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Dominion Status Day – September 26, 2023

Dominion Status Day is a holiday celebrated on September 26 every year. It marks the day when New Zealand ceased to exist as a colony and was declared a dominion within the British Empire. It did not change its political status or influence, but it was a symbolic change towards eventual independence in 1945. On this day, we learn more about how and why political independence was granted to some colonies under the British Empire. In practical terms, it was not a popular day because it was vague in gains for the nation.

History of Dominion Status Day

Dominion Status Day was created on September 26, 1907, as a result of the events surrounding the nature and type of governance previously adopted in New Zealand. It marks the proclamation of Dominion by King Edward VII to the Colony of New Zealand. It lent it a recognized form of self-government within the British Empire.

Before this day, New Zealand already had a developed responsible government. The adoption of this new term was assumed to differentiate the self-governing and non-self-governing colonies of the British Empire, serve as a symbol that raised the rank of New Zealand as well as debunk the worldwide belief that the country was part of Australia.

The change in name from Colony to Dominion was purely based on sentiment, a show of autonomy, and a public display of political independence which had no practical effect. To avoid further British influences, the self-governing colonies of the British Empire intervened and decided that New Zealand be allowed to exercise its Dominion in crucial decisions, most especially in political agreements and treaties. The New Zealand Government consequently made its own decision to enter World War II.

Subsequent bills were passed to clarify the sovereignty of New Zealand and the full external autonomy offered by the British Parliament. Dominion Status Day extensively highlights the process New Zealand passed through in achieving full sovereignty.

Dominion Status Day timeline

1907
Proclamation is Read

Prime Minister Sir Joseph reads the proclamation of dominion status.

1926
Balfour Declaration

All dominions become equal to the United Kingdom as autonomous communities.

1931
Stalls Further Independence

New Zealand rejects the adoption of the Statute of Westminster which grants all dominions full legal sovereignty.

1947
Last Dominion To Accept Sovereignty

New Zealand formally accepts the full external autonomy offered by the British Parliament.

Dominion Status Day FAQs

Is New Zealand still a dominion?

The 1907 proclamation of New Zealand as a dominion has not officially been revoked, but the term has since been disused when referring to New Zealand or any previous self-governing colony.

Why were Dominions created?

Dominion is used to refer to the self-governing nations of the British Empire. The previous term in use was Colony, but this was changed after the U.S. expressed distaste for the word “colony”. But not much independence was granted to territories that became Dominions, the term is more for the public.

Is New Zealand the only country that celebrates Dominion Day?

Canada also had a Dominion Day until 1982. It is now Canada Day.

How to Observe Dominion Status Day

  1. Educate yourself and others

    History is instrumental in teaching us about past societies, systems, ideologies, and governments that were established and then changed. Do a little research and share your knowledge with others.

  2. Internet is your friend

    If you are unable to enjoy New Zealand in person, make use of the internet by looking up stunning pictures of the country. New Zealand is rich in natural beauty.

  3. Become an explorer

    If you can pack a bag and head over to New Zealand, this is your chance to witness the beautiful scenery and all its glory. You can travel with tour groups, friends or family.

5 Interesting Facts About New Zealand

  1. First to grant universal suffrage

    Women were first given the right to vote in New Zealand.

  2. Historical cinematic location

    The “Lord of the Rings” was shot in New Zealand at over 150 different locations.

  3. Kiwi

    New Zealand is home to a little flightless bird with eggs as big as its body.

  4. Inclusivity

    New Zealand has three official languages, with sign language included.

  5. More sheep than people

    There is a generally accepted consensus that for every person living in New Zealand, there are nine sheep.

Why Dominion Status Day is Important

  1. Visually pleasing aesthetic

    New Zealand has green hills, majestic mountains, landscapes, and lakes. It is a beautiful country in which to enjoy a charming natural experience.

  2. Awestruck adventures

    New Zealand is famous for its adrenaline adventures, smooth roads, and long coastlines. Adventure seekers from all over the globe flock to this nation for its activities such as zip-lining, heli-skiing, and canyoning.

  3. It celebrates history

    This holiday comes with a great feeling and is recognized as that of national pride and honor. It symbolizes a journey to independence, the pioneers and groups involved, and how we should celebrate them.

Dominion Status Day dates

YearDateDay
2023September 26Tuesday
2024September 26Thursday
2025September 26Friday
2026September 26Saturday
2027September 26Sunday

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