As Kiwis were heading off for their Christmas holidays – known better in NZ as our Summer holidays – there was one thing that really stood out…the weather was anything but summer-like.
That’s because true summer weather doesn’t usually start until January and finish until the end of March.
WeatherWatch.co.nz recently ran an unscientific poll asking whether or not the summer holidays should be moved until later in summer, after so many had their holidays cut short due to the wet weather.
In America and Canada businesses stay open through Christmas and New Year bar a couple days off work.
But most of us were brought up in New Zealand schools that finish in December and don’t go back until February. It is part of our culture to shut down in December and start up properly in February, even if you return to work in January.
But how many of you remember how horrible it was sitting in a stinking hot classroom in February… and the teachers were always irritable – like the students – feeling the pain of returning to school when the weather is at its very best for lazing around doing nothing.
I spoke to fellow Herald on Sunday columnist Kerre Woodham on NewstalkZB last Sunday about the results of the poll.
As I said to Kerre and the listeners just 28% like it as it is while an overwhelming majority of 54% preferred to move our national summer holidays to February. The remaining 18% wanted it shifted to January.
This week I spoke to a couple of people about the poll results – a professional radio copywriter and a student in her last year of high school.
The student was keen to see the holidays moved to February – but at the same time didn’t want to lose her Christmas break. “It would make way more sense to have our summer holidays in February, but at the same time I’d still want to have time off between Christmas and New Year to be with my family” Stephanie Lewis of Waitakere told me.
In Christchurch senior radio copywriter Sarah Sampson told me she doesn’t see the need to change how it is now. “I don’t really see the point in moving our stat days to February, we’ve got Waitangi Day in February, Auckland has Anniversary Day in January and then there’s Easter and Anzac to look forward to. I think after a year of hard work – we all look forward to Dec 25 and 10-14 days off”.
Personally I prefer the idea of shifting our traditional 3 weeks off until February but I think it’s an uphill battle to convince the public and the government that it’s worth doing. As Sarah says, we look forward to putting our feet up at the end of the year…even if you have to put them up indoors because it’s raining outside.
– Philip Duncan writes a weekly column for the Herald on Sunday