Canterbury Anniversary Day is celebrated every second Friday after the first Tuesday in November as a national holiday in New Zealand. This year, it takes place on November 17. The day was first observed on December 16, 1850, to honor the arrival of the first of four ships from England. To coincide with Christchurch Show Day, the date was shifted to the second Friday after the first Tuesday in November. The Canterbury Region’s establishment is commemorated on this day, and activities are held all around the region; however, most of the celebrations take place in Christchurch.
History of Canterbury Anniversary Day
The Canterbury Region of New Zealand has a long history of human activity dating back to the Mori people’s settlement in the 10th Century. The people known as the Moa-hunters appear to have been the first inhabitants of Canterbury. Tribes began trading with Europeans, who brought muskets and other tools with them, in the early 19th Century. The presence of Europeans and other nationalities in Canterbury increased from the 1830s onward. The Canterbury Association was created in 1848 by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, a British nobleman, and John Robert Godley, an Anglo-Irish aristocracy, to establish an Anglican colony on the South Island.
A preliminary party led by Godley arrived at Port Cooper in April 1850 and set up a port, houses, and shops in preparation for the main body of settlers. The first wave of 750 settlers came to Lyttelton in a fleet of four ships, in December 1850. The Canterbury Province was established in 1853 after New Zealand’s Constitution Act of 1852 was passed.
The Abolition of the Provinces Act, which took effect on November 1, 1876, disbanded the Canterbury Province along with the rest of New Zealand’s provinces. In the north, where it incorporates some districts from the ancient Nelson Province, the new Canterbury Region has slightly different boundaries. In 1989, during countrywide local government reforms, the modern-day Canterbury region was founded. After the Nelson-Marlborough Regional Council was abolished in 1992, the Kaikoura District became part of the area.
Canterbury Anniversary Day timeline
Edward Wakefield and John Robbery Godley create the Canterbury Association in 1848.
Following the passage of the New Zealand Constitutional Act of 1852, the Canterbury Province is established in 1853.
The Abolition of the Provinces Act leads to the disbandment of the Canterbury province.
The countrywide local government reforms give rise to modern-day Canterbury.
Canterbury Anniversary Day FAQs
What makes Canterbury so well-known?
Since the killing of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, Canterbury has been a prominent European pilgrimage destination for nearly 800 years.
Canterbury is located in what province?
The province in the south.
What is the meaning of the name Canterbury?
Canterbury means ‘the town with fortifications.’
How to Observe Canterbury Anniversary Day
Take a trip to New Zealand
Canterbury combines coastal and mountain experiences to create a destination with something for everyone. You'll find multiple worlds in one region in Canterbury. In a bar, restaurant, café, or fast food establishment sample some of the best food and wines New Zealand has to offer.
Prepare a New Zealand dish
If you cannot make time to go to Canterbury, why not bring it to you? Prepare a dish native to Canterbury in your home kitchen. Look up recipes online and create a feast for the special occasion.
Share via your socials
You don't have to be in Canterbury to join in the celebration. You can share photos of Canterbury's coastal mountains and upload them on social media. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #CanterburyAnniversaryDay.
5 Interesting Facts About Cantebury
The world's first train season ticket
In 1834, the Canterbury and Whitstable railway produced the world's first train season ticket.
Its population is over 500,000
Canterbury is a New Zealand region with a population of 560,700 people.
It’s home to Europe’s oldest school
The King's School at Canterbury, founded in 597 A.D., is Europe's oldest operating school.
The tolling bell of Cantebury
The ringing of the 17th Century bell marks the beginning and end of each day at Canterbury Cathedral.
The story behind the Canterbury trot
The Canterbury trot was the moniker given to the method used by pilgrims to arrive in Canterbury before the nighttime curfew.
Why Canterbury Anniversary Day is Important
Canterbury has a long and illustrious history
Canterbury is a historic cathedral city with a long and illustrious history. Its world-famous Cathedral is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Canterbury is in a country brimming with adventure
New Zealand is for the adventurous traveler. This country is ideal for thrill-seekers and daring surfers unafraid of a challenge.
Canterbury is a shoppers’ paradise
Big names such as Fenwick, M&S, and Primark have a presence in this area. Those wishing to shop in tiny, independent stores will find lots of options here.
Canterbury Anniversary Day dates