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The far northern part of New Zealand's North Island grows ancient kauri gum trees, many of them millennia old, and some dating back to the great Ice Age. Kauri forests are still plentiful, and its beautiful wood is used to make unique collectibles. Ancient kauri bowls, tools, clocks, tikis and other decorative or practical wood crafts can be found throughout Auckland, including in several stores on the main strip of Queen Street in the city center. Because of its lasting beauty, ancient kauri is a popular wedding or anniversary gift, and it's a strong wood that makes beautiful pieces.
The typical touristy tokens to remind you of your trip to New Zealand are an All Blacks rugby jersey and something carved out the beautiful kauri wood. A green stone necklace is also a popular piece of NZ to take home – however, gifting this to yourself is bad luck according to Maori tradition because it would “anger the spirit of the jade”. You’ll have no trouble finding these Kiwiana keepsakes in any of the souvenir shops around the CBD. However, my favourite store for Kiwi cultural pieces is a short bus ride out of the city. Texan Art School, on the hip Ponsonby Road strip, is full of quirky products, often one-offs, crafted by young, local designers.
Personally, I love finding a piece of jewelry designed by a local talent when I’m travelling. In NZ, Karen Walker makes some awesome pieces in silver and gold. I’m also a fan of Stolen Girlfriends Club. Visit Walker & Hall on Queen Street and they should be able to help you find something you love.