New Zealand shops and supermarkets are similar to those in most Western countries. New Zealanders use the word ‘dairy’ to refer to small local shops that sell ice creams, sweets, newspapers, magazines and some basic grocery items and the word ‘superette’ to refer to small local supermarkets. Most shops are open during working hours, usually 9:00am to 5:30pm from Monday to Saturday. Late Thursday and Friday night as well as Sunday shopping is also common. Many supermarkets are open until 9:00pm, and some stay open for 24 hours, seven days a week. Some shops, such as take away food outlets and those attached to petrol stations, are also open for extended hours.


All parts of New Zealand operate in the same time zone and daylight saving time has been implemented.

Maintenance and home help

New Zealand families do not have full-time servants, gardeners or cooks, but a small number hire ‘home help’, usually an individual who does their house cleaning for a few hours each week. More common is the hiring of ‘handymen’ or small ‘odd job’ contractors to mow lawns, maintain gardens and/or complete minor repairs. However, electrical, gasfitting and plumbing work must be done by registered tradesmen.

When you want someone to do some work for you, it is best to ascertain costs first. There are two ways of doing this:

  • Ask for a ‘quote’. A quote is an offer to do a job for a certain price. If you accept the quote, the contractor has to do the work for that price, unless you agree to change it.
  • Ask for an ‘estimate’. An estimate is a price the contractor thinks the work will cost. It is not a firm offer to do the job for that price. If you decide to use that particular contractor, make it clear that you want to be told – before work starts – if the final price is going to be higher than the estimate.

Ask for quotes and estimates in writing. For advice on charges, and on ways of making sure you get jobs done well, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Freephone: 0800 367 222 . You can also visit: