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Do you tip in New Zealand? Your Guide from a Local (2024)

Have you been asking yourself “Do you tip in New Zealand?” I’ve got you covered!

I have lived and travelled around New Zealand most of my life so it’s safe to say I’m pretty familiar with the tipping culture in New Zealand.

As a local, I can tell you that tipping in New Zealand is not as common practice as it is in other parts of the world. There is no obligation to tip, and whether you do or not is up to you.

I understand that travellers to New Zealand may often find themselves in a dilemma, unsure of whether they should adhere to the tipping culture or not. This can be quite confusing, especially for those who come from countries where tipping is customary.

As we dive into further detail, I hope this information helps give you a clear idea of whether or not you should tip in New Zealand.

Do you tip in New Zealand?

EFTPOS machine taking payment in a cafe, do you tip in New Zealand?

Generally speaking, tipping isn’t really a thing in New Zealand. If you do decide to leave a tip at a restaurant, it’s totally up to you and how you feel about it.

When it comes to tipping tour guides, it’s more common in some cases, depending on the type of tour and the quality of service you receive. But hey, no pressure! In New Zealand, it’s still not really the norm, so you’re good either way.

Why? Well, tipping is usually linked with formality and set expectations, which doesn’t really match the Kiwi preference for laid-back and hassle-free transactions.

Whether you’re at a café, a restaurant, or any other service establishment, the emphasis is on making customers feel comfortable and at ease. The lack of a strong tipping culture creates an environment where customers can enjoy their experience without the added pressure of calculating tips.

It’s all about making sure customers can relax and have a great time! In New Zealand, we pride ourselves on our great customer service and this will shine through without the need for tips.

Why tipping in New Zealand is not expected:

The reason why New Zealand doesn’t have a widespread tipping culture is because of a mix of cultural, social, and economic factors. Kiwi society really values treating everyone with fairness and respect.

This mindset also applies to service transactions, where we strongly believe that providing good service is not just a job requirement, but an integral part of the overall experience.

In New Zealand, service industry workers like waitstaff usually receive fair wages, and tipping isn’t a big part of their income. Our minimum wage in New Zealand is pretty decent. It’s different from some countries where tipping is seen as a necessary addition to lower base wages.

So, in New Zealand, there isn’t as much pressure for customers to tip for regular services. Plus, the Kiwi culture is all about being friendly and laid-back. Transactions are simple, and people value genuine interactions without the need for formal tipping.

Basically, you might be surprised at first by the absence of a formal tipping culture in New Zealand. But if you understand the cultural values and the economic landscape, it makes sense why tipping isn’t really expected here.

What is the tipping etiquette in New Zealand?

The way we Kiwis handle tipping is actually pretty cool. It’s all about the friendly and welcoming nature of the people here. Since there’s no pressure to tip, this adds to the authenticity and overall enjoyment of the experience. It’s all about connecting with others and creating a laid-back atmosphere.

In short, New Zealanders value genuine connections and are always down for a chat.

As we dive into different sectors in New Zealand where tipping isn’t really a thing, you’ll see how this cultural attitude plays out in real-life interactions.

Tipping in Restaurants:

Breakfast spread in Auckland Cafe

In New Zealand, the dining experience is characterised by a lack of expectation for tipping in restaurants. Unlike in some other countries where tipping is customary, Kiwis typically view the transaction in a restaurant as a straightforward exchange.

When settling the bill, customers are not expected to add a gratuity, as service charges are generally not applied separately. Sometimes EFTPOS machines will give you an option to add a tip before you pay and this is a good way to subtly show your appreciation if you do decide you want to tip.

Plus, you won’t find service charges in New Zealand restaurants. The total cost of your meal usually includes everything, so no need to worry about extra calculations including service charges. It’s all about making things easy for you!

Tipping in Cafes:

Just like the restaurant culture, you won’t find tipping as a common practice in casual dining establishments and cafes in New Zealand. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite at a local café or enjoying a meal in a laid-back setting, there’s usually no expectation to leave a tip.

Transactions in these places are meant to be simple and hassle-free, allowing customers to pay for their orders without worrying about extra gratuities.

Tipping in Bars:

When it comes to bars and pubs in New Zealand, the culture remains consistent — tipping is generally not expected. Most transactions at bars and pubs involve straightforward purchases, and customers typically pay for their drinks without leaving additional tips.

The informality of these settings means that customers can enjoy their drinks in a social atmosphere without the need for formal gestures of appreciation.

While tipping is not the norm in bars and pubs, there might be situations where customers choose to tip, especially if they receive exceptional service or are in a larger group. However, this is more of an exception rather than a rule, and locals and staff alike often appreciate a friendly exchange over the formality of tipping.

Transport Services and Taxis:

auckland cbd

In the realm of transportation services, including taxis, tipping is not a widespread practice in New Zealand.

Whether you’re taking a taxi from the airport or using other transport services, the fare is typically the final amount you pay. Drivers are not reliant on tips as a significant source of income, and the transaction is designed to be straightforward.

Hotels and Accommodation:

When it comes to accommodation, New Zealand maintains its no-tipping norm. Hotels, including services such as housekeeping, do not typically expect tips.

The total cost of the stay usually covers all services provided, and guests are not required to leave additional gratuities for housekeeping or other staff.

Guided Tours and Recreational Activities:

In the realm of guided tours and other recreational activities, the expectation for tipping is generally low in New Zealand. Tour guides and individuals providing these services are often compensated through their wages, and there is no expectation for customers to leave additional tips.

New Zealanders appreciate quality service, and the provision of such service is considered part of the job. Visitors can join guided tours or recreational activities without any pressure to tip, giving them the freedom to fully immerse themselves in the experience without worrying about extra expenses.

FAQs

Do I need cash in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, the need for cash has diminished in recent years, and electronic payment methods are widely accepted.

While major credit and debit cards are commonly used for transactions, particularly in urban areas and popular tourist destinations, it’s advisable to carry a small amount of cash for places that may not accept cards, such as local markets.

ATMs are readily available across the country, providing convenient access to cash if necessary. Additionally, contactless payment methods, such as mobile payments or digital wallets, are becoming increasingly popular.

It’s always a good idea to inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with card transactions and to check for any specific requirements or preferences in the regions you plan to visit.

Overall, while cash may still be useful in certain situations, electronic payment methods offer a convenient and widely accepted means of conducting transactions in New Zealand.

Why don’t New Zealanders tip?

In New Zealand, prices are designed to be inclusive of service charges, ensuring that patrons don’t have to go through the hassle of calculating and adding tips separately.

This reflects the Kiwi culture, which is renowned for its informality and friendliness. The locals prioritise genuine interactions over formalised gestures of appreciation, making the act of tipping, often associated with formality, less common in day-to-day transactions.

We Kiwis like to keep it simple! So, when you visit New Zealand, you can enjoy a relaxed and hassle-free dining experience without the pressure of leaving a tip.

Conclusion: Do you tip in New Zealand?

To wrap it up, when it comes to tipping in New Zealand, you’ll notice a unique cultural vibe that’s all about being informal, friendly, and keeping things simple. We don’t really go all-out with tipping because fair wages, inclusive prices, and egalitarian values are already in play.

Service charges are typically included in prices, reinforcing the straightforward nature of transactions. The Kiwi approach is all about delivering excellent service as a standard expectation, so leaving extra tips isn’t really the norm.

As you embark on your adventure in this incredible country, knowing the ins and outs of tipping etiquette enhances your experience and lets you fully embrace the warm Kiwi culture and hospitality! 😊🇳🇿

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