"Waitangi Day and Other Public Holidays" Top 5 Page for this destination New Zealand Local Custom Tip by Kakapo2

New Zealand Local Customs: 139 reviews and 123 photos

One thing I really like about New Zealand is their handling of holidays. When a public holiday coincides with a weekend they get an extra day off on the Friday before or the Monday after, and so can really enjoy a nice and long weekend :-)

And there are a lot of holidays as NZ is still celebrating some English dates as the Queen's Birthday on the first Monday in June.

Actually there are discussion if NZ should not have a new National Day, because Waitangi Day (6 February) is considered by many people only as the most important day of the year for Maori but not for all Kiwis. And to many it is only a reminder of ongoing controversy about justice and injustice of the Treaty of Waitangi from 1840 in which British sovereignty over NZ was established. Maori and Europeans have always understood it in different ways due to inaccurate translations and (mis)interpretations of certain terms.

Another very important day is ANZAC Day on 25 April. It commemorates the anniversary of the 1915 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.

On ANZAC Day the shops are closed in the morning. The only two days on which shops are closed are Good Friday and Christmas Day (25 Dec).

So you don't have to worry about shopping, and remembering all public holiday dates. In this respect NZ has made a change in the fast lane. When I travelled here the first time in 1991 we were happy when we could get coffee and petrol on a Sunday, now you can shop year-round with those two and half exceptions.

Additionally to the national holidays every region has its anniversary day which are sprinkled over the whole year.

Guy Fawkes Day (5 Nov) is celebrated but is no public holiday, as is the case with Halloween when children walk from house to house and try to get as many sweets as possible.

The main holiday season is from mid December to the end of January during the summer school holidays. This is the time when it can become difficult to find accommodation in tourist centres.

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  • Updated Jul 2, 2007
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