Holidays (New Zealand)

Where can I find information about public, local and school holidays in New Zealand?

Senior Primary

(Years 5-8)

Colour photo of a clear sunny day at Kaiteriteri beach. Two yellow kayaks sit side by side on the shore.

Image: NZ310315 Kaiteriteri 01 by Oren Rozen on Wikimedia Commons.

Entry last updated: 12/01/23

Introduction

In New Zealand we have a number of different holidays throughout the year as well as school holidays. Some holidays are for particular regions (provincial holidays or regional anniversary days), but most are for the whole country (public holidays).

Public and provincial holidays

New Zealand celebrates many public holidays each year. Some holidays are recognised in New Zealand as well as overseas like Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter. Some are unique to New Zealand like Waitangi Day and Matariki. New Zealand also has public holidays that are celebrated in certain areas. These are regional anniversaries, such as Auckland Anniversary Day.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa.

  • Search for 'public holidays' in the search box.
  • Select the link called Public holidays.
  • The first page is a summary and the next pages have details about holiday laws, community holidays, and special national holidays.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, like 'public holidays'.

NZHistory

NZHistory also has some really good information about New Zealand.

  • You may find it easier to search for specific public holidays such as 'Waitangi Day' and Anzac Day to find information on them.
  • Or, you could also go to the tab called Events and find Holidays and events.

Tips: If we go down the bottom of the page on these sites we can see that both Te Ara and NZHistory belong to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage so the information can be trusted.

Christchurch City Libraries

The Homework resources page from Christchurch City Libraries also has some good information for New Zealand public holidays and other festivals.

  • Go to the Learning tab at the top of the page.
  • Select Homework resources for kids.
  • Look down to the Subject guides and choose Holidays.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

School holidays

In New Zealand, schools have a long break from late December to the end of January as well as several smaller holidays throughout the year. The dates are chosen by the Ministry of Education.

Ministry of Education

The Ministry of Education site lists the dates for school holidays for the next few years.

  • Go to Quick links and select School term dates.
  • You will find school terms and holidays dates for the current year and the following year.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Holiday activities

Visiting beaches, sports and games, reading, relaxing and spending time with friends and family are all activities people enjoy doing when they are on holiday.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara has an excellent article on how New Zealanders spend their holidays.

  • Enter 'holiday activities' in the search box.
  • Select the link called Holidays. You will find lots of information on holiday destinations, overseas holidays, and holiday activities.

Tips: Check out the external links and sources page to find other websites that have information about holidays.

NZHistory

NZHistory also has a number of articles on how New Zealanders have spent their holidays in the past.

  • Try using keywords like 'holidays', 'summer holidays', and 'holiday destinations'.
  • Read Christmas in New Zealand to find out when it was first celebrated and its history.

Books

There are some great books and stories about holidays in New Zealand. Check out your local public or school library to see what they have.

Here are some recommended titles:

SCIS no: 1845891

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