One of the things that I latched onto when I first started looking for work in New Zealand was vacation time. NZ is 8th of OECD countries for paid vacation and holidays – the highest outside of continental Europe with 30 days off per year. There are 10 public holidays in NZ.
Many companies effectively close up shop during Christmas and many corporations encourage their employees or require non-essential employees to take time off – especially the week of Christmas itself. Since Christmas is in the summer here, this is pretty cool as it means that the entire country takes a summer vacation pretty much at the same time.
Public Holidays in NZ include:
- New Year’s Day
- The day after New Year’s Day
- Waitangi Day – marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- ANZAC Day — commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and also honors returned servicemen and women.
- Queen’s Birthday – celebrates the Queen’s birthday, although this date is not actually her birthday (she was born 21 April). It is fascinating to note that the Queen’s Birthday is a public holiday in New Zealand but not in the UK!
- Labor Day — commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day. In 1840, New Zealand workers were among the first in the world to claim this right.
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day — a holiday celebrated on the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would traditionally receive gifts known as a “Christmas box” from their masters, employers or customers.
Most shops are required to be closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, and the morning of Anzac Day. This requirement is really interesting if you consider that 42% of Kiwis are irreligious with just about 48% who identify as Christian.
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