Chatham Islands Anniversary Day

Observed in the Chatham Island Territory of New Zealand on the Monday closest to November 30th is a public holiday known as Chatham Islands Anniversary Day. As the name of this holiday suggests, it celebrates the date in 1791 when Europeans first landed and claimed the area.

In New Zealand, every locality has the option of observing a Provincial Anniversary Day that celebrates the date when the province was founded or when the first colonists landed in the province. This is guaranteed under the Holidays Act of 1981, and as such, this day is a public holiday for the general population and a day when schools, provincial offices, and many businesses are closed.

The History of Chatham Islands Anniversary Day

Located about 500 miles to the east of the South Island of New Zealand and consisting of about 10 islands, the Chatham Islands Territory is an area that was originally home to the Moriori people.

These people landed on the islands around 1500 CE and lived peacefully on the islands. However, the Chatham Islands Anniversary doesn’t celebrate the arrival of these indigenous peoples but instead observes the date when the first colonists arrived on the islands.

The first European to land on the islands was Captain William R. Broughton. He arrived on the HMS Chatham of the Vancouver Expedition on November 29th, 1791. He claimed the islands in the name of Great Britain and named them after his ship. Although the captain’s arrival on the island was on November 29th, it’s often celebrated on the Monday closest to November 30th.

Observing Chatham Islands Anniversary Day

This holiday is observed in several different ways across the islands. Although there are exhibitions and other events that highlight the importance of this day, some people merely use the holiday to enjoy an extra day off—a day that can be used to spend time with friends and family members or to engage in some other activity that they enjoy.

Where is it celebrated?
New Zealand (Local holiday) - Chatham Islands
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 2 Monday
Next year (2025)
December 1 Monday
Last year (2023)
November 27 Monday