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Commemorations & anniversaries

In 2014, the Government updated its earlier commemorations policy, agreed in 2009/10 in recognition of the need for a co-ordinated approach between agencies to mark particularly important events and anniversaries, and to ensure better forward planning for these big events.

The updated commemorations policy categorises these anniversaries as either Tier 1 or Tier 2 national events. The Tier 1 list consists of anniversaries of events which had a significant impact on the nation as a whole or on the pattern of New Zealand life; an example being the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

The Tier 2 list is made up of anniversaries of events which were highly important but not of the same nation-changing magnitude. Nationally-significant anniversaries, whether Tier 1 or Tier 2, typically refer to anniversaries that are a multiple of 25 (25th, 50th, 75th, 100th anniversaries, and so on). 

Visit the Commemorations 2014-2020 page to view the full listing of events.


The following events for 2017 were authorised by the Government in 2014. Please note that this is an indicative list and may be subject to review.

Tier 1 event

100th anniversary of the war in Belgium and Sinai/Palestine (1917)

NZHistory - Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

NZHistory - The Sinai campaign

National commemoration to mark Messines centenary

WW100 - National Commemorative Programme to remember Passchendaele

Tier 2 events

150th anniversary of the Māori Representation Act establishing Māori seats in Parliament

NZHistory - Māori and the vote

Te Ara feature on Māori representation

150th anniversary of the creation of the Native School system

Te Ara feature on the Native School system

100th anniversary of the introduction and 50th anniversary of the end of 6 o'clock closing in bars

NZHistory - The end of the '6 o'clock swill'

Te Ara feature on the beer swill

50th anniversary of the adoption of the decimal currency

NZHistory - New Zealand adopts decimal currency

Te Ara feature on the decimal currency (view the 1967 decimal currency song here)

MCH - Decimal currency move a defining moment

Centenary of the First World War commemorations

Dates for key New Zealand domestic and overseas commemorative and ceremonial events which will be marked during the First World War centenary from 2014 to 2019 were announced by former Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson in September 2013.  Relevant media releases include the following:

First World War centenary military commemoration dates announced

WW100 First World War Centenary Programme announced

Additional commemorations

Details about various New Zealand historic events and anniversaries can be found on our NZHistory and Te Ara —The Encyclopedia of New Zealand websites.


Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Updated on 30th November 2017