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The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced today she will make Matariki a public holiday for all New Zealanders as a ‘unique type of holiday to New Zealanders’. Massive support for the public holiday has been around for a long time, but it’s now getting recognition, a dream come true for New Zealanders.
The announcement means that the first public holiday for ‘Matariki day’ will be sometime in 2022 to give businesses time to adjust and recover from the COVID-19 impact. However, the exact date for the Matariki day is yet to be determined.
It means Matariki as a public holiday will become the 12th on the list for New Zealand.
Matariki declares the start of the Māori New Year and is a time of celebration with family, not just for Māori but for many across the country.
“As I’ve travelled around New Zealand I’ve heard the calls for Matariki to become a public holiday – it’s time has come. It will also be a confidence boost that many sectors need right now,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“Matariki will be a distinctly New Zealand holiday and a time for reflection, celebration and to look to the future as we take increasing pride in our unique national identity.”
“We don’t have many statutory holidays compared to other OECD countries, and it would be good to break up the long run through winter,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
It will be the second public holiday that recognises the Māori diversity, culture and tradition.
The last public holiday introduced to New Zealanders was Waitangi Day, the public holiday, was made nearly 50 years ago.
The holiday hopes to bring families together to go shopping over yet to be dated and possible ‘long weekend’.
New Zealand has currently got 11 public holidays, counting regional ceremonies as one. Of the OECD countries, New Zealand is in the low-to-middle range for public holidays – with 18 states having more, and 12 fewer.
Kelvin Davis, who is the Deputy Leader of the Labour party, said he was ‘proud’ of the Government’s record this term, elevating the status of New Zealand’s history and Māori culture.
“It is important to acknowledge that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on businesses, and public holidays can create additional costs, which is why it wouldn’t come into force until 2022. We will work with Matariki experts to design and determine the appropriate dates for the public holiday, but we expect it will always fall on a Monday or a Friday,” said Kelvin Davis.