South Canterbury Anniversary Day is a public holiday on the fourth Monday of September. The original provinces of New Zealand that existed from 1853 till 1876 have been long abolished. But nevertheless, the areas of these original provinces are treated as “regions” that get a special founding day holiday as an annual off-work day.
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Canterbury Province covered the whole central third of South Island, until its west coast was split off as Westland Province in 1867, following the West Coast Gold Rush. The southern portion of Canterbury Province also attempted a split in the 1860’s, but this was rejected.
Today, the southern part of Canterbury Region has its own anniversary day, observed on the fourth Monday of September. This coincides with Dominion Day, the day in 1907 when the Dominion of New Zealand was officially formed. That date was 26 September, but South Canterbury Anniversary Day only approximates the exact date. It is put on a Monday to create a three-day South Canterbury Anniversary Weekend.
The northern and central parts of Canterbury Region celebrate Christchurch Show Day in mid-December, but the southern part has its own holiday.
The largest city of South Canterbury is Timaru, and that is the centre of activity on Anniversary Day. But many also get out into the countryside to view the rustic beauty of the landscape, hike, bike, mountain bike, or golf.