Holidays in New Zealand

Holidays in New Zealand

Holidays in New Zealand can refer to publicly observed holidays or to a holiday period.

Public holidays

Public holidays have particular implications for employment and shop trading hours in New Zealand.

For employment purposes, under current legislation, workers who work on a public holiday must be given equivalent time off on another day, and be paid time-and-a-half. Their holidays cannot be exchanged for cash.

While shops may trade on most public holidays, there are special trading restrictions on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and before 1pm on ANZAC Day. In recent years there have been deliberate violations of these trading restrictions on Good Friday by garden centres. (Previously, garden centres were exempt from these restrictions.)

In tourist towns, such as Queenstown in the South Island, some exemptions are granted by the district council for selected shops to open on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The reason being is to keep up the level of service to the tourists, as many would not know the shops will be closed on those public holidays. However, liquor sale is restricted in some of those public holidays (not usually a problem because shops are usually closed on those public holidays).

There are two types of public holidays:
*Statutory Holidays, which are legislated by law.
*Provincial Anniversary Days, which commemorate the founding of the province or an early settlement event.

tatutory holidays

These holidays are legislated by several Acts of Parliament, particularly the Holidays Act 2003.

Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day are always commemorated on the exact date, as they commemorate specific historical events. Apart from Good Friday the other New Zealand Statutory Holidays have been Mondayised.

For example: If 1 January or 25 December is a Saturday or Sunday, then the following Monday is the statutory holiday for New Year's Day or Christmas Day. If 2 January or 26 December is a Saturday, then the Day after New Year's Day or Boxing Day is celebrated on the next Monday. If either of these days occurs on a Sunday, then the holiday occurs on the following Tuesday, as the Monday will have been used for New Year or Christmas.

This situation has been complicated by the most recent incarnation of the Holidays Act. The holiday is Mondayised only if the employee would not usually work on weekends. For example an office worker who works only Monday to Friday would get to the Statutory holidays on the Monday (or Tuesday for days that fell on Sundays). But an employee who usually worked Saturdays would not get the Monday holiday as they did not work on the Saturday.

Provincial anniversary days

Additionally, the Holidays Act 1981 specifies each locality observing a Provincial Anniversary Day to celebrate the founding days or landing days of the first colonists of the various colonial provinces. However the exact dates are not legislated for. The regions covered are set by provincial district (as they stood when abolished in 1876), plus Southland, the Chatham Islands, South Canterbury and Northland. The actual observance days can vary even within each province and is due to local custom, convenience or the proximity of seasonal events or other holidays. This may differ from the official observance day, and may be several weeks from the official day.

Provincial Anniversary Days
Provincial District"includes"Actual DayObservance Day
SouthlandInvercargill, Bluff, Milford Sound, FiordlandJanuary 17Varies – determined by local custom and tourist season.
Wellington ProvinceWellington, Manawatu, WanganuiJanuary 22Monday nearest to the actual day
Auckland ProvinceWaikato, King Country, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne/East CoastJanuary 29Monday nearest to the actual day (Auckland Anniversary Day)
NorthlandWhangareiJanuary 29Monday nearest to the actual day
NelsonNelson, Tasman, Buller and parts of North CanterburyFebruary 1Monday nearest to the actual day
Otago ProvinceDunedinMarch 23Monday nearest to the actual day
Taranaki (New Plymouth)New PlymouthMarch 31Second Monday in March – to avoid Easter
South CanterburySeptember 25Fourth Monday in September – Dominion Day
Hawke's BayNapier, HastingsNovember 1Friday before Labour Day
MarlboroughPictonNovember 1First Monday after Labour Day
Chatham IslandsNovember 30Monday nearest to the actual day
WestlandWestport, GreymouthDecember 1Monday nearest to the actual day (Greymouth)
Varies (outside Greymouth)
CanterburyChristchurch, Ashburton, Banks PeninsulaNovember 16Christchurch Show Day (Northern Canterbury)
Christchurch Show Day (Central Canterbury)
Second Friday after the first Tuesday in November (Christchurch City) – To coincide with the Agricultural and Pastoral Show.

Annual leave and non-working days

In addition to the above holidays all New Zealand workers must be given four weeks annual leave, often taken in the summer Christmas – New Year period. (As New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, the summer months are from December to February, and the best summer weather often occurs during January and February.) In many industries this coincides with a Christmas – New Year shutdown for maintenance. With only three working days between Christmas and New Year, many workers take this time off, as they can have a ten-day summer break for only three days' leave. Many retail outlets also hold sales at this time to stimulate business while others close down due to low demand for services. The days from 25 December to 15 January are not considered to be working days for official government purposes, although the public counters of most government departments do open weekdays during this period, though often only a limited service may be available.

From 1 April 2007, the minimum annual leave is four weeks.

chool holidays

New Zealand schools have a 4-term year, of about ten weeks each and usually with a two week holiday between terms. Although standard term dates are set by the Ministry of Education each year, schools can vary these to account for local holidays and school closures due to weather. The first term commences in late January or early February. Occasionally, Easter holidays and/or ANZAC day may fall within these holidays. The holiday between terms two and three is generally known as the midwinter break and occurs in July, while that between terms 3 and 4 occurs in late September, early October. Term 4 ends in mid December, generally a week or two before Christmas, though for many senior students this term ends after their final NCEA examination in early December.

Proposals for new holidays

From time to time, there have been proposals to make Matariki an official holiday in New Zealand. In 2006, Māori Language Commissioner Haami Piripi made such a proposal [] . Also, following the death of Sir Edmund Hillary, the Green Party proposed a public holiday in his honour [] .

Proposals for abolition of holidays

Some holidays are seen as celebrating events or ideals which are seen by a minority of people as no longer relevantFact|date=February 2007, and suggestions Fact|date=February 2007 have been made that they be abolished.

From the 1950s to the 1970s it was frequently suggested that the Provincial Anniversary holidays be abolished, as the provinces had not existed for many decades. Before Waitangi Day was made a national public holiday it was sometimes suggested that a Waitangi Day holiday should replace the anniversary days, and the Waitangi Day Act 1960 made provision for this. Waitangi Day was eventually made an additional holiday and the provincial holidays lived on, primarily because most regions had long established events on those weekends.

Currently the Queen's Birthday holiday is sometimes mentioned as contender for abolitionFact|date=February 2007. A few New Zealanders see the day as irrelevant to modern New Zealand Fact|date=February 2007, while others feel that if it is to be celebrated, it should be on the Queen's actual birthdayFact|date=February 2007. Labour Day is also sometimes described as irrelevantFact|date=February 2007 since most New Zealanders with full time jobs work more than eight hours a day.

The religious nature of Christmas and Easter is usually not seen as a reason to abolish the holidays, as many New Zealanders identify with the Christian faith. However it is cited as a reason to abolish the restrictions on shop hours, especially where Easter is concerned.

A minority of people advocate the abolition of the Waitangi Day holiday, but it is regularly suggested that a less controversial day, such as Anzac Day or Dominion Day, be made New Zealand's national day.

External links

* [ Government Holidays Act website]
* [ 2006 to 2009 State School Terms and Holidays - by NZ Ministry of Education] New Zealand topics

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