Jacinda Ardern has confirmed the date of the first Matariki public holiday
Jacinda Ardern has revealed the date of New Zealand’s new public holiday.
The first Matariki public holiday will be held on Friday 24 June 2022 after consideration by an expert panel.
The public holiday will shift each year, similar to Easter, but will most likely always fall between June and July.
Announcing the date on Thursday, Ardern said it was the first new public holiday introduced in NZ since the creation of Waitangi day 50 years ago.
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“Matariki will be a distinctly New Zealand holiday; a time for reflection and celebration, and our first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori," Ardern said.
"This will be a day to acknowledge our nation's unique, shared identity, and the importance of tikanga Māori. It's going to be something very special, and something uniquely New Zealand.
"It will also break up the lag between public holidays that currently exists between Queen's Birthday in early June and Labour Day in late October."
Matariki, sometimes referred to as Māori New Year, is a time to remember those who have died and celebrate those still living.
It is the Māori name for the constellation also known as the Seven Sisters which rises in mid-winter each year.
Creating a public holiday to mark Matariki was of Ardern’s earliest election pledges last year.
The government's advisory group was chaired by Dr Rangiānehu Matamua and included members with expert Māori knowledge.
The panel devised a method for selecting the date, taking into consideration the community and the lunar timetable, and will also be tasked with choosing the dates for the next 30 years.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said the new holiday would also provide a welcome boost for tourism – especially once borders reopen with Australia and other parts of the world.
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Matariki is just one of several election pledges made by the Labour party that involve workplace legislation.
Ardern also committed to raising minimum wage and doubling statutory sick leave allowance from five to 10 days.