Rules about trading on Easter Sunday are set by law under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990.

Easter Sunday is a restricted trading day under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990(external link), which in general means shops must be closed on Easter Sunday.

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990, referring to Easter Sunday trading, does not override the requirements for the sale of alcohol under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and the requirements for a special licence on sacrosanct days.

Shops that can open on Easter Sunday

Certain shops may open for trade on Easter Sunday, provided they meet conditions set out in the Act. Typically, the kinds of shops that can open on Easter Sunday include:

  • restaurants and cafes
  • garden centres
  • dairies
  • petrol stations
  • pharmacies
  • souvenir shops
  • shops in public transport terminals. 

There are further criteria that must be met regarding the types of goods that can be sold and the quantities held for sale. The specific conditions are outlined in sections 4, 4A and 4B of the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990(external link).

If you are uncertain about your eligibility to open, we recommend you contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 20 90 20, or visit their website(external link).

Area exemptions

An area exemption is a defined geographic area that has an existing Shop Trading Area Exemption Order, allowing shops within that area to open on restricted trading days such as Easter Sunday.

Each order has certain conditions it must comply with, such as hours of trade and/or the type of goods for trade.

In Christchurch, there is an existing area exemption that allows shops in the Arts Centre to open on Easter Sunday from 10am to 4pm. 

Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy

Under the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Act 2016, local councils were given the power to make policies to allow shops within their area to trade on Easter Sunday. 

There is currently not an Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy in place for Christchurch and the Council is not currently proposing to introduce a policy. This means there will be no change in the rules around Easter Sunday trading in Christchurch, and the rules remain as set in the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990.

If the Christchurch City Council decides it will investigate adopting an Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy in future, the Council must follow a Special Consultative Procedure under the Local Government Act to develop the policy. This process would be expected to take at least six months.

If you have a view on Easter Sunday trading, whether you would like to see the Council introduce a policy that allows further trading on Easter Sunday or not, please write to the Mayor's Office:

Mayor's Office
Christchurch City Council
PO Box 73016
Christchurch 8154