Summertime begins in New Zealand tomorrow, Sunday

We bring you a Maori legend as clocks move forward by one hour

Staff Reporter
Wellington, September 25, 2021

Daylight saving time starts in New Zealand on September 26, 2021.

Clocks will go forward by one hour, with 2 am becoming 3 am.

Daylight saving time will continue until April 3, 2022, when clocks will go back by one hour so that 3 am becomes 2 am.

Seamless transition

Many New Zealanders will experience a seamless transition, with modern electronic devices adjusting automatically. However, less modern devices may need to be adjusted manually. People may wish to adjust their clocks an hour forward before going to bed tonight, Saturday, September 25, 2021.

While adjusting your clocks and other devices, it is also a good time to check your emergency plans, survival kits and smoke alarms.

Background History

Daylight saving was introduced in 1927, however, the dates and times were changed several times over the following years.

During the mid-1940s, New Zealand Standard Time was advanced permanently by half an hour, and daylight saving time was effectively discontinued. This lasted until 1974 when an advance of one hour in summer was reintroduced.

Protest over change

Dairy farmers were up in arms over the idea of having to milk cows in the dark, and parents with young children worried about getting them to sleep while it was still light.

The small Northland town of Ararua, home to many dairy farmers, went so far as to ignore the new time when the rest of New Zealand switched to daylight saving time.

Locals erected a sign announcing that visitors to the area needed to adjust their clocks back by an hour.

Majority approval

A Survey conducted in 2008 found that 82% of New Zealanders approved of the 2007 extension to the period of Daylight saving time.

The rationale for changing the time over the summer months is that more sunlight hours will fall in the early morning if standard time is applied year-round.

In Summer, these early morning sunlight hours are seen as being wasted as many people are asleep at that time. If the sunlight hours are shifted to the evening, by way of daylight saving time, they are more useful.

Maui: the father of Daylight Saving

According to Maori legend, Tamanui Te Ra, the Sun, moved too fast across the sky. All the daily activities had to be done without delay as darkness would come too soon.

Frustrated, Maui gathered his brothers and told them about his plan to slow down Te Ra. At first, they disagreed with Maui but after hearing that they could do more during the day, they agreed to help.

After weaving their flax into long ropes, they set out secretly into the night to catch an unsuspecting Te Ra who was sound asleep. Awoken by a loud commotion, Te Ra, found himself tightly gripped by long ropes.

“Why have you captured me?” Te Ra asked.

Maui explained that they did not have enough time in the day to enjoy all the things they loved. He hoped that Te Ra would promise to slow down. Thinking about Maui’s words, Te Ra said that he would take his time across the sky. This is the tale of how Maui slowed down Te Ra so that his people could enjoy longer days.

And just like Maui, your days will be lighter for longer as clocks spring forward one hour with Daylight Saving starting this weekend.

For further information on daylight saving time see the New Zealand Government website. 

Fun fact: The Chatham Islands observes Chatham Island Standard Time, which is 45 minutes ahead of New Zealand Standard Time.

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