Retailers taking advantage of a long-weekend influx of visitors to the Bay of Plenty say their decision to stay open through Easter holidays was worth it.

Tauranga is among many regions throughout New Zealand where most retailers are not allowed to be open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as part of the Easter Trading Act.

However, Tauranga's National Jazz Festival, sporting events and other Easter events prompted many to make their own rules.

Mount Maunganui Paper Plus was among those businesses open on Sunday which did not meet the unusual exceptions listed by the trading laws.


Manager Jane Debenham said she had no regrets bucking the rules by being open on Sunday.

"Yes, we did open. We are a beach resort. People expect us to be open. It's a sign of the times but in saying that, I'd never open on a Good Friday," Ms Debenham said.

"I just feel Good Friday is very much a day that should be recognised and we only close Good Friday and Christmas Day. I think I just believe there's no necessity to be open on those days."

Ms Debenham and other shops which opened in the restricted areas risked a prosecution and $1000 fine.

Mount Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming said there were many shops in the downtown Mount Maunganui area which decided to stay open, despite the potential penalty.

Ms Fleming said it was up to each business to open or close but those that were open were "very busy".

"That has been great. On Easter Sunday there were a number of stores that had made the decision to stay closed but many that decided to open. I think people know that the decision hasn't been made here in the area with regard to Easter trading. They accept that there will be some open and some that might be closed. Everyone's really happy."

Rotorua, Queenstown and Kawerau are among the local councils allowing Easter Trading.

Ms Fleming said the organisation provided no guidance or advice on whether businesses should or shouldn't open during Easter and it was "totally their decision".

Mount Mainstreet provided family fun for Easter with a bunny and a lucky Easter egg dip, offering $150 vouchers to lucky children.

"I think it created a nice atmosphere. The kids loved it."

Ms Fleming said Cyclone Cook did not appear to stop anyone visiting the region.

"There were a lot of people from out of town at the Mount on Saturday and Sunday. I'd say it was a bit busier but I don't know the complete figures yet."

Downtown Tauranga manager Sally Cooke said she could not name which shops chose to stay open or close but there had been "so many people about enjoying the jazz festival".

"Hopefully there has been a good flow on effect to our hospitality and retailers in the city."

Bayfair manager Steve Ellingford said the start of the long weekend was "very strong" on Thursday morning but this died down as some retailers closed early amid Cyclone Cook warnings from Civil Defence. The centre was closed on both public holidays but was exceptionally busy on Saturday, Mr Ellingford said.

"Saturday was a beautiful day and we were slightly up on the same time last year."

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 was amended in 2016 to enable territorial authorities to decide whether retailers in their districts can open on Easter Sunday.

In March, Tauranga City Council put off its decision whether to allow local businesses to legally trade on Easter Sunday until next year. It had run out of time to hold public consultations on the issue.

Mayor Greg Brownless said at the time he didn't know why the Government "didn't just decide and the whole country have just one set of rules".

In New Zealand there are 31/2 days when almost all shops must be closed: Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Anzac Day until 1pm.

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