Story: Public holidays

Christmas holiday activities

Long before they became statutory public holidays, days such as Christmas were widely observed as customary holidays – shops closed and most people took the day off. Christmas Day, coming in the middle of summer in New Zealand, provided opportunities for outdoor activities such as those shown in this 1878 engraving, entitled 'How we spent our Christmas'.

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Hocken Library, University of Otago
Reference: S11-534a

Permission of the Hocken Library Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Further information may be obtained from the Library through its website.

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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