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School Holidays in New Zealand

New Zealand Holiday / July 28, 2021

New Zealand has eleven public holidays per year nationally, plus an "anniversary" day public holiday which is observed on different days depending on the area.

National public holidays are:

  • New Year's Day - 1 January
  • New Year's Holiday - 2 January
  • Waitangi Day - 6 February
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • ANZAC Day - 25 April
  • Queen's Birthday - first Monday in June
  • Labour Day - fourth Monday in October
  • Christmas Day - 25 December
  • Boxing Day - 26 December

Anniversary days are based on the 19th century provinces, so borders do not necesarily comply with present day regions.

On Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and before 1:00pm on ANZAC Day, all shops must close, except the most essential shops (such as corner stores, petrol stations and pharmacies), cafes and restaurants. On all other public holidays, stores may open if they wish, although many of them will observe limited trading hours. Note that cafes and restaurants may have a 10 to 15 percent surcharge on public holidays to cover the extra cost of staff (by law, staff working on public holidays must be paid 1.5 times their normal rate, plus be given a paid day's holiday for use at another time).

Being a southern hemisphere country, where summer occurs in December/January/February, New Zealand is fortunate enough to have the school year align with the calendar year, starting in January/February and finishing in November/December. The school year is divided into four terms, and breaks between the terms during the school year are fixed at two weeks.

The school holidays are as follows:

  • Easter or April Holidays - depends on the positioning of Easter. Most commonly the holidays start on the Thursday immediately before Good Friday and finish on the Monday two weeks after Easter Monday, but if Easter is in March or late in April, then the holidays start in mid-April and end at the beginning of May.
  • Winter holidays - starts at the end of June/beginning of July, and finishes in mid-July.
  • Spring holidays - starts late September and finishes in early October
  • Summer holidays - Senior secondary school students (those 15+) generally start their holidays once they have completed all of their end-of-year exams in late November. The remaining secondary school students (12-15) start their holidays in early December and primary school students (5-12) in mid-December. Students start gradually returning to school from the end of January, with all students back in school by 7 February.
New Zealand Public Holidays