Nelson Anniversary Day

Nelson Anniversary Day is a holiday observed on the Monday closest to the 1st of February. That means it can be observed anywhere from January 29th through February 4th. This day commemorates the arrival of the first New Zealand Company ship that led to the establishment of the settlement of Nelson.

Aside from being a day off for the general population and a day when schools and many businesses are closed, it is also a day for people to learn more about this historic settlement and the beginnings of New Zealand as it is known today.

The History of Nelson Anniversary Day

On September 17th, 1841, the Fifeshire set sail from London, carrying about 170 people. During the voyage, 17 people died when a fever broke out on the ship, and five babies were born.

The passengers of this ship landed on February 1st, 1842, and established the town of Nelson. The Fifeshire attempted to depart for China after it had dropped off its passengers, but it never made it out of the harbor and ended up wrecking on a reef.

In 1981, the Provincial Anniversary Holidays Act was passed, giving each province or locality the ability to create founding or landing days. Nelson Anniversary Day was promptly created to commemorate the landing of the Fifeshire on the 1st day of February 1842.

Some Interesting Facts About Nelson

We didn’t want to write an article on Nelson Anniversary Day without taking the time to talk about the city that inspired the observance day in the first place. That’s why we did a little bit of research and came up with the following facts. We think that people reading this will find the following facts quite interesting and informative. At least, that’s our hope.

  • Nelson is on the eastern shores of Tasman Bay.
  • Nelson city is bordered to the east by the Marlborough District Council and to the west by the Tasman District.
  • Nelson has a population of over 51,000 people.
  • Nelson was named in honor of Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Observing Nelson Anniversary Day

This day is observed in various ways. Around this date, students learn more about the Fifeshire and the founding of Nelson. For the majority of people, it’s a three-day weekend to hang out with family and relax at home.

Some people venture out to attend one of the educational or entertaining events of the day as well. People can spread the word about this day using the hashtag #NelsonAnniversaryDay on social media.

Where is it celebrated?
New Zealand (Local holiday) - CAN*, NSN, TAS, WTC*
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 29 Monday
Next year (2025)
February 3 Monday
Last year (2023)
January 30 Monday