Diverse and vibrant, New Zealand offers visitors an eclectic programme of both modern and traditional culture.


New Zealand has a lively bar scene, with English style pubs, craft beer halls and cocktail bars. Some open at midday, others from around 5pm. National licensing laws mean most bars close by 3am, and must enforce rules of host responsibility. Some pubs and bars offer live music for free or a small cover charge. Gig and event listings can be found online at Event Finder. There are plenty of nightclubs in the big cities.

The multiplexes of cinema chains such as Hoyts, Reading, Lido, Rialto and Event can be found in larger cities. The website www.flicks.co.nz combines listings from all New Zealand cinemas, and reviews the films that are currently showing. Professional theatre companies operate in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, while Community Theatres that operate in most towns have enthusiastic amateur actors.

Buried Village, Rotorua


New Zealand has a thriving Arts and Culture scene. Many art galleries and museums are free, including Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery, MTG in Hawke’s Bay and Wellington’s Dowse and Te Papa. One of the oldest is the Auckland Museum, founded in 1852. It holds a world-class collection of Maori and Pacific artefacts, along with excellent collections of ethnology and natural history, military and social history, and the decorative arts. Te Papa – the country’s national museum – showcases New Zealand’s history and culturally diverse society through smart and interactive interpretations.

Bill Richardson Transport World, Southland.


The first permanent Māori settlers arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand on huge waka (canoes) in the 13th century, and Māori people of today trace their lineage Whakapapa) to the ancestors who arrived in these canoes.

Throughout the country you can enjoy experiences that have a distinctive Māori component. It might be watching skilled carvers working with pounamu (jade) and wood, browsing a gallery of fine arts made by Māori craftspeople, or joining a Māori guide to search for kiwi in a Northland forest. You might partake in a communal meal cooked in an earth oven (hāngi) followed by a cultural performance in Rotorua, or stay overnight on a marae in a remote country setting. Visit Maori Tourism for Māori tour operators, experiences and further information.

Save $$

  • Go to the movies early in the week, most cinemas offer cheap movie nights, often on a Tuesday.
  • Check out Community Theatres - tickets are reasonably priced, starting from as little as $20.

Header Image: Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre