New Zealand Cup and Show Week and Canterbury Anniversary

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

New Zealand Cup and Show Week will take place from 11 to 18 November 2017. Show Day is Friday 17 November 2017. All our libraries are closed for this public holiday.

Carnival Week in Christchurch : the implement section of the Canterbury A & P Association's metropolitan show. 1899. Source: The weekly press, 15 Nov. 1899, p. 63 CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0029
Carnival Week in Christchurch : the implement section of the Canterbury A & P Association's metropolitan show. 1899. CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0029

Cup Week

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

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.

Port Lyttelton, showing the first four ships and emigrants landing from the Cressy, December 28th 1850 [28 Dec. 1850] CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0017
Port Lyttelton, showing the first four ships and emigrants landing from the Cressy, December 28th 1850 [28 Dec. 1850] CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0017
Print