Originally, Auckland Anniversary Day was held on 29 January, but today to create a three-day weekend, it is held on the Monday nearest to that date.
|2019||28 Jan||Mon||Auckland Anniversary Day|
|2020||27 Jan||Mon||Auckland Anniversary Day|
Interestingly, the date 29 January itself is not the actual day on which Auckland was founded but the day on which explorer and first governor of New Zealand William Hobson first sighted North Island at the Bay of Islands.
In 1840, Hobson arrived in New Zealand and quickly signed a treaty with the Maori, the Treaty of Waitangi, that led to New Zealand becoming a new British colony. It was on 18 September of 1840 that Hobson founded Auckland and made it the capital city of New Zealand. And that very year, a small regatta was held at Auckland in Waitemata Harbour, involving only three races.
In 1850, the status of 29 January as Auckland Anniversary Day and the tradition of the Auckland Regatta became official. In these early days, Maori canoes, local fishing boats, and whaling boats took part, adding much excitement. Yachts, sailboats, and even seaplane races were added over the years.
Today, the regatta is the largest one-day event of its kind in the world and is the central attraction of Auckland Anniversary Day.