INSIDE: Where to find NZ design stores, handmade gallery shops, & New Zealand crafts & artists co-ops on the North and South Islands.
Looking to plan an itinerary full of visits to New Zealand artist collectives, handmade shops, art galleries, adorable library settings, art cafes, museum shops and design stores?
Perhaps you’d like to see the artist & makers in residence, and find out what crafts is New Zealand known for?
Take a look at our guide to the best places for arty crafty people to visit in New Zealand to shop and be immersed in design, culture & art.
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. Main image: Fantail House
THE INSIDE SCOOP: Places to Visit to see New Zealand Artists & Craftspeople at Work
Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in NZ dollars, unless otherwise stated
What areas in New Zealand have thriving artist communities?
Make a point of visiting the art-thriving towns on the North Island including:
- Waiheke Island and Raglan near Auckland
- the Coromandel
- Napier Art Deco town
- Rotorua, and
Wellington is the cultural capital of New Zealand, and there are plenty of artists thriving in this melting pot.
Visit the South Island west coast to learn about greenstone carving.
Dunedin and Nelson in the South Island draws artistic types, as does Christchurch City and Timaru.
Guide to the Best New Zealand Artist Collectives & Handmade NZ Stores
The BEST handmade shops in New Zealand for makers and artists are listed below.
If you love unique New Zealand souvenirs for friends and family, we highly recommend a visit as you won’t find two things exactly alike.
These shops feature the crafts of the local New Zealand makers, as well as works by emerging New Zealand artists and painters.
These handicraft stores in New Zealand showcase and stock products including, but not limited to:
- weaving, flax baskets, woven works of art
- embroidery and sewing pieces
- New Zealand handmade toys
- knitted clothing, knitted blankets, knitted throws
- merino wool clothing and accessories
- handmade NZ silk scarves, knitted scarves
- natural dyed clothing
- wet felting, needle felting, nuno felting
- jewellery, necklaces, carved greenstone jewellery, bone carvings
- timber crafts using rimu and kauri timber
- NZ walking sticks and hiking sticks.
- hand crafted artisan chocolates (read our guide to NZ chocolate here )
You’ll also find seasonal ranges of New Zealand goods such as womens, children’s and baby clothing from upcoming New Zealand clothing designers.
Enjoy browsing to find YOUR chosen treasures from these New Zealand arts and crafts shops!
UNIQUE HANDMADE GIFTS AND SOUVENIRS FROM NEW ZEALAND
Best North Island Design Stores
Image credit: AvrLab
No.1: The Poi Room, Auckland and Ponsonby
The Poi Room sells contemporary New Zealand art and design.
Find Maori art, mixed media, large landscape paintings and more by NZ artists.
Everything here is made in New Zealand.
If you are looking to buy art in New Zealand, pop in.
Image credit: Wilson Marsh
No.2: Creative & Brave, Auckland
Creative & Brave (Formerly Texan Art Schools) have five magical stores throughout Auckland.
It’s the place to find local, New Zealand designed pieces including:
- wall art and photography
- Kiwiana souvenirs, teatowels, aprons
- art decals and skate decks
- Rimu timber and woodcraft
- handmade jewellery, greenstone necklaces, and jewellery boxes
- Merino clothing, scarves and gloves
- divine homewares – clocks, lamps, cushions, planters
- outdoor goods
- skincare, candles
- purses, bags and totes
Image credit: The Fantail House
No.3: The Fantail House, Auckland
The Fantail House (formerly the Elephant House) craft cooperative – a shop full of New Zealand gifts and souvenirs made in NZ by independent artists and other talented people.
You’ll find hand made soaps, honey, foods, gifts, baby goods, cards cosmetics, and the famous Kiwi balancing puzzle.
This shop has the largest range of the very best of MADE IN NZ gifts and souvenirs.
If you are looking for something truly New Zealand this is where to find it. Ask a local if you can’t find it as it’s hidden down a lane.
Image credit: Kiwa Art
No.4: Kiwa Art Auckland
Kiwa Art stocks something for all budgets with traditional Maori and Pacific art and craft such as:
- wood carving
- pounamu (NZ greenstone)
- bone carvings
- tapa cloth
- tribal jewellery and
- traditional artifacts.
Image credit: Auckland Museum Store
No.5: Auckland Museum Store
Auckland Museum store in Parnell stocks:
- Maori cultural books, art works, and cultural artefacts
- Maori toys including a stuffed Tuatara lizard
- traditional Māori instruments made by leading carvers
- hand made art glass and ceramic works by top local potters.
- New Zealand books
- Manuka honey
- mugs, cups, plates, homewares
- art prints
- carvings from native timbers
- handbags, totes
- scarves and shawls
- merino and possum woollen garments and
- contemporary artworks by local artists.
A beautifully curated selection of New Zealand gifts and souvenirs.
Image credit: ArtsPost
No.6: ArtsPost Galleries and Shop, Hamilton
ArtsPost Galleries and Shop has three galleries, and an art and design store which sells EXCLUSIVE art and design made by New Zealand artists.
Located next to the Waikato Museum in Hamilton’s Victoria Street.
Image credit: Mostafa Sherif
No.7: Paua World Wellington
Paua World near Wellington is home to:
- Paua jewellery
- Paua homewares
- Paua souvenirs and
- Paua craft supplies.
Image credit: Te Papa children’s gift store
No.8: Te Papa Museum Gift Shop
Te Papa is New Zealand’s National Museum.
The Te Papa gift shop can be found on the ground floor of Te Papa.
- Maori wood carving
- applied art, and
- exhibition related merchandise
- New Zealand–made jewellery and crafts
- books by New Zealand’s leading authors
- works from Aotearoa’s (New Zealand) finest artists
There’s a second gift shop on Level 2 for kids!
It even has a slide in store for them to play on.
Image credit: Erik Lee
Best South Island Design Stores
No.1: Arts Centre of Christchurch
The Christchurch Arts Centre is situated in the historic buildings of the original Canterbury University.
The Arts Centre is one of Christchurch’s most significant cultural attractions.
- more than 40 craft studios, galleries and shops
- numerous theatres
- cafes, restaurants and bars
- a weekend craft market, organic produce market and International Food Fair.
The Arts Centre also runs regular evening and lunchtime concerts and a range of vibrant festivals and events throughout the year.
The Arts Centre is home to Te Toi Mana Gallery collections, a co-operative of Maori and Pacific artists, headed by Riki Manuel.
Image credit: Central Art Gallery Queenstown
No.2: Queenstown Art Gallery
Here’s a list of all the Queenstown Art Galleries you can find in and around town.
Queenstown New Zealand is definitely a HOT SPOT for an emerging or established New Zealand artist wanting to showcase their work.
Image credit: Rick Taylor
LOCAL NEW ZEALAND ART AND CRAFT HUBS
The Best New Zealand Artist Studios & Museums on the North Island
Here’s the list.
No.1: Woodturners Kauri Gallery Mangawhare
The Woodturners Kauri Gallery is the place to watch woodturning legend Rick Taylor create kauri bowls and timber treasures from Rimu and Totara timbers too.
Image credit: ぺね蔵
No.2: Matakohe Kauri Museum
Stop by the Kauri museum to learn about the stories of the pioneers of New Zealand who made their living working with the timbers from the Kauri forests.
Visit the shop associated with the Matakohe Kauri Museum in Northland.
No.3: Art Glass Studio Kerikeri
The Art Glass Studio is a working fused and flameworking glass studio located in Kerikeri, The Bay of Islands.
Visit to take a look at the art glass jewellery, necklaces, vases, art pieces, platters and more.
No.4: Mahara Gallery Kapiti Coast
The Mahara Gallery is the district public gallery for the Kāpiti Coast.
It was founded by artists and volunteers as a charitable trust in 1996.
You’ll find a wide range of contemporary art from Kapiti-based and New Zealand-wide artists in a range of different media including:
- ceramics and
Image credit: Sew Love
No.5: Sew Love
Sew Love is a social enterprise created by Sarah Lancaster, providing pop-up fun spaces and resources for people to be creative, learn new skills, and get to know their neighbours
They have a focus on reducing landfill and strengthening communities in a fun positive way, and they’ve been up-cycling textiles and up-skilling communities since 2013.
The last few years, Sew Love has been on the road, doing a Tour of the Town.
(Take a look on Instagram @sewloveteado.)
Right now, they’ve put down roots in Whaingaroa, Raglan and are preparing sustainable sewing workshops for the wider Waikato community.
Image credit: SirrahDelphi Lore
The Best New Zealand Crafts Studios & Art Galleries on the South Island
No.1: Höglund Art Glass studio
The Höglund family invite you to their glass-blowing studio and showroom which is fully stocked with stunning art glass.
- blown perfume bottles
- platters, and
- bowls in beautiful colours.
No.2: Gorge Gallery Hokitita
On the west coast of the South Island, look for the Gorge Gallery timber craft studios, 20 minutes from Hokitika down Zuckermans road on the road to Hokitita Gorge.
You’ll find their original design woodware and timber craft.
Pick up a beautiful handmade souvenir such as wooden spoons, chopping boards, salt and pepper shakers, salad server tongs, and more.
Image credit: 仉正涵
No.3: Wilderness Gallery Hokitita
At Wilderness Gallery, you’ll find 100% New Zealand made art, giftware including:
- stone and
Or you can take home a piece of wall art featuring the local colours of the West Coast captured by renowned wildlife and landscape photographer Juergen Schacke.
MAORI CARVING, WEAVING & ART
The Best Place to see Maori Art in New Zealand?
No.1: Te Puia Arts School
Head to Te Puia in Rotorua, New Zealand’s number one cultural attraction to engage with Maori arts and crafts.
Te Puia is home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) – home of the national schools of carving (including pounamu and bone) and weaving, founded in the mid-60s.
These schools aim to teach traditional Maori craftsmanship to young folk from across New Zealand to ensure these skills live on in Maori communities across the country.
Visiting Te Puia Maori Village is your best bet in New Zealand to see Maori carving and Maori weaving in action.
Have a look at the online gallery of works here.
The only way in to Te Puia is on a tour.
Take a look at these options:
Learn Maori history and culture at Te Puia with a day entry ticket.
Come face to face with the Pohutu Geyser, jumping mud pools, and live kiwi birds.
The day tour is the way to see students at the Arts School practicing Maori carving and Maori weaving.
You can also upgrade this ticket include a 45-minute Maori cultural performance.
From $45 NZ per person
Experience a one-of-a-kind evening feast of Maori storytelling, entertainment, and cuisine at Te Puia.
- Embrace local culture with a traditional Māori welcome ceremony and evening Maori cultural performance
- enjoy authentic food and drinks – a scrumptious Maori banquet prepared in a traditional Maori hangi underground
- marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the geothermal valley under lights.
From $136 NZ adults, and $68 NZ children
Guide to Maori Weaving & Maori Carving
Take a look at our complete guide to Maori weaving and Maori carving.
Find out where you can enjoy learning about Maori culture.
It includes where to engage in hands-on projects and workshops, plus where you can shop for Maori art and crafts.
MORE Art Galleries & Museums in New Zealand
Find the complete list of New Zealand Art Museums here.
Many of these museums and community art galleries have a museum shop or bookstore attached, selling beautiful and elegant handmade gifts and souvenirs from New Zealand.
MORE of the Best Museum Shops in New Zealand on the North Island
Plan your route to include as many of these as you can!
- The Stone Store & Kemp House – Kerikeri Mission Station – (as pictured above), a 19th-century riverside mission house with guided tours, plus a shop selling old-fashioned goods.
- National Army Museum Waiouru
- Waipu Museum
- Wellington Museum
- Torpedo Bay Navy Museum
- New Zealand Rugby Museum
- MOTAT Museum of Transport and Technology
- Classics Museum
- New Zealand Police Museum
- Kiwi North: Museum, Kiwi House and Heritage Park
- Auckland Maritime Museum
MORE of the Best Museum Shops in New Zealand on the South Island
Hands up who wants to visit the Sock Machine Museum?
- World of Deer Museum and Speciality shop
- Canterbury Museum (pictured above)
- Otago museum
- Toitu Otago settlers museum
- Air force Museum of New Zealand
- Steampunk HQ
- World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum
- Hokitika Sock Machine Museum
- Yaldhurt Transportation Museum – classic cars, horse
- South Canterbury Musem
- Warbirds & Wheels
- Bill Richardson Transport World
- National Transport and Toy Museum
- Geology museum
The Best Handmade Craft Markets in New Zealand
You should also check out the arts crafts New Zealand markets.
Up and coming artists, and makers, often start out selling their wares in these eclectic markets, and many artists and makers continue to set up a stall once they have established a name, simply because they enjoy connecting with their customers on the ground.
Looking for MORE fun things to do in New Zealand?
Taking a trip to New Zealand anytime soon?