Otago Anniversary Day is a public holiday each year on the Monday nearest to 23 March. National law provides for the celebration of regional founding day holidays throughout the country, though the details and ways of determining exact dates vary from place to place.
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In the most southerly third of South Island, the whole region was originally Otago Province. Settlers arrived 23 march, 1848, on two ships sent by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland. They founded the town of Otago, and in 1853, Otago Province was created.
All provinces were abolished in New Zealand in 1876, but the whole region still observes Otago Anniversary Day, not just the town of Otago.
The landing date of 23 March forms the basis for the holiday, but for convenience’s sake, Otago Anniversary Day is instead observed on the Monday nearest to 23 March.
There are many local events going on throughout Otago Region on Otago Anniversary Day, but it can vary from year to year. The main hub of action is the city of Dunedin. Many also take this off-work day as an opportunity to get in touch with nature, perhaps, by biking the rail trail through the breath-taking wilderness area near Dunedin.