Labour Day here in New Zealand is held on the 4th Monday in October. This is an annual holiday and for many marks the first long weekend of the spring / summer season. A warmup to the holidays some may say…
The origins of Labour Day in New Zealand can be traced back to the 8-hour working day movement which is attributed to Samuel Parnell, a Wellington carpenter who wouldn’t work more than 8 hours and encouraged his colleagues to do the same.
On the 28th October 1890 the 50th anniversary of the 8 hour working day was celebrated with a parade. Government employees and officials were given the day off to attend the parade and many local businesses closed for much of the day.
The first official Labour Day was celebrated 10 years later on the 2nd Wednesday in October 1900. At this point Labour Day was celebrated on different dates in each region. Seamen were accused of taking multiple holidays in various ports. So in 1910 the Government established Labour Day on the 4th October nationwide.
Many countries celebrate Labour Day on the 1st May which could be attributed to the spring weather in the Northern hemisphere. Back in New Zealand schools, governments offices and many companies are closed on Labour Day.
The original idea was for workers to take the day off and relax so we hope you do the same! You could bake some biscuits, play some games with the grandkids or fly a kite! You may have also earned a piece of cake?!
No matter what you’re planning, we wish you a relaxing Labour Day.