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Nelson Anniversary Day

Nelson Anniversary Day 2019 and 2020

Each “region” In New Zealand is allowed an off-work holiday each year to commemorate its founding, meaning the arrival of Europeans and the erecting of that region’s earliest provincial settlements.

Year Date Day Holiday
2019 4 Feb Mon Nelson Anniversary Day
2020 3 Feb Mon Nelson Anniversary Day

The city of Nelson and surrounding areas are referred to as the Region of Nelson, based on the boundaries of the former Province of Nelson. The provinces system was abolished in New Zealand in 1876, but the boundaries of the old provinces are now used as “regional boundaries”.

For Nelson Region, the Monday closest to 1 February is commemorated each year as Nelson Anniversary Day. This celebrates the establishment of the settlement of Nelson on 1 February 1842, by settlers from the New Zealand Company ship Fifeshire.

The settlers had left London four and a half months earlier, and the journey had been long and arduous. More than a dozen died, but several were born during the journey as well. Interestingly, the Fifeshire was soon destroyed when it hit a reef on the way to China after dropping off the settlers. The trip to settle Nelson was its first and last journey.

For Nelson Anniversary Day, many will just take a much welcome day off work and relax at home. But many get out on the town and attend numerous festive events, some of them very educational and others pure entertainment.