New Zealand Cup and Show Week and Canterbury Anniversary

Every year during the middle of November, Canterbury celebrates the province’s anniversary holiday during the same week as the New Zealand Cup and the A&P Show. This page lists the traditional activities that take place at this time of the year.

For the first time since World War II, the New Zealand Agricultural Show will not go ahead in 2020. The Canterbury anniversary holiday, known as Show Day, is on Friday 13 November 2020. All libraries will close for this public holiday. NZ Cup Week races take place at Riccarton Park Racecourse on 7, 11 and 14 November this year.

Cup Week

First on the schedule is New Zealand Cup Week, with exciting events for those into racing and fashion. Horse racing, both gallops and harness racing, are the main events.

Christchurch shops feature race-going fashion and hats. There are local fashion shows and displays.

Looking at Cup and Show Week

The A&P Show

After Cup Week, the country comes to town at the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association Show. The annual agricultural show has been held every year since 1862.

Anniversary Day

Christchurch Show Day is also a public holiday in Canterbury, celebrating the region’s official anniversary. The public holiday was originally held on or around 15 December, the anniversary day of the old Canterbury province marking the arrival of the First Four Ships. It was moved to the Friday of Show Week sometime between 1955 and 1958. The Friday had been People’s Day at the Show for years, but the change offered the additional bonus of an official holiday for banks and businesses.

The definition used by Christchurch City Council to determine the date of Canterbury Anniversary Day each year is “second Friday after the first Tuesday of November (i.e. Show Day will be two weeks after the first Tuesday in November — on a Friday, mainly so that it does not clash with the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival)”.

Northern and Central Canterbury areas also observe Christchurch Show Day. South Canterbury observes Dominion Day, the fourth Monday in September. All other regions in New Zealand have their own Anniversary Day public holidays.

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