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Image: Getty / Design: Tina Tiller
Image: Getty / Design: Tina Tiller

BusinessApril 6, 2023

Everything you can and can’t do this Easter

Image: Getty / Design: Tina Tiller
Image: Getty / Design: Tina Tiller

What’s closed, what’s open, and when? It’s confusing, but we’re here to help.


Today is a normal day. Do everything you’d usually do! Go to work, head to the gym, get a coffee with friends. Ahead of an extra-long weekend, it’s unlikely anyone’s putting in 100% so it’ll probably be a chill one. Chat to someone you never normally chat to. Be nice! Who knows what might come of it? While you’re out and about, you might want to head to the supermarket to stock up on mini chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. Because tomorrow’s a very different story. If you’re planning on heading into town, get your partying over and done with by midnight: that’s when bars and nightclubs need to close. And yes, bottle stores will be closed tomorrow and Sunday too.

Good Friday

It’s Good Friday! That means almost everything is closed. Good Friday is a public holiday and a restricted trading day so most shops need to keep their doors shut. Malls are out, and supermarkets are taking a rare day off. If you’re desperate, you’ll need to head to a petrol station or a dairy, which are allowed to open. Some takeaway food stores and cafes may be open, but be warned: there will likely be surcharges. Good Friday is a great Friday to spend with loved ones, reading a book, napping, mowing the lawns, putting something in the slow cooker or catching up on Succession. After everything we’ve been through this year, we all deserve a bit of a break.


Hey hey, it’s (just another normal) Saturday. All shops, including malls, supermarkets and Bunnings will be open, and they’ll probably be pumping. Early birds get the worm, etc, so if you want to beat the crowds, maybe be there as bleary staff are opening those doors. It’s also the start of school holidays and all those kids are going to be at a loose end. They have to go somewhere and that means malls, movie theatres, theme parks, playgrounds, parks, bike tracks and escape rooms are likely to be full of stressed-out parents and kids who’ve had way too much sugar. Give them a wide berth and make sure you book ahead and plan your adventures in advance. Or just don’t go out. Up to you!

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is where it gets confusing. It’s hectic. It’s a mess. No one knows what’s going on. No one knows what to do. That’s because Easter Sunday is a restricted trading day, but not a public holiday. It’s up to regional councils to dictate how Easter Sunday works (find a full list of those decisions here) but it remains a point of contention among many retailers. Case in point: in Auckland, shops on Parnell Road can open up just fine, but almost no one else can.

Shop owners face fines for opening up if they’re not supposed to, so you might want to get your facts straight on that one. If you’re an employee and you’ve been asked to work, well, you don’t have to so check up on your employment rights. Arguing about all this is a time-honoured Easter tradition in Aotearoa. It would be nice if someone just made a decision and settled it once and for all. Calm your nerves by eating all of the remaining chocolate and hot cross buns in the house.

Easter Monday

Turn your alarms off because Monday is definitely another day off. It’s just like Good Friday, basically, except more shops are open and you’ll probably be suffering from a bit of the old back-to-work blues. If you’ve headed out of town for an Easter getaway, remember to leave enough time to get home because traffic heading back into Auckland and Wellington will be fairly brutal across the afternoon. Be sneaky and leave early. Or melt your remaining Easter eggs into hot chocolates, pour them into travel mugs and head home late. Driving at night is an underrated way to travel.


Sorry, but it’s back to work for most of us. Except, maybe, parents, who have to work out what to do with their kids for the next two weeks of school holidays. Good luck out there.

Keep going!