Anniversary Day an open and shut case

David Sewell and Debbie Seddon had no trouble finding somewhere to have a cup of coffee in the Octagon yesterday, despite some businesses not opening on Otago Anniversary Day. Photos by Gregor Richardson.
David Sewell and Debbie Seddon had no trouble finding somewhere to have a cup of coffee in the Octagon yesterday, despite some businesses not opening on Otago Anniversary Day. Photos by Gregor Richardson.
It seems most Dunedin residents have become accustomed to the fact Otago Anniversary Day is a ''lottery'' when it comes to working out whether businesses and facilities are open.

The annual public holiday celebrates the establishment of Otago's provincial government on March 23, 1852.

Despite that date, the anniversary is officially celebrated on the closest Monday, which this year was March 24.

But many observe it at Easter, which in the past has left many residents wondering which public services and businesses would recognise the annual holiday on Monday.

Dunedin resident Jan Parkinson said she had given up trying to guess which stores would be open.

''Our province is the only place in New Zealand that seems to be a darn mess.

''If it's a public holiday - people should take it on the day.

''It's argued over every year, but nothing ever changes.

''People have come to treat it like a lottery.''

It did not seem to bother visitors to the city.

David Sewell, of Ashburton, said the public holiday was well publicised by accommodation providers in the city and visitors were warned some stores and services would not be open.

He was down to celebrate a birthday in Dunedin at the weekend and had no trouble finding somewhere to have breakfast yesterday morning.

''If it's open, you go in. If it's closed, you don't - it's pot luck.''

Moana Pool, the iSite visitors centre, Toitu Early Settlers Museum, the Chinese Garden and Dunedin Public Art Gallery were all open as normal, and the Green Island Landfill, refuse collection and bus services also operated as normal.

However, public libraries and banks were closed.

Major retailers and supermarkets throughout the city were open, as were many cafes, bars and restaurants.

Schools in the city were also closed, despite the Ministry of Education allowing individual schools to decide whether to observe the public holiday on Monday or at Easter.

Pretty vacant

I can't stand the fact that some people can't bear that "nothing's open" It's a public holiday for heave'ns sake. What did you think that meant? I say why are things open? It's supposed to be a day when you can stay home and enjoy your family and friends. Not another excuse to shop. If people's lives are so vacant that they can't think of anything to do. Do nothing! These holidays are hard won and will disappear if eroded further. If you don't know the holiday's significance, google it! On your day off of course. Count yourself lucky to live in a country able to give you some free time in this everything open all the time consume consume me me world.

Too many public holidays?

Really, 11 is too many? Bearing in mind Christmas, New Years and Easter take up 6 of them. Might as well can weekends too - far too many of them!

What's the point?

What's the point of having a day off anyway? There were no Otago celebrations, so in my mind it is just one more day that is an inconvenience to people (I needed car repairs - everything was closed) and for which employers are needlessly burdened with paying their staff for nothing. New Zealanders are spoiled for public holidays, most of which are entrely meaningless. I would mind less if some effort had been put in to hold some sort of public celebrations that everyone could enjoy.

Be thankful

Think your self lucky if you had the day off. I had to work so makes no never mind to me what's open or closed. In fact, I have worked every public day for the last 15 years. So I couldnt tell you what is open on any public hoilday.

My advice to those of you who are lucky enough to get them off is you shouldn't complain about things not being open. Everyone should be able to take public days when they come up.

Think about all the poor people who work in the service industries (petrol stations, coffee shops, hospitals, police, etc.) who have to work and serve you while you enjoy yourself and  have the day off and be thankful its not you. And next time they serve you be nice and wish them a nice day too, because I can assure you they don’t want to be there any more then you would want to be in their place serving them.

Any extra money their employers may pay them and the alternative leave in no way makes up for the fact that they have to work and
can't spend the day with their families and loved ones.


Otago Anniversary Day news

Maybe ODT could help by advertising in advance what will be open. I didn't see a word in yesterday's ODT online even that it was Otago Anniversary Day.

Moana Pool didn't open till 10.00 am. I know because I got caught out going for an early swim. (Usual opening time on weekdays is 6.00 am.)

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