An American traveller shared her delight after visiting a shopping centre in Aotearoa and has urged fellow US travellers to do the same.
Claire Simmons shared her “random travel suggestion” with New Zealand Travel Tips (NZTT), a private Facebook group with more than 38,600 members.
"If you live in a place where the indoor mall is dead (ex: most mid size American cities with Amazon delivery and big box stores), check out a mall in NZ for a nostalgic trip," she wrote.
While many American malls were often deserted, especially during the weekdays, the traveller said malls in New Zealand were delightfully busy.
“They are still thriving,” she said, adding this was possibly due to the higher cost of shipping and home delivery. “Even on a weekday lots of people are there.”
The American was also surprised at the activities and facilities available at shopping centres in New Zealand.
"All the ones we've wandered through are clean, have a variety of shops, some have playgrounds and almost all have food courts," she said.
Fellow travellers were quick to agree with her perspective.
"So true," commented one group member. "American shopping malls are a dying breed."
Another member, who had recently returned from a trip to the US, said she saw the same thing.
"In one mall all the shops were there but despite being nice and fully stocked the mall was so dated and we were literally almost the only ones there," she said.
Two other malls were similarly quiet. While one was designed like a small town and “stunning”, it was empty aside from the Apple Store.
However, one New Zealander challenged Simmons' suggestion about why this was the case.
"I don't think our online shopping shipping rates are too badly priced and we get much better service than Americans do," she said. The reason for busier malls, she believed, was more a matter of culture.
Since shops closed much earlier and weekends tended to be reserved for sports and family activities, people are used to using the mall during the week.
Another local agreed, adding that Kiwis also tended to prefer going out to shop instead of ordering.
"I think it is because we have a culture of going out, trying things on," they said. "If I can get it in-store, why wouldn't I just go to the store rather than have to worry about returns."
Another said, if the American liked malls, they should visit Westfield in Newmarket, which had an epic Lego store.