Easter show and festivals top list of events while more eateries ditching idea of holiday surcharge

An Easter holiday weekend of showers, shows and shopping beckons for Auckland residents and visitors — with gardeners and diners especially catered for.

But the thousands of people who are likely to visit a city eatery should beware the 10-15 per cent surcharge some operators impose on public holidays.

The shop trading hours regulations will mean closure of big stores and supermarkets on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, though garden centres are allowed to open on the Sunday.

Some plant shops say they are planning to defy the ban on Good Friday trading.


Kings Plant Barn stores intend opening every Easter day as do most of the Palmers Garden Centres.

"Customers want us to open, they want to do gardening, enjoy time shopping and cafes," said Kings operations manager Jamie Gardener.

However, Palmer's Garden Centre Remuera owner Delma Harrison said her business would close on Good Friday.

The Retailers Association has told members Good Friday and Easter Sunday are non-trading days and unless a shop is exempt — such as service stations, pharmacies and dairies — it is an offence to open on a non-trading day, risking a $1,000 fine.

The association's new chief executive, Mark Johnston, said the law was outdated and should be amended to take into account the increasing number of people shopping online on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Last year there were two prosecutions compared with 41 in 2012 and 35 in 2011.

There are signs that the tradition of restaurants imposing a surcharge could also be coming to an end.

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said the practice of imposing a public holiday surcharge was declining and a national survey of 400 members showed 58 per cent opened on public holidays. Of those, 62 per cent did not apply a surcharge.

The main reason for the surcharge was given as the high cost of opening on those days and 71 per cent of operators who closed said it was because trading was not financially viable.

Some of Auckland's well-known eateries are divided on the surcharge. SkyCity's 18 bars and restaurants will have no surcharge on Easter Monday and neither will Pandoro Bakery's retail stores, nor most garden centre cafes.

Among the city's popular cafes, Scott Brown of the HipGroup said a 15 per cent surcharge would be charged tomorrow and on Monday. The group's establishments include Takapuna Beach Cafe & Store and St Heliers Bistro & Cafe.

If shopping and gardening aren't top of your to-do list, then the Coca-Cola Easter Show at Epsom — with its A&P events, animals, rides and spectacles — is the city's traditional crowd-pleaser along with the three-day Waiheke International Jazz Festival on Waiheke Island.

What's on: Easter Highlights

Coca-Cola Easter Show — Today-Monday, 10am-10pm; entertainment, A&P Show, circus, rides, exhibits. ASB Showgrounds, Epsom. Free entry.

Waiheke International Jazz Festival — Tomorrow-Saturday noon-2am, Sunday noon- 10pm. 15 concerts over three days. $25-$39 per concert (plus fees), under 12s free.

Car Crazy at Motat, Western Springs — Tomorrow-Sunday, May 4. 10am-5pm. $8 children, $16 adults, $40 family pass.

Egg Day Out, Auckland Domain — Tomorrow, 11am- 2pm. Free.

Tas Mania, Auckland Zoo, Western Springs — Tomorrow-Sunday, May 4. 9.30am-5.30pm. Tasmanian devils encounter. $10 children, $25 adults.

Auckland War Memorial Museum, Parnell — Today-Tuesday, 10am-5pm. Whittaker's Big Egg Hunt: View 15 eggs in the museum's events centre. Free.

National Jazz Festival, Tauranga — Today-Monday. Downtown Carnival, in The Strand, Saturday, 12pm-6pm. Free.


Today — Rain with heavy falls possible in most of the country

Good Friday — Showers in most areas with northeasterlies

Saturday — Showers in most places with northeasterlies

Sunday — Showers for most places but fine spells in the east

Monday — Showers but clearing from midday in some areas. Fine in the north.