Labour Day in New Zealand

When is Labour Day in New Zealand?

Labour Day in New Zealand is on October 23, 2023. It falls on Monday.

How many days until Labour Day in New Zealand?

There are 323 Days left until Labour Day in New Zealand.

Is Labour Day a public holiday in New Zealand?

Labour Day or also known as Eight-Hour Demonstration Day is a public holiday held on the fourth Monday of October each year in New Zealand. It is celebrated to commemorate the labor unions’ and workers’ struggles to achieve the 8-hour working day. Many other countries also observed Labour Day, though the dates may vary.

Origin of Labour Day

Like other countries, workers in New Zealand have fought their own battles to achieve the 8-hour schedule for each working day. The 8-hour workday in NZ is credited to a carpenter named Samuel Duncan Parnell, whose name is also often associated with Labour Day in the country.

Samuel Parnell

This struggle started in Wellington, NZ way back year 1840 when Samuel Duncan Parnell, a carpenter, refused to work for more than eight hours a day. He argued that within the twenty-four hours given per day, eight of that should be for work, the other eight is for sleep, and the remaining hours are for recreation. He won this fight against George Hunter, the employer who commissioned him to build a store for him. Parnell then encouraged other tradesmen to demand for the same working hours. His actions influenced other workers to seek for adjustment on their own working schedules. Today, Parnell is the man credited for the establishment of the eight-hour workday in New Zealand.

When did Labour Day become a holiday in New Zealand?

The battle for an 8-hour working day in New Zealand which Parnell had started was successful. Although the first Labour Day celebration was held in Wellington on October 28, 1890, it was only on year 1899 that the day was officially designated as a public holiday. It was observed as an official holiday in the country the following year, in 1900. Originally, the holiday is set to occur every second Wednesday in October, however, it was 'Mondayised' in 1910, and was moved to the fourth Monday of October, where it remained unchanged ever since.


Labour Day Traditions in New Zealand

As a public holiday, majority are given a day off on this day. The country’s schools, universities, government offices, and many businesses close, though there are still few other business organizations which remain operational.

Labour Day Parades and Protest Marches

Cities from across New Zealand would often organize events like parades and protest marches to celebrate the day. These events are participated mostly by union members and employees from different industries. For the workers, labor unions, and other labor-related movements, Labor Day is the perfect day to speak up and address issues related to the workers’ rights.

Popular Activities

In New Zealand, Labor Day is celebrated during the spring month. Since the holiday is also observed on Monday, it creates a long weekend for the Kiwis (colloquial term for New Zealanders). Therefore, many would take advantage of this break by going on a short trip or vacation. Some spend it at home relaxing with the company of their loved ones, while many others prefer to have outdoor gatherings along with their families and friends. The parks are often popular destinations for most families. Other people also enjoy this day over tasty barbecues. Nowadays, most of the Kiwis see this day as either a family day or just another holiday where they can have a time off work.

Dates of Observance for Labour Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2023 October 23 Monday Labour Day
2024 October 28 Monday Labour Day
2025 October 27 Monday Labour Day
2026 October 26 Monday Labour Day
2027 October 25 Monday Labour Day
2028 October 23 Monday Labour Day
Upcoming New Zealand Holidays
Holiday Date
Christmas Day December 25, 2022
Boxing Day December 26, 2022
New Year's Day January 01, 2023