South Canterbury Anniversary Day

South Canterbury Day is observed annually on the fourth Monday in September in South Canterbury, New Zealand. This day commemorates Dominion Day — the day on September 26, 1907, when the colony was granted Dominion status within the British Empire.

The first Dominion Day was a public holiday and a large celebration across New Zealand, but the holiday is currently only observed in South Canterbury. Although the holiday no longer holds the significance it once did, it does give most people a three-day weekend that they can use for enjoying nature or spending time with their friends and family members.

The History of South Canterbury Day

As we stated above, this holiday stems from Dominion Day, which was made into a holiday after the colony received Dominion status within the British Empire. Although Dominion status has never been officially revoked, it ended in 1945 when the country became a member of the United Nations.

In 1981, the Holidays Act gave each province a provincial anniversary date on which they could celebrate their landing or founding days. South Canterbury Day is the official holiday for this province.

Facts About the Canterbury Region of New Zealand

We can’t end our discussion about South Canterbury Day without taking a little bit of time to talk about the Canterbury Region in New Zealand, can we? We didn’t think so, and that’s why we’ve collected some facts on the subject and listed them below for everyone to enjoy.

  • South Canterbury is the area of the South Island of New Zealand that’s bordered by the Waitaki River to the south and the Rangitata River to the north.
  • The exact boundaries of South Canterbury have never been formalized.
  • In 1848, Edward Gibbon Wakefield and John Robert Godley founded the Canterbury Association to establish an Anglican colony on the South Island.
  • The Canterbury Province was formed after the passage of the New Zealand Constitution Act of 1852.
  • The province was abolished when the Abolition of the Provinces Act was introduced in November of 1876.
  • As of 2021, the Canterbury Region of New Zealand has a population of 649,800 people.

Observing South Canterbury Day

This day is observed by taking a three-day weekend to enjoy nature, spend time with loved ones, or simply take it as a day to relax. Although many official celebrations take place in Christchurch, other celebrations also occur across the province. People can spread the word about this day using the hashtag #SouthCanterburyDay on social media.

Where is it celebrated?
New Zealand (Local holiday) - Canterbury*
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 23 Monday
Next year (2025)
September 22 Monday
Last year (2023)
September 25 Monday