This past weekend was Queen’s Birthday Weekend. Queen’s Birthday is a selected day on which the monarch of the Commonwealth’s birthday is celebrated. In New Zealand it is the first Monday in June. This date is not the actual monarch’s birthday, current monarch Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday is 21 April.
Queen’s Birthday is one of ten nationwide public (statutory holidays) in New Zealand. The other nine statutory holidays are New Year’s Day, the day after New Year’s Day, Waitangi Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, ANZAC Day, Labour Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Students and many workers will be given the day off school or work giving them a three day weekend.
Anyone who works on a public holiday by law must be at a minimum paid time-and-a-half and given an alternative holiday (known as a day in lieu). Some cafes and restaurants have implemented a public holiday surcharge to cover the costs of employing staff on that day. In the last few years many cafes and restaurants have begun displaying signs advertising no surcharges in an attempt to be competitive and attract more business. Some businesses will not charge a surcharge but will not offer specials on public holidays. It pays to look for displayed signage or ask when looking for somewhere to eat on a public holiday.
During long weekends there are usually several events on. This past Queen’s Birthday Weekend Waterfront Auckland hosted a free community event ‘The Best of British’ at Queens Wharf celebrating all things British.
The Cloud was lined with several stalls selling British products including food and art. Upstairs there was an British High Tea.
For motor car enthusiasts there were up to 40 British vehicles on display including classic and brand car including new Bentley, Mini and Aston Martin.
Visitors could also take a ride on a traditional London red double decker bus.
Those wishing to get involved were able to join in games of badminton, croquet, lawn bowls and table tennis. There was also face painting and a children’s activity workshop.
There was also live entertainment with Highland Pipers and Dancers, Morris dancers, Maypole dancers, Pipe band, an Irish and Scottish folk band, and a traditional marionette puppet show.