Canterbury Anniversary Day

Celebrated in Canterbury, New Zealand, the original celebration was on December 16th, marking the arrival of the first four ships from England back in 1850. This was moved to the second Friday of November after the first Tuesday, with the majority of the celebrations taking place in Christchurch.

What Is Canterbury Anniversary Day?

It is estimated that there were likely no more than 500 Maori living in Canterbury before European settlers arrived in the 1840s, so this once quiet landscape is now one of New Zealand’s busiest.

A public holiday in the region, most schools and public offices will close to mark Canterbury Anniversary Day. Although this is a throwback to the old provincial system that ended in 1876, the regions are now defined by their boundaries.

To celebrate its founding, each region gets its own holiday to celebrate. This is under the New Zealand Holiday Act of 1981. The day was moved to the Friday of the Cup and Show Week, the South Island’s biggest spring festival. This means it could become a public holiday.

How To Observe Canterbury Anniversary Day

Learn more about the place and its history, or organize a memorable vacation to the region. One of the most popular things to do if you are lucky enough to be in this part of the world is to visit the Blean Woods National Nature Reserve.

It is a place of great discovery where one can enjoy the dramatic landscapes on bicycle or foot. Other notable ways to spend some time in the region include visiting the Christchurch Botanical Gardens and Lake Tekapo, one of the most stunning lakes in all of New Zealand.

Otherwise, be sure to read up on the history of this fascinating part of the world and use the hashtag #CanterburyAnniversaryDay to raise awareness and spread the word about this day.

Where is it celebrated?
New Zealand (Local holiday) - Canterbury*
When is it?
This year (2024)
November 15 Friday
Next year (2025)
November 14 Friday
Last year (2023)
November 17 Friday