the services provided and tips are not expected, though the practice is becoming more common, especially bars, cafes, and restaurants that cater for tourists. However, do not be surprised or offended if you receive bemused looks or if your tip is initially refused or questioned as tipping is still a relatively new phenomenon and it is also a form of courtesy in New Zealand culture to first decline such a gesture before accepting it. For some New Zealanders their unfamiliarity with tipping can make them ill-at-ease with it when travelling in countries where it is practised. It can be viewed very negatively by New Zealanders as being made to 'pay twice', or as a form of bribery. Staff in some establishments may risk their job in accepting a tip, although this is relatively uncommon. In the major cities, tipping tends to be embraced by workers, especially over the summer when students wait tables for part-time work. Tipjars may be placed on counters, but these are for loose change and although it is appreciated, you are not expected to place coins in them. It is common practice and polite to donate your spare change from the meal to what ever charity has a collection jar on the counter, and this acts as the standard substitute for tipping.

taxes and fees

Unless otherwise explicitly stated, NZ prices include GST Goods and Services Tax, or sales tax of 15%.

Some shops, especially in tourist destinations, will ship purchases overseas, as exported goods are not subject to GST. Ask about this service before making your purchase. Goods purchased and taken with you will be subject to GST.

"Visitors to New Zealand must pay GST on all goods and services that they buy in New Zealand. There is no refund of GST available when you leave New Zealand." (

On public holidays, some establishments such as cafes may charge a holiday surcharge in the region of 15%, supposedly to cover the cost of employing staff who are working on the holiday. This is a recent development because current holiday legislation requires workers who work on public holidays to be paid at one-and-a-half times their normal wage and be given a equal time off in lieu as a minimum. The legality of this surcharge is questionable if not advertised openly or notified at the time of placing an order and might be challenged if you're feeling brave. This surcharge is already beginning to go out of fashion, as shops generally do a roaring trade on holidays and many consumers don't appreciate this development.