Westland Region of New Zealand celebrates Westland Anniversary Day as a region-level public holiday on the Monday nearest to 1 December. It is not simply on the first Monday of December, as many people often suppose.
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Westland Anniversary Weekend runs across four days, from the Friday before Westland Anniversary Day up to the day itself.
All former provinces of New Zealand are now treated as “regions”, the provincial system having been abolished in 1876. And all regions are entitled to an off-work holiday celebrating their region’s founding. In the case of Westland, the date approximates the splitting off of Westland Province from Canterbury Province on 1 December, 1873.
There will be some festive events for Westland Anniversary Day in the main towns of Greymouth, Hokitika, and elsewhere in the region. But many people simply enjoy a long weekend off work to relax and spend time with family or get out and explore their homeland’s immense natural beauty.
Westland ranks among the most sparsely populated of all regions of New Zealand, being located on the South Island’s rugged, rocky coast. Many come to Westland to go on tours of the glaciers, explore the rain forests, and puzzle over odd natural formations like the famous Oparara Arches.