Whenever the New Year comes, can you guess what we always check on the calendar? Yes! It is ‘holidays’ of the New Year! Especially, if you are a travel addict, you will probably be willing to plan your travel in advance according to your holidays of the year. Or it is just fun to know! it is still exciting to get to know what days you are going to have some holidays from your work and school. As a new migrant, knowing public holidays of New Zealand is essential. Because public holidays of New Zealand is very different from those of South Korea, where I came from. Going through a year in New Zealand, celebrating holidays and anniversaries with Kiwis, I learned Kiwi culture more. Here are some tips for people in New Zealand who will be looking forward to their holidays or the visitors who want to plan their visit in advance and want to know more about New Zealand culture.
New Year’s Day
- Actual date: 1 January
- 2017: Sunday 1 January or Tuesday 3 January
New Year’s Day of 2017 is 1st of January but the government designated 3rd of January as an alternative holiday. It is not that meaningful because in New Zealand, starting from Christmas season to first week of January, about 2~3 weeks are the biggest holidays. Therefore, most companies, businesses, schools, government offices are closed for that period.
It is quite different from South Korea, where I came from. In Korea, we have only 1 day holiday on Christmas day. Christmas is not that big holiday although Christianity is the most common religion in Korea. Probably it is due to shortage of period that we have been celebrating it. It derived from western countries and it is considered as an event for children and Christians not for everyone.
Anyway, my flat mates, who are all kiwis, went back to their home to meet their family. So I went on a trip on this period to south pacific. It is interesting that Christmas holidays are regarded as a family day for New Zealanders. In Korea, it is more like a couple day that couples go on a date and streets are filled with people partying and shopping, which quite seems like a big commercial day. However, in NZ, Christmas is quiet because it is a family day.
Day after New Year’s Day
- Actual date: 2 January
- 2017: Monday 2 January
The day after New Year’s Day is also holiday. Many NZ work places are off from 17 December to 3th January or 9th January. It is impressive that most people have this long holiday (18 days) nationwide. It might not look that long for Europeans but in Korea, it is very long holiday since 1 week holiday in summer is the mostly the biggest holiday of the year.
※Public holiday notes
NZ has additional rules for the case that the holidays are on weekends.
- If the employee would normally have worked on the Saturday/Sunday, the public holiday is observed on the Saturday/Sunday
- If the employee would not normally have worked on the Saturday/Sunday, the public holiday is observed on the following Monday/Tuesday
– It is a good law that guarantees day off from work for everyone equally 🙂
- Actual date: 6 February
- 2017: Monday 6 February
Waitangi and Anzac day is mondayised when it falls on weekends.
‘Waitangi day’ is when ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ is established, which is similar with ‘Gaecheonjeol’ of South Korea, the day celebrating establishment of the nation. This treaty is a kind of peace agreement between Maori and British, asking for Britain to govern NZ. From this time, NZ became the colony of the Britain. About ‘Treaty of Waitangi’, the more detailed posting will be followed later since it is important in NZ history.
Anyway, on this day, there are many special events commemorating Treaty of Waitangi in all over the New Zealand.
- Actual date: varies
- 2017: Friday 14 April
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. New Zealand is a secular country which doesn’t have state religion. However, due to the migrants from various religious backgrounds, Christian holidays are celebrated quite big (big proportion of European migrants in early days)
- Actual date: varies
- 2017: Monday 17 April
Easter Monday is the next day of Easter Sunday. It is celebrated from many western countries as a holiday. Easter day is commemorating the revival of Jesus Christ after his death. Each year it has different day. Usually it falls on between 22nd March and 25th of April, in seven days after full moon. Since Easter day is always Sunday, the following day is celebrated as a holiday being called ‘Easter Monday’.
- Actual date: 25th April
- 2017: Tuesday 25 April
Anzac Day is 25th April every year, commemorating the army soldiers who sacrificed themselves fighting for the country. The date ’25th April’ came from the date that ANZAC’s landing day on Gallipoli peninsula when they attacked Turkey. Not only about that combat, this day is remembering all the war victims and other soldiers, in addition to appreciating them for the protecting the country. Red poppy flower represent ANZAC day and ANZAC cookie is the biscuit that soldiers ate during the wartime, now made at kiwi home commonly.
- Actual date: 1st Monday in June
- 2017: Monday 5 June
Queen of New Zealand? This queen is the Queen of the U.K. Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ.
New Zealand is a country of a part of commonwealth and many Kiwis have British ancestors. Influenced by these historical reasons, the head of state is Queen Elizabeth of the U.K. In other words, she is not only the queen of the Britain but the queen of common wealth countries. New Zealand is not a republic but a constitutional monarchy. If you see the New Zealand coin, you can find the queen there.
Nowadays the queen is just a symbolic head, but the real leader of this country is the prime minster. However, the queen’s birthday is still celebrated as a national anniversary.
- Actual date: 4th Monday in October
- 2017: Monday 23 October
Labour Day is the day for remember the labourer’s 8 hour demonstration. In New Zealand, it has been started when Samuel Parnell claimed for ‘8 hour labour, 8 hour leisure time, 8 hour rest’ in 1840, in Wellington. The labour day was admitted in 1890 first time and it is still a holiday for most schools, retail shops, and public organisations.
- Actual date: 25 December
- 2017: Monday 25 December
It is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of baby Jesus Christ. It is a well-known and spread worldwide. However, kiwi Christmas is bit special because it is in summer! Unlike most of the countries in northern hemisphere, New Zealand meets Christmas day in the middle of summer. People go to the beach, swim in the ocean and party outside.
Christmas holiday season is the biggest holidays in a year, in New Zealand. I have travelled around New Zealand last Christmas holiday with my Kiwi friends’ family because they were on holiday too. Kiwi Christmas is awesome in terms of festive atmosphere, good weather and nice food!
- Actual date: 26 December
- 2017: Tuesday 26 December
It is the day after Christmas, considered as a biggest shopping day in a year.
The tradition of Boxing Day started from the U.K. In the past, in U.K. family, the servants worked for the host family and went back to their house after Christmas day. Then the host gave them the gift box. This is the origin of Boxing Day. On this day, most of the shops have a huge discount on the product, which makes it a perfect chance for shopping! Not only offline, there are massive shopping chance online too! Malls reduce their price for clearance so it is the best time for shopping and buy some gifts for your family and friends for new years!
2017 Holidays and Anniversaries of New Zealand