Tipping in New Zealand: Foolproof Guide on Tipping Ettiquette

New Zealand is a wonderful destination, filled with natural beauty and wonders but also boasting a fun, relaxed vibe.

Many people head to New Zealand every year to enjoy the adventure and excitement as well as to enjoy some time out.

If you are planning a visit here, you will find plenty to fill up your itinerary.

Of course, you should always prepare yourself if you are a first-time visitor, and this includes learning about the tipping etiquette in New Zealand.

In this guide, you can learn more about tipping in New Zealand, so you will never be stuck on what to do.

Do You Tip in New Zealand?

Tipping is not expected or mandatory, but tips are always appreciated in the service and hospitality industries.

One thing to keep in mind about service and hospitality jobs in New Zealand is that the wages are very reasonable.

This means that, unlike some other countries, employees in this sector are not reliant on tips to take home a decent wage.

As such, you do not need to tip in New Zealand, and tipping is not a big part of the culture here.

Having said that, you can still leave a tip if you wish to – most will appreciate the gesture.

Tipping Customs to Keep in Mind

Remember, that tipping is not part of the tradition in New Zealand.

It is worth remembering that tipping is not part of the custom in New Zealand, which is why it is not expected.

When it comes to tipping, here are a few points you should keep in mind:

  • Tipping is not expected when you are in New Zealand
  • Workers in service and hospitality industries do not rely on tip
  • Your tip will generally be accepted and seen as a kind gesture

Useful Phrases to Know

You may want to brush up on some local slang when visiting New Zealand.

The widely spoken language in New Zealand is, of course, English. The other official language here is Maori.

When you visit New Zealand, you will not really need to learn any other language if you speak English. However, it is worth knowing a few slang phrases to help you get by. This includes:

  • Be well: Kia ora
  • Hurry up: Rattle ya dags
  • Bathroom/toilet: Dunny
  • Pint of beer: Handle
  • Thanks: Ta 

Tipping Restaurants in New Zealand

You can tip restaurants in New Zealand if you wish, but it is not something that is expected.

When it comes to tipping restaurants in New Zealand, you are in no way expected to tip and the employees in restaurants do not rely on tips to get by.

So tipping is totally unnecessary, but if you do leave a tip, employees will see it as a nice gesture.

Sometimes, if you are dining as part of a large group, a service charge may be included on the bill.

When it comes to tipping in New Zealand restaurants, keep the following points in mind: 

  • You do not have to leave any tip at restaurants in New Zealand
  • If you are impressed with the service, you can leave a 10% tip and it will be seen as a very nice gesture
  • Sometimes, a service charge may be added to the bill if you are dining as a group 

Tipping Tour Guides in New Zealand

Many visitors tip tour guides, but sometimes the tips may not be accepted.

tipping in new zealand for tour guides

With such a huge variety of places to explore, you should make sure you take a guided tour as part of a group or a private tour.

When you go on a tour, you might be wondering whether you should tip the guide.

Well, tipping is not part of the culture in New Zealand as mentioned previously. So, here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Tour guides in New Zealand tend to earn a decent salary and do not rely on tips
  • You can try to tip your tour guide, but it may be politely turned down due to the culture
  • If you want to tip, aim for around 10% of the tour price on a private tour or a few dollars per person on a group tour 

Tipping in Hotels or Guesthouses in New Zealand

Tipping at hotels is not expected in New Zealand, but there are a few exceptions where you might want to tip.

When you stay at a hotel in New Zealand, no tips are necessary and tips are not expected.

However, there may be some instances where you wish to give a small tip, which is perfectly acceptable. When it comes to tipping at hotels you can:· 

  • Tip a couple of dollars per bag to the porter who takes up your luggage
  • Tips a concierge if they have been especially helpful 

Tipping Taxis, Shuttles and Coaches in New Zealand

Drivers do not expect tips in New Zealand, but you can give token payments.

As with other services providers, drivers in New Zealand do not expect any tips so you do not have to tip anything on shuttles and taxis.

However, there are ways in which you can give a token payment if you wish to. This includes: 

  • You can pay a few dollars tip to a shuttle driver if they help you with luggage
  • You can round up the fare for taxi drivers or tell them to keep the change

Tipping in Bars and Pubs in New Zealand

You will often find tips jars in bars and pubs in New Zealand.

While tipping is not the culture in New Zealand, many bars and pubs have become used to visitors leaving a tip.

Rather than leaving it to a particular person, however, you are better off leaving any tips in provided receptacles.

So, some key points to keep in mind are: 

  • You do not have to tip bartenders or other staff in bars and pubs
  • Do not leave a tip for a specific member of staff
  • Use tip jars and leave a few coins if you really want to tip

Tipping Barbers, Spas and Hair Salons in New Zealand

There is no expectation of a tip when visiting hair salons and spas in New Zealand

Following on in the same vein as other service providers, salons and hairdressers in New Zealand do not expect a tip.

If you have superb service and you really want to, you can leave a small tip. Keep these points in mind: 

  • Hair salons do not expect a tip, but some have tip jars for those who really want to leave something
  • No tip is expected in these venues
  • Salon and spa staff get a decent salary, so there is no reliance on tips