Story: Public holidays

Good Friday trading

Good Friday trading

For Christians, the week before Easter – especially Good Friday – is a period of special religious significance. Good Friday was one of the first public holidays to be established in New Zealand, and by law all but a few shops are supposed to be closed. In an increasingly secular society, however, many people are less concerned with the religious aspect of the day and more focused on the holiday. Both traditional and new attitudes are highlighted in this 2008 cartoon about pressure to open shops on Good Friday: the vicar shakes hands approvingly with protesting shop workers, unaware that they want the day off for recreation rather than religious observance.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: DCDL-0005915
Cartoon by Bob Darroch

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Public holidays - Public holidays legislation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 August 2022)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 16 Sep 2016