Story: Public holidays

Waitangi Day 1973

On Waitangi Day 1973 Prime Minister Norman Kirk announced that from 1974, 6 February would be a public holiday, and would be called New Zealand Day. His intention was that all New Zealanders, regardless of ethnicity, would be able to regard it as their national day. The name reverted to Waitangi Day in 1976, in recognition that it commemorated the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi by the British Crown and Māori chiefs in 1840 – but the day remained a public holiday and New Zealand's official national day.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Public holidays - New Zealand’s special national holidays', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 November 2021)

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