Monday, January 29, 2007

Auckland Anniversary Day

Today is Auckland Anniversary Day, a public holiday. There are twelve of these anniversary days* corresponding to nineteenth century provinces, meaning that a particular day may extend far from the modern place named (like Auckland, for example).

Provinces were abolished by Parliament in 1876, making Parliament the supreme government in the country. Parliament further consolidated power in 1950, when the upper house of Parliament (the Legislative Council) was abolished, leaving only the lower house, the House of Representatives. Today, the House is Parliament.

Anniversary days may be remnants of a provincial New Zealand that no longer exists, but for workers they just represent a day off. Five are in summer, the rest in spring or autumn. Not surprisingly, none are in winter.

One of today’s features was Auckland’s 167th annual Auckland Anniversary Regatta, New Zealand’s oldest sporting event. Basically, it’s a whole lot of boats sailing around Auckland Harbour. Sailing’s not my thing, which is a pity, really, with it so readily available (one of Auckland’s nicknames is “the City of Sails”).

For me, like most people, Anniversary Day is just a nice, quiet summer holiday. That’s good enough for me.

*The actual dates of the various anniversary days (in alphabetical order) are: Auckland, 29 January; Canterbury, 16 December; Chatham Islands, 30 November; Hawke's Bay, 1 November; Marlborough, 1 November; Nelson, 1 February; Otago, 23 March; South Canterbury, 16 December; Southland, 17 January; Taranaki, 31 March; Wellington, 22 January; Westland, 1 December. These holidays are usually observed on the closest Monday.

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