So you plan to work in New Zealand. But before you launch your new career in this island country, you should first learn about its public holidays.

As an employee, understanding when you don’t have to work can help you manage your time better. Moreover, it’s essential to calculate your annual income. Knowing about these holidays can also help you book your vacations way in advance,

But holidays are even more important if you own a business. Your sales will likely fluctuate during these days. On some, you might consider closing your business if you don’t expect many customers. On other days, staying open through a public holiday can help you earn some extra profit.

These holidays are also an opportunity for better human resources management. Many employees may expect to take these days off. If you allow them to do so, you can boost their morale and create a friendly workplace environment.

In this article, we’re going to tell you about all the New Zealand holidays you need to know as a business owner or an employee.

11 national public holidays in New Zealand that you should know about

New Zealand observes 11 public holidays annually. Apart from the Easter ones, they all fall on a fixed date every year. When they fall on a weekend, most of them move to the following Monday instead.

These are 11 public holidays celebrated in New Zealand:

New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is celebrated internationally. It marks the beginning of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar and falls on the 1st of January. It’s usually accompanied by countdowns and fireworks.

Day after New Year’s Day

New Zealand is one of the few countries that have the 2nd day of the new year off. It falls on the 2nd of January.

Waitangi Day

Waitangi is New Zealand’s national day. It commemorates the day on which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. It falls on the 6th of February yearly.

Good Friday

Good Friday is a Christian holiday. It is a tribute to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice that ensured mankind’s salvation. It falls on the Friday before Easter Monday.

Easter Monday

Easter Monday commemorates the day when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This Christian holiday follows Easter Monday.

Anzac Day

Anzac day is a national day of remembrance in both Australia and New Zealand. It is a tribute to all those who died in wars and conflicts. ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Crops, soldiers who fought in the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I.

Queen’s Birthday

As part of the Commonwealth, New Zealand celebrates the Queen’s Birthday on the 6th of June. But since she’s passed away, it might change to King Charles III’s birthday next year.


Matariki first became a public holiday in 2022. This year, it fell on the 24th of June. Matariki marks the beginning of a new year according to the Māori lunar calendar. For this reason, it will fall on a different date next year.

Labor Day

In New Zealand, Labor Day falls on the fourth Monday of October. This day honors employees and laborers who contributed to the creation of better working conditions.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is an important Christian holiday that falls on the 25th of December.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day follows Christmas Day. It falls on the 26th of December yearly.

When are the provincial public holidays in New Zealand?

Also known as Provincial Anniversary Days, these holidays are specific to each province. Keep in mind that these dates are not fixed by law and change every year.  You can find the list of the provinces and their respective anniversary days in the table below:

Auckland29 January
Taranaki31 March
Hawke’s Bay1 November
Wellington22 January
Marlborough1 November
Nelson1 February
Canterbury (South)16 December
Otago23 March
Southland17 January
Chatham Islands30 November
Westland1 December

This table is very general as most of these days fall on the Monday nearest to the actual day. Some provinces follow even more complicated rules to set these dates.

What happens when a public holiday falls on a weekend in New Zealand?

When a public holiday falls on a weekend, you’re entitled to an extra day off. However, you must meet the following condition – you would otherwise not have worked on the weekend.

Public holidays are days off. People who don’t work on weekends get a substitute holiday because they wouldn’t get the extra day off otherwise. But if you work through the weekend of the holiday, you already get your day off. For this reason, you don’t get an extra one.

Some holidays such as Anzac Day and Waitangi Day automatically move to the next Monday if they fall on a weekend. In this case, you get the day off on this substitute day regardless of the aforementioned condition.

Do you receive holiday pay in New Zealand?

Reading through contract agreements can be incredibly boring, but the sacrifice is worth it. Many people don’t pay attention to the terms of payment until they find out things aren’t quite as they expected. To avoid unnecessary disappointment, you should learn how the terms of pay work.

In New Zealand, you can get a day off with pay as long as you would have worked on that day otherwise. This holds true regardless of how long you’ve worked.

When public holidays happen to fall on a day during your annual leave, you can get a paid day off. However, it has to be a normal working day otherwise, as weekends don’t count. Additional days when you don’t normally work also don’t qualify for this benefit.

Can you work through New Zealand public holidays?

Whether you can work through public holidays in New Zealand depends on the contract. If you agreed to a contract, certain conditions might compel you to work on a public holiday.

But in these cases, you are often eligible to receive a bonus for working on a public holiday. The specifics vary from contract to contract.

Unless your contract compels you to work on a public holiday, you can choose to take the day off even if your employer asks you to work through it.

You’re not eligible for holiday pay if you work on shifts and take a public holiday off. However, you can receive a substitute day off if you choose to work through it.

How many days of annual leave do you get in New Zealand?

New Zealand employees are eligible for 4 weeks’ worth of leave provided they qualify.

These requirements are as follows:

  • You have been employed for at least 12 continuous months
  • You have settled on the date of your annual leave with your employer
  • Your employer is authorized to shift your annual leave if a serious reason to do so comes up

Alternatively, you can choose not to take your annual leave. This often allows you to monetize it instead. If you decide to take this path, you should keep the following in mind:

  • You can add the money to your wage or salary
  • You can request to receive this money in cash
  • You can’t pressure your employer to agree with your decision

If you have been employed for less than a full year, you’re not qualified for annual leave. Still, your employer might give you annual leave in advance. But keep in mind that they are not obliged to do so in this case.

Are you eligible for a leave bonus in New Zealand?

Luckily, New Zealand employees get some paid days off during the year. Apart from public holidays, these include sick leave, annual leave, bereavement leave, family violence leave, and parental leave.

Annual leave comes with a different kind of pay calculation. You usually get paid your regular weekly pay during your vacation. Alternatively, your weekly earnings might be several over the 12 months before your holiday.

Our final thoughts on the New Zealand holidays

If you plan to work in New Zealand, you should learn about its public holidays. Both employees and business owners can benefit from this knowledge. It can help you plan your yearly budget better. Additionally, it will allow you to better manage your time. Business owners are also responsible for giving their employees days off.

New Zealand observes a total of 11 public holidays every year. These holidays are either religious or national. Depending on your contract, you might be eligible for holidays with pay on these 11 special days.

If you liked this article about New Zealand holidays, you should check out this one on how many working days there are in a year.

You should also check out these other articles of ours about public holidays in Japan, South Korean holidays, Singapore public holidays, French holidays, and also public holidays in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US.


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