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 was on from 10 to 17 November 2019. Show Day was Friday 15 November 2019. All libraries were closed for this public holiday.
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.
Christchurch shops feature race-going fashion and hats. There are local fashion shows and displays.
Looking at Cup and Show Week
- View historic photographs of the Show from our collection.
- Explore our photos of horse racing.
- Browse a DigitalNZ set of images of A&P shows.
- View a DigitalNZ set A Day at the Races.
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.
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.