One of the most popular souvenirs from NZ is a curvaceous greenstone (jade) pendant, probably based on a Maori design. They’re available all over the country, though it makes sense to buy close to the main source of raw material around Greymouth and Hokitika on the West Coast of the South Island. Most of the cheaper goods are manufactured from Chinese jade, which is regarded as inferior: for the genuine article, insist on NZ pounamu carved locally.
A variation on this theme is the bone pendant. Several places around the country give you a chance to work a piece of cattle bone into your own design or something based on classic Maori iconography. With a little talent and application you should be able to whip up something to be proud of in a few hours. Something similar can be made of iridescent paua shell, or you can simply buy ready-made pieces fashioned into anything from buttons to detailed picture frames.
Sheepskin and wool products are also big, as are garments – socks, sweaters etc – at least partly made from possum fur. New Zealanders hate these pests and will thank you for supporting any industry which hastens their demise. A quality possum-fur throw will set you back over $1000 but cushion covers come much cheaper. Sheepskins go for around $100.
There’s plenty of outdoor clothing around, but look out for the Icebreaker (w icebreaker.com), Untouched World (w untouchedworld.co.nz) and Glowing Sky (w glowingsky.co.nz) brands of stylish Merino-wool garments, which are fairly pricey but feel great, keep you warm and don’t harbour nasty odours.
Some of New Zealand’s top fashion designers are world-class. Garments by Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, Trelise Cooper, Alexandra Owen, Zambesi and World are expensive but coveted and unique.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners
Planning your trip to New Zealand
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
New Zealand features
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
Quiz: where should you go for an adventure in New Zealand?
With spectacular mountains, incredible lakes and sprawling national parks, New Zealand makes for the adventure of a lifetime. The locals call it “Godzone” (…
Everything you need to know about backpacking New Zealand
New Zealand’s craggy coastline and beautiful national parks beg to be explored. The scenery gets more spectacular around every corner, with beaches, vineyards…
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you
There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …