Are you planning a trip to New Zealand and want to know which items to bring back? Scroll to find out the best New Zealand souvenirs that are totally worth space in your luggage!
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Last year, my family did an epic trip to New Zealand with my husband’s side of the family. We went right at Christmas and got to take advantage of some of the Boxing Day sales.
If you follow my blog regularly, you know I love to shop. And that’s especially true when we travel.
But, I don’t like wasting money (and valuable suitcase space) on things I can buy at home. I like focusing on items that are special to the destination or something I will actually use long after my trip is over.
New Zealand was such a fun place to explore. We spent most of our time in Auckland and Rotorua and we found some amazing local gift shops and stores. Actually, I had just as much fun exploring the grocery stores as I did the shopping centers!
I managed to find some really cool New Zealand souvenirs and I didn’t even need to buy extra luggage!
Keep scrolling to find out what New Zealand souvenirs you should add to your shopping list!
24 Awesome New Zealand Souvenirs
New Zealand Souvenirs: Food
1. Manuka Honey
While you can find honey that claims to be Manuka Honey all over the world, your best bet for finding authentic Manuka Honey is in New Zealand.
The reason people will pay a lot of money for this New Zealand honey is because of its health benefits. Plus, it tastes really yummy on toast!
Authentic jars of Manuka Honey will have a number on it with its UMF rating (Unique Manuka Factor.) The higher the number, the stronger the antibacterial properties.
We’ve found “Manuka Honey” at Costco and at Homegoods since returning from New Zealand, but they don’t have the rating on them and they are so much cheaper that we don’t think they are legitimately Manuka Honey.
2. Pineapple Lumps
I’m a huge fan of buying local candy whenever we travel. Sometimes I even share it with my kids!
While we were standing in a huge line to meet Santa in Auckland, we got to chatting with the family next to us and they told us their kids’ favorite New Zealand candy was Pineapple Lumps.
They are basically chocolate covered chewy pineapple candy. It doesn’t sound super awesome (or even look that appetizing), but I’m freaking hooked on them!
The good news is that they sell them at the airport, so you can fill your carry on bag with them as you head home. We may have bought 12 bags to bring back!
3. Tim Tams
Tim Tams are actually Australian, but they sell them all over New Zealand and they are super tasty! They are chocolate covered “biscuits” and there are several varieties. Our favorite are caramel Tim Tams!
You’ll find packages of Tim Tams at any grocery or convenience store in New Zealand. They are pretty affordable and you should go ahead and buy one of each so you can do a taste test. You know, for science!
So, I thought we could only get Tim Tams in New Zealand and we bought a bunch. However, I’ve even found them in my local grocery store in Seattle, so you never know!
4. Hokey Pokey
My friend actually did a 16 day New Zealand trip a few years ago and she brought me back a package of Hokey Pokey cookies. They were SO good that I knew I needed to grab some on our trip to New Zealand.
Hokey Pokey is a honeycomb toffee made in New Zealand. You’ll find it in candy, cookies, and ice cream. Sometimes it’s chocolate covered.
We thought it was super tasty, but a little bit can go a long way. It’s very sweet and the honey flavor is pretty powerful. That’s why it’s especially good in ice cream.
Since you can’t pack Hokey Pokey ice cream home, I suggest buying some Hokey Pokey candy bars to bring back and they crumble them up into vanilla ice cream to make your own.
5. New Zealand Chocolate
If you are a chocoholic, you will be in heaven perusing the chocolate section at any local grocery store. The most famous New Zealand chocolate company is Whittaker’s and they make a ton of different chocolate bars that are worth trying.
They have a bunch of flavors that are unique to New Zealand, like pear and manuka honey, as well as traditional chocolate flavors.
The candy bar that gets a lot of attention is the Jelly Tip. It’s based off of a popular New Zealand ice cream flavor and has white chocolate, raspberry jelly, and milk chocolate.
6. New Zealand Wine
While France and Italy have been known for their outstanding wine for centuries, New Zealand is becoming a wine destination itself.
You’ll find wineries all across New Zealand where you can taste different wine. Or, you can pick up one of their award-winning wines at a local wine shop.
7. 42 Below Vodka
If you are less of a wine drinker and more into unique hard alcohol, you might want to check out 42 Below Vodka. This flavored vodka comes in specialty New Zealand flavors like Manuka Honey, Passion Fruit, and Kiwi.
I suggest trying it at a local bar first, so you know what flavors you prefer, before purchasing a full bottle at a local New Zealand liquor store.
There’s even a book about this vodka called Every Bastard Says No by Geoff Ross. Grab a copy of this book and a bottle of 42 Below Vodka and you have a really great birthday or holiday gift to give someone.
Ok, so I’m adding this to the list but I have to admit that I was too nervous to actually try this when I was in New Zealand. I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to an entire jar.
You’ve probably heard of Vegemite, which is super popular in Australia. Well, New Zealand has their own version and it’s called Marmite.
It’s a savory breakfast spread made from yeast and spices and it’s known for being an “acquired taste.”
As long as you don’t open up your jar of Marmite, you should have no problem flying with this New Zealand food product. It would probably be fun to bring back and share with a large group of friends so everyone can try a little bit.
9. New Zealand Ketchup
Ok, I’m sure it sounds crazy to buy ketchup as a souvenir, but we always like to buy food items that we can’t find in the U.S.
We had no idea that New Zealand had their own ketchup recipe until we got over there. Well, they call it tomato sauce, but it’s basically ketchup.
Watties Tomato Sauce is the most popular brand to get and they pride themselves on not using artificial ingredients. People in New Zealand put it on everything, but we like it on hamburgers and french fries!
New Zealand Souvenirs: Clothing
10. All Blacks Jersey
I may not know much about rugby, but I do know that New Zealand’s rugby team (the All Blacks) is known all over the world. You might have seen videos of the All Blacks performing a traditional Maori Haka Dance before a match. (If not, go ahead and watch it and then come back to this page!)
It’s really easy to get behind this team once you are in New Zealand, so you might want to grab an All Blacks jersey, t-shirt, or sweatshirt to bring home with you.
And if you were planning on bringing back a New Zealand souvenir to someone who is passionate about sports, they will get a kick out of an All Blacks jersey. It’s a great conversation starter!
11. Anything Merino Wool
It just takes driving a few minutes out of Auckland to realize that there are way more sheep than people in New Zealand. And that means, they create a ton of wool products.
New Zealand is famous for their merino wool clothing items. You’ll find them in all the department stores as well as boutiques.
My husband was able to find a really nice, lightweight wool sweater that has been perfect to layer over a button down shirt for work. It’s very business casual, which is as dressed up as we usually get here in Seattle!
And if you don’t have room for a sweater in your suitcase, you can always grab a pair of merino wool socks!
12. Swanndri Shirts (aka Swanny)
Because New Zealand has so many sheep, that also means they have a lot of farms. So, New Zealand “farm wear” is kind of it’s own style.
It looks like the flannel shirts we have all over the Pacific Northwest, but these ones are extra warm because they are made from wool.
People wear them in New Zealand to do a variety of outdoor activities, like fishing and hunting. But, they would be an awesome addition to your fall wardrobe.
13. Silver Fern Items
When we first started traveling through New Zealand, we noticed silver ferns on all kinds of clothing. At first, we thought the were All Blacks items, since they feature the fern on their stuff.
But, we soon realized that it’s more like a symbol of New Zealand.
Both my mom and my mother-in-law bought t-shirts featuring the elegant silver fern. It’s a great way to show some New Zealand pride without grabbing a tacky souvenir shirt.
You can also get a silver fern lapel pin. Those are super trendy to pin on jackets or bags and they can be fairly subtle.
If you are traveling to New Zealand during their rainy season, you might want to grab a pair of gumboots while you are over there.
I know I don’t usually travel with my rain boots (unless I’m driving to a local PNW getaway) so this is nice way of getting a useful New Zealand souvenir that will come in handy throughout your trip.
These are great if you are planning on doing some New Zealand outdoor adventures. Boonie’s is a popular brand that makes a lot of cute gumboots for men, women, and children.
New Zealand Souvenirs: Beauty Products
15. Thermal Mud Masks and Creams
If you are heading to Rotorua (about a 3 hour drive from Auckland), you’re probably going to visit one of the thermal mud baths in the area. This is a great place to pick up thermal mud face creams and hand lotions.
But, you can also find them at beauty stores across New Zealand.
Popular thermal mud items include lotions, shampoos, scrubs, face masks, and more. Grab a few items and recreate your New Zealand spa experience at home!
16. Manuka Honey Beauty Products
You know how people pay a lot of money for manuka honey to spread on toast? Well, they also put it in products to spread on your face.
Because it’s antibacterial, people like using manuka honey skincare because it can help reduce acne.
You can also find manuka honey face masks.
New Zealand Souvenirs: Toys, Books & Collectibles
17. Kiwi Plushies
My boys aren’t really into stuffed animals, but they insisted that we get them kiwi bird plushies from the Redwoods Tree Walk gift shop in Rotorua.
Kiwis are the national bird of New Zealand. And people from New Zealand are affectionately called Kiwis, too.
We ended up getting some that make bird sounds when you push a button. While we knew they made noise, I just want to warn you in case you prefer quiet stuffed animals!
18. Buzzy Bees
We usually try to buy a couple of locally-made toys when we travel. The kids enjoy getting new toys and I think they make really cool souvenirs and presents for friends and family.
I spent a lot of time doing some research about New Zealand toys before our trip and found out that one of the most popular New Zealand toys is the wooden Buzzy Bee.
It’s one of those toddler toys where kids hold a string and the bees wings move as the kids walk with the toy. It’s kind of like the Fisher-Price doggy toy kids pull along.
Buzzy Bees have been around since the 1930s and this toy has turned into a pop icon. You can find images of it on t-shirts (which might be cool for teens or young adults.)
19. Maori Doll
When I was little, I remember seeing a Maori doll at our thrift store and I have regretted not buying it ever since. I tried to find one on our trip to New Zealand, but I ran out of time. Perfect excuse for another trip!
Maori dolls usually feature traditional Maori costumes and some even show Polynesian tattoos.
Some Maori dolls are made for kids to play with and others are for display purposes only.
20. Anything Lord of the Rings
You might be living under a rock if you didn’t now that the Lords of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed in New Zealand.
We tried to visit Hobbiton on our way to Rotorua, but forgot to get our tour tickets. However, we took full advantage of their cool gift shop!
They had tons of items geared for both kids and adults. Of course, a popular Lord of the Rings gift item is a ring!
The Weta Cave in Wellington is also a great place to find authentic Lord of the Rings souvenirs. Plus, you can tour the Weta Workshop while you are there.
21. New Zealand Children’s Books
Our family loves picking up a few picture books when we travel. Our kids are young and we usually read stories before bedtime. Traveling just gives us a great excuse to buy books that take place each destination.
There are some really great New Zealand children’s books, if you know what to look for.
Tales of Aotearoa: How Maui Slowed the Sun is a traditional Maori myth with some updated (and humorous) illustrations. Fans of Disney’s Moana will already be familiar with Maui (yep, it’s the same guy!)
A Kiwi Year: Twelve Months in the Life of New Zealand’s Kids is a fascinating look into what life is like for New Zealand families every month of the year including holidays, special events, and more.
Manu the Kiwi of Kindness features New Zealand’s national bird (the Kiwi) and has an uplifting message of how we can all make a big difference if we just spread a little kindness. And how spreading kindness can actually be a talent.
Check out my full list of incredible New Zealand children’s books!
New Zealand Souvenirs: Maori Cultural Items
22. Poi Balls
My oldest insisted that I buy him a pair of poi balls when we went to the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua. I couldn’t say no because I had a pair of poi balls that I bought in Hawaii when I was a kid!
They are a big part of Maori dancing and they are a lot of fun to play around with. The nice thing about them is that the balls are soft, so if your kids hit each other with them, they probably won’t do much damage.
Sometimes they come in different lengths, so make sure you know if you are getting short or long ones.
23. Carved Necklace
If you’ve seen a traditional Maori dance (either in New Zealand or at a luau in Hawaii), you’ll notice that the women wear statement necklaces that feature a carved pendant made out of a green stone that kind of looks like jade.
This is called greenstone jewelry and it features traditional Maori shapes and designs. Some look like hooks or tikis, while others kind of resemble the Heart of Te Fiti from Disney’s Moana.
These necklaces are said to bring strength and prosperity to the person wearing them, so please be respectful of the history and cultural significance of this New Zealand jewelry.
24. Maori Artwork
Traditional and modern Maori art is simply stunning. There are lots of local New Zealand artists you can find for originals and prints.
There are also carved masks and wall hangings that are pretty interesting.
One of the best (and easiest) options for finding Maori artwork is to check out museum gift shops. Otherwise, you can head to local art galleries or boutiques to see what they have.