Subject: RE: Gift Ideas from New Zealand Needed
Hi Carrie,

While the New Zealanders were keen to push products made of possum fur (they have turned it into an industry as possums are a destructive pest over there) I found them upsetting as in my backyard possums are treasures. (Each to his own - perhaps I should give a second thought to the nasty cane toad tourist gimmicks over here...)

I did however pick up some beautiful wood products. (Be sure to check that they will be allowed back through your customs.)

I bought some (light-weight, flat) wooden Christmas tree decorations (a star, a manger) in Queenstown, along with an ornamental vase made from a recycled fence post (gorgeous rough outside, smooth coloured banded inside). The tree stump caused some concern at customs on my return but was passed.

You can also get fun pencils and pens made of chunky wood.

And beautiful hair clips for the girls - some with mother- of-pearl, some with another material whose name escapes me but an amazing shimmery green.

Tikis and Maori carvings for pendants are also fun and inexpensive.

You can buy lovely sheepskin products there (although again I didn't - and didn't eat lamb the whole two weeks I was there - not after seeing all those long flickering lambs' tails...). While I didn't check them all out, I would guess they have a similar variety that we do here in Oz - gorgeous baby rugs, flat sheepskin teddy bears for baby to lie on, probably Ugg boots.

Christchurch had a wonderful artists' market on (a Sunday morning I think?) along the circle tram route - I picked up some beautiful recycled paper products - a copy of the Desiderata among them. Maybe a nice poem or prayer? They also had lovely hand made jewellery - necklaces, bracelets. And cute hand made teddy bears.

In Dunedin in and around the main square there were lovely gift shops - clothes, ornaments, ...

I know you may not be going to these places, but I mention them as an indicator of the lovely gifts to be found.

I did look for a carving of a kiwi without luck - perhaps if I had managed to travel further south to Stewart Island... Similarly for a statuette of the dolphins I saw in Doubtful Sound, or the penguins at Dunedin, or the whales sighted off Kaikoura, or the dolphins I swam with there... Maybe next trip!

Can't wait to read your trip report of Antarctica!!!!!! Megan Brisbane, Australia