The Queen’s Birthday public holiday is on the first Monday in June and is a full public holiday with schools, banks, government offices and most businesses closed.
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New Zealand is one of the six largest of sixteen Commonwealth Realms within the Commonwealth of Nations, which was formerly known as the British Commonwealth.
The purpose of the Commonwealth of Nations is to unify nations and gather them together under a framework of common values and these can be read in the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles. The head of the Commonwealth is Queen Elizabeth II, monarch of England. When she became queen in 1952, she took on the role of Head of the Commonwealth. She is the monarch of countries that include United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Jamaica.
The Queen’s birthday is actually on 21 April (1926) but it is celebrated on various dates across the commonwealth to fit with each country’s spread of public holidays.
One of the official activities of this public holiday is the release of the Queen’s Birthday Honours’ List where the Queen makes appointments to the Order of New Zealand, which includes Orders, Orders of Merit, Dames, Knights, Companions, Officers and more. These appointments are nearly always based on a person’s services to the community or the nation.
The other special event of this public holiday is that it heralds the official opening of the ski season in New Zealand, something our country is famous for. The ski fields are popular because of their spectacular terrains, amazing scenery, varied snow trails and admired resorts. Fittingly, Queenstown, situated on Lake Wakatipu at the foot of The Remarkables mountains, is one of the best-known ski destinations and, on this public holiday, brings many ski groups and families out for their winter activities.