Provincial Anniversaries

New Zealand Regional Holidays in New Zealand

Milford Sound

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.



The Northern and Central Canterbury regions take Christchurch Show Day as their provincial holiday. The Canterbury Show Day celebration is the last day of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Show and takes place on the second Friday after the first Tuesday in November.

Chatham Islands

The provincial holiday is celebrated on the Monday nearest to 30 November.

Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay Anniversary Day is held on the Friday before Labour Day. Hawke's Bay province was created when it was split from Wellington on 1 November 1958. It became a provincial district in 1876. Hawke's Bay was named by Captain Cook in honour of Edward Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty.


Monday nearest to 1 February. Commemorates the arrival of the first New Zealand Company boat, the Fifeshire on 1 February, 1842.


Otago Anniversary Day is 23 March, but is celebrated on the closest Monday. On 23 March 1848 the John Wickliffe, the first of two sailing ships chartered by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland to bring settlers to Otago landed at Koputai (Port Chalmers).

South Canterbury

The provincial day in South Canterbury is Dominion Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Monday in September. Dominion Day commemorates 26 September 1907, when New Zealand was granted Dominion status within the British Empire.


Southland Province was founded on 1 April 1861 when it split from Otago province. In December 2011 it was decided that Southland Anniversary Day should be celebrated on Easter Tuesday.


Though Westland is no longer a province, Westland District still commemorates a provincial anniversary on the Monday nearest to 1 December to mark 1 December 1873, when Westland split from Canterbury Province.

Provincial Days in 2015

Date Name Province
January 19th Wellington Anniversary Day Wellington Province
January 26th Auckland Anniversary Day Auckland
February 2nd Nelson Anniversary Day Nelson
March 9th Taranaki Anniversary Day Taranaki
March 23rd Otago Anniversary Day Otago
April 7th Southland Anniversary Day Southland
September 28th Dominion Day South Canterbury
October 23rd Hawkes Bay Anniversary Day Hawke's Bay
November 2nd Marlborough Anniversary Day Marlborough
November 13th Christchurch Show Day Canterbury
November 30th Westland Anniversary Day Westland
November 30th Chatham Islands Anniversary Day Chatham Islands

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