Labour Day in New Zealand in 2024

Labour Day in New Zealand in 2024
  How long until Labour Day?
Labour Day
  Dates of Labour Day in New Zealand
2025 New Zealand Mon, Oct 27 National Holiday
2024 New Zealand Mon, Oct 28 National Holiday
2023 New Zealand Mon, Oct 23 National Holiday
2022 New Zealand Mon, Oct 24 National Holiday
2021 New Zealand Mon, Oct 25 National Holiday

This holiday is most commonly associated as a commemoration of the achievements of the labor movement

When is Labour Day in New Zealand?

Labour Day is a public holiday in New Zealand observed on the fourth Monday in October.

It was once called 'Eight Hour Demonstration Day' and is a day to recognise and honour the efforts of the trade unions to achieve an eight hour working day for all workers in New Zealand.

History of Labour Day in New Zealand

Like the similar holiday in Australia, the origin of this holiday goes back to the eight-hour working day movement that started in the mid nineteenth century.

Unusually, this holiday can actually be traced to a specific person. In the newly founded Wellington colony, a carpenter called Samuel Parnell refused to work for more than eight hours a day.

In 1840, Parnell reportedly told a prospective employer: "There are twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation…"

He encouraged other tradesmen in the colony to also restrict their work to only eight hours a day and by October 1840, a local workers' meeting passed a resolution supporting the idea.

On October 28, 1890, the 50th anniversary of the eight-hour day was marked with a parade. The Government supported parades in the main centres by union members and supporters, giving public servants the day off to attend. Many businesses closed for the event. This led to an annual celebration in late October as either Labour Day or Eight-Hour Demonstration Day.

The New Zealand government legislated that the day be a public holiday from 1900, after Parliament passed the Labour Day Act 1899, but they didn't specify when it should be celebrated. This led to the holiday being on different days in different provinces.

This date difference even led to complaints that sailors were having extra holidays by timing their visits to ports in different provinces to coincide with local Labour Day holidays - an ironic but inventive misuse of the idea of Labour day.

The situation was clarified in 1910 when the date was ‘Mondayised’ by the Public Holidays Act of 1910, when it was moved to the fourth Monday in October.

Did you know?

New Zealand was the first country in the world to adopt the eight hour working day, initially restricted to tradespeople and labourers

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