Anzac Day – how local body leaders initiated a half-day holiday in NZ

When did New Zealanders first commemorate Anzac Day? We have been checking the files and find a story akin to rival trans-Tasman claims about Phar Lap and pavlova cake.

Naturally, the Australians claim they were first with an announcement by the Premier of New South Wales W A Holman proclaiming on  March 27, 1916 that the landings on  Gallipoli on April 25 , 1915 should be marked by services followed by recruiting drives.

But in New Zealand, city and suburban mayors gathered for their annual conference in Wellington that same month.

On March 14 they discussed the question of commemorating Anzac Day. According to the Press Association they decided to interview the Premier and suggest that a half-holiday be proclaimed from noon on April 25, with a view to holding a united memorial service with special military parades.

The interview occurred and on April 5, the Prime Minister W F Massey announced the government had decided to observe a half-holiday, commencing at 1 pm on Tuesday, April 25, in commemoration of “Anzac Day”.  Continue reading “Anzac Day – how local body leaders initiated a half-day holiday in NZ”