Wanaka businesses are open lawfully for the first time after illegally trading on Easter Sunday for over a decade.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council voted in November to allow businesses to trade on Easter Sunday.
Wanaka Paper Plus manager Chris Lumsden said this Easter felt no different with business running as usual.
“We used to trade years and years ago before the law has changed, so it just restored some normality back to the place,” he said.
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On Easter Lumsden’s store would get “hundreds and hundreds” of customers.
“You just go have a look at the supermarket and see how many [people] they get through. And they wouldn’t be allowed to open either so people would have been hungry,” he said.
Despite the law, many Wanaka retailers have, for years, ignored laws preventing trading on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Wanaka’s Yes Photo and Digital’s store owner Steve Worley said he was finally “cautious-free” after trading on Easter Sunday illegally for over 15 years.
“If people want to come down and buy a film for their camera or a memory card they can without breaking the law,” Worley said.
The store had not received any complaints while trading during Easter.
“But we’ve had heaps of people saying thank you for being open and that’s the sign that we are doing the right thing,”
Lumsden said his company had fought the rules and defended themselves in court after being prosecuted for trading at Easter.
The final time they were discharged without conviction.
A neighbouring store, Alice in Wanaka, worker Margo Townsend, said making an Easter Sunday trading legal was “long time coming”.
“It was a ridiculous and an outdated law because we are as much of a tourist town as Queenstown is,” Townsend said.
“Now we are happy,” she added.
In the past, businesses in tourism towns such as Taupo and Queenstown had exemptions to trade on the traditional religious holiday.