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New Year's Day in New Zealand

New Zealand is one of the first countries to observe the New Year, on January 1. New Year’s Day and the Day after the New Year are public holidays throughout the country.

Is New Year's Day a Public Holiday?

New Year's Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Happy New Year message written on the sand on a beach
A special New Year's message at a beach. The New Year falls in the summer in New Zealand.
©iStockphoto.com/PeskyMonkey

What Do People Do?

Due to its geographical position close to the International Date Line, New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to welcome the New Year. Many people use New Year’s Day to relax after celebrating New Year’s Eve and the countdown to the New Year. Some people visit family and friends, while others attend events such as New Year’s Day horse racing carnivals and summer day fairs. Cricket is a sporting event that many New Zealanders watch during the New Year’s Day holiday.

Public Life

New Year’s Day is a statutory public holiday in New Zealand, so schools, government offices, and many private businesses are closed. New Year’s Day is also in the middle of the school summer holidays in New Zealand.

Background

When settlers started coming to New Zealand from Britain and other parts of Europe during the mid-1800s, they had to adjust to observing Christmas and New Year’s Day in the middle of summer, rather than the winters they were used to. Many of them brought over their own traditions, including how they celebrate New Year’s Day. For example, Scottish immigrants would celebrate New Year’s Day the same way they did back in Scotland. The men would wear kilts and play the bagpipe during the New Year’s festivities.

About New Year's Day in other countries

Read more about New Year's Day.

New Year's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010FriJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2011SatJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2012SunJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2013TueJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2014WedJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2015ThuJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2016FriJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2017SunJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2018MonJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2019TueJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 
2020WedJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday 

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