Taranaki Anniversary Day commemorates the first settlement, at New Plymouth, in Taranaki Region in 1841. Originally, the area was called New Plymouth Province but was renamed Taranaki Province in 1859.
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The New Zealand Holidays Act passed in 1981 provides that each region of the country will observe its own founding day as a local holiday. Even though the provinces were abolished in 1876, the area they once occupied is now referred to as “the regions”.
Taranaki Anniversary Day is observed on the second Monday in March. The date is not an exact founding date but is meant, in part, to distance the holiday’s position from that of Easter on the holidays calendar.
Taranaki Region, which consists of the southwest corner of North Island, was populated by Maori tribes originally, but they were driven away by other Maori tribes who invaded. By the time Europeans arrived, the area was essentially uninhabited.