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Southland Anniversary Day – April 11, 2023

Southland Anniversary Day is a public holiday in New Zealand’s Southland Region and is celebrated every Tuesday after Easter. This year, it takes place on April 11 . The date was chosen to create a five-day weekend while remaining close to the official formation of the Province of Southland on April 1, 1861. The date was chosen since it creates a five-day weekend from the Saturday before Easter through Easter Monday and Tuesday; nevertheless, Southland Anniversary Day has only been honored since 2011. For Southland Anniversary Day, there are fairs, historically and culturally educational events, food stalls, concerts, and a slew of other activities in various towns throughout the area, just as there are in other parts of New Zealand.

History of Southland Anniversary Day

The province of Southland was formed on April 1, 1861, when it split from the province of Otago. Southland Province was disbanded in November 1876 as part of the Abolition of the Provinces Act, although an anniversary day is still recognized for the province as it is for much of New Zealand. The three southern mayors determined in December 2011 that Southland Anniversary Day should be held on Easter Tuesday.

Southland is a land of jagged coasts and undulating plains on New Zealand’s South Island. In Southland, there is a lot to see and do. You can find evidence of New Zealand’s history everywhere, from early Mori heritage to the legendary Burt Munro to the petrified forest on the Catlins Coast. The first Europeans to arrive on the southern coast of the South Island were sealers in the late 1700s. Maori had arrived almost 600 years before the first Europeans, and the abundance of fish and birds drew seafaring Mori to Bluff. If you look at an aerial map of New Zealand, you will see that the North Island is shaped like a fish. Maori consider the far north to represent the fish’s tail and Wellington Harbor to be its mouth.

Settlers in what the Maori called Murihiku, the furthest southern section of the South Island, petitioned the government to be separated from Otago. This began in 1857 and lasted until 1861 when the government agreed. The province of Southland was established, even though the settlers and Maori who lived there preferred the name Murihiku.

Southland Anniversary Day timeline

1820
It’s First Occupied

Maori are the first people to settle in the area, followed by European sealers, whalers, and traders from Australia.

1865
The New Capital of New Zealand

New Zealand's capital is relocated from Auckland to Wellington.

1870
Becoming One

Southland rejoins Otago — before the abolition of all provinces, Southland locals support the relocation since Otago is prospering as a result of the Central Otago Gold Rush.

1981
The Holidays Act

The New Zealand Foundation is commemorated locally following the New Zealand Holidays Act.

Southland Anniversary Day FAQs

Is the Southland anniversary observed as a public holiday?

Southland Anniversary Day is a public holiday in Southland, where the general public has the day off and schools and most companies are closed.

Is the Otago anniversary the same as the Southland anniversary?

While Southland Anniversary Day is always held on Tuesday, Otago Anniversary Day is always on Monday. Both are public holidays in New Zealand, where the general public has the day off and schools and most companies are closed.

Why is the Tuesday after Easter a holiday?

It’s because Easter Tuesday is the third day of the Easter Octave and is a public holiday in various locations. Easter Tuesday is the third day of Eastertide in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the third day of Bright Week in the Byzantine Rite.

Southland Anniversary Day Activities

  1. Visit the Milford Sound

    The most popular tourist destination in New Zealand is Milford Sound, which is located in Fiordland National Park. The sound is a fjord, which is an inlet formed by glaciers.

  2. Go to the Hokonui Moonshine Museum

    Illegal whisky manufacturing in Southland's Hokonui Hills was the focus of police investigations in the last century. This might be a chance to observe a replica of the Gore District's moonshine industry during the prohibition era.

  3. Share the joy of the event on social media

    You can participate in the fun by using the hashtags #Southland and #SouthlandDay on social media. You may also scour the web for hilarious photographs and videos of the occasion.

5 Interesting Facts About Southland

  1. Ambience with an artistic twist

    The city is a terrific site for tourists and those who desire a tranquil and entertaining experience, from stunning buildings, lakes, ports, and nature to national parks.

  2. Wildlife destinations

    New Zealand's stunning environment includes pristine rainforests, beautiful farmlands, and craggy coasts, making it the ultimate nature and wildlife getaway.

  3. Another name

    Each Maori village had its name, but Maori refer to much of what is now known as Southland as Murihiku.

  4. Wheel mania capital

    It appears that Invercargill, Southland's capital, is obsessed with everything with wheels and you can get a taste of it by watching cyclists or riding at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome.

  5. The highest waterfall in New Zealand

    Browne Falls is one of two contenders for the title of the tallest waterfall in New Zealand.

Why We Love Southland Anniversary Day

  1. It’s a celebration of progress

    Southland Anniversary Day highlights the evolution of the city from the time of the first Maori inhabitants to the present. It is fascinating to see how, over time, it has come to be renowned as New Zealand's southernmost region.

  2. It’s a historical commemoration

    This day marks the historical arrival of the city's first inhabitants, thus it has a unique meaning for us. It serves as a reminder of how the first settlers established networks of customary food gathering places, traveling seasonally as needed, to feed permanent and semi-permanent settlements in coastal and inland areas.

  3. Southland is a fantastic city

    Southland is a magnificent place to be, from the stunning terrain to the tall elegant buildings and structures, quiet cafés and restaurants, the highest waterfalls, and resorts. This makes the city worthy of appreciation for the wonderful memories it contributes to people's lives.

Southland Anniversary Day dates

YearDateDay
2022April 19Tuesday
2023April 11Tuesday
2024April 2Tuesday
2025April 22Tuesday
2026April 7Tuesday

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