Northland Anniversary Day, aka Auckland Anniversary Day, is celebrated annually on the Monday closest to January 29 and this year it will be held on January 30. This public holiday happens in the northern half of the North Island of New Zealand and is celebrated throughout the historic province of Auckland. It commemorates the arrival of William Hobson, a British Royal Navy officer, who later became the first Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.
History of Northland Anniversary Day
William Hobson, the first Governor of New Zealand was sent to New Zealand for the first time in 1837 by Governor Bourke. As a result of Hobson’s impressive report on his return, he was appointed as Consul to New Zealand in December 1838. After two months of contemplating, he accepted on February 14, 1839. Sent out by Lord Normanby, he was given detailed instructions to establish a British colony in New Zealand.
As the Lieutenant Governor, he set sail to Sydney first to meet with Governor Gipps, the Governor of New Zealand. On January 29, 1840, he arrived safely in the Bay of Islands but didn’t land until January 30, when he read his proclamation of appointment and scheduled an appointment for February 5 while the Treaty of Waitangi was still being drafted. On the appointed day, Hobson met with Maori chiefs at Waitangi. The 40 chiefs purportedly signed the Treaty transferring sovereignty to the British Crown in return for guarantees of respect for their lands and possessions. Three months later, Hobson declared British sovereignty over New Zealand, choosing Auckland as the capital. In May 1841, New Zealand was constituted as a Crown Colony, ceasing to be a protectorate of New South Wales. Thus, Hobson was promoted to Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
Northland Anniversary Day was established in 1842. On January 26, Governor Hobson issued a notice in the New Zealand Government Gazette stating — “Saturday, the 29th instant, being the second anniversary of the Colony, His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to direct that day to be held as a general holiday on which occasion the public offices will be closed.” However, the date was later changed to the Monday nearest to January 29.
Northland Anniversary Day timeline
William Hobson arrives in New Zealand as Lieutenant Governor to Governor Gipps.
New Zealand becomes a Crown Colony rather than a protectorate of New South Wales.
Hobson is now the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of New Zealand.
Northland Anniversary Day is proclaimed by Governor Hobson.
Northland Anniversary Day FAQs
When did New Zealand gain independence?
New Zealand has no fixed date of independence because of its evolving constitutional status.
Who is the current prime minister of New Zealand?
What is New Zealand’s currency?
The New Zealand dollar.
How to Observe Northland Anniversary Day
Join in the anniversary celebrations
William Hobson's arrival in New Zealand was the beginning of a new era for the country. Celebrate with the people of New Zealand and wish all of them a happy Northland Anniversary Day.
Visit this beautiful county
New Zealand is a beautiful country that has so much to offer. You might want to go on your next vacation there!
Conduct some research
Learn all you can about this beautiful country in general. You can then share your knowledge with others to make more people aware of Northland Anniversary Day.
5 Important Facts About William Hobson
The birth of a future governor
Hobson was born on September 26, 1792, in Waterford, Ireland.
The husband and father
Hobson married Eliza Elliott, with whom he had five children.
The naval career
Hobson joined the Royal Navy on August 25, 1803, and reached the rank of Commander in 1824.
The ascension to power
Hobson attained governorship and became Commander-in-Chief of New Zealand in 1841.
The end of an era
He died on September 10, 1842, at the age of 49.
Why Northland Anniversary Day is Important
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed
As a result of Hobson's efforts, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed with the Maori chiefs. This important document is central to the history of New Zealand.
The call of duty
Hobson was appointed as a Consul while serving in the Navy. It’s true that he initially hesitated, hoping for a promotion in the Navy. Yet, the important thing is that he answered the call of duty, abandoning his naval career.
New Zealand is peaceful
Despite the many internal wars that shook New Zealand violently in the 19th century, this country is now a peaceful place. This urges us to never give up on achieving peace no matter the circumstances.
Northland Anniversary Day dates