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New Zealand Crown Speech Announces Matariki Public Holiday

Source: Radio New Zealand News (Wellington)
Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020

In the Crown Speech read on behalf of the new government of New Zealand, by New Zealand's Governor General, the declaration of a new NZ public holiday for Matariki (Maori New Year) was stated as part of the government's plans for the current parliamentary session ("Te Ao Māori plays a large part not just in defining who we are as a nation, but in setting us apart from the rest of the world. As such the Government will make Matariki a public holiday, creating a holiday that distinctly recognises and celebrates Te Ao Māori.").

Calls for a Matariki public holiday were renewed (2009-06-17, 2009-06-23 and 2009-07-25), when, during the recent electoral campaign Prime Minister Ardern promised that, if her Labour Party was re-elected, it would make declare Matariki as a new annual public holiday in New Zealand (2020-09-06).

Those hoping for a quick implementation of that promise, following the Ardern victory were a bit dismayed, last month (2020-10-21), when a spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister of New Zealand announced that the declaration of a new annual Matariki public holiday was not on the short-term government agenda ("At the moment we are focused on forming the next government, but Labour is committed to making Matariki a public holiday from 2022 to give businesses time to prepare and recover from Covid"), going on to list some of the unresolved issues with a possible declaration of a Matariki public holiday ("As per the policy announcement during the campaign, a group of experts would help determine an exact date in that year for the winter holiday to take place, but we expect it will always fall on a Monday or a Friday within Matariki").

This would be the first new public holiday in New Zealand since 1973, when the Labour Government of Prime Minister, Norman Kirk, made Waitangi Day a new annual public holiday in New Zealand, although a 2013 bill Mondayizing the Waitangi Day and Anzac Day public holidays, the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill (2013-04-17, 2013-03-13, 2013-02-19, 2012-09-14, 2012-07-25, 2012-07-17, 2012-02-08, 2011-10-18, 2011-01-28), has effectively added 3 additional Monday public holidays ever since it became effective.

Links and References

Below are links to the news stories referred to in the above "New Zealand Crown Speech Announces Matariki Public Holiday" news story, as well as links to subsequents news stories which refer to the present news story.