Labour Day

We know we get a long weekend this weekend but we don’t know why!
Is it because it’s nearly Christmas?
Is it like Queen’s Birthday Weekend?
Has it got something to do with Halloween?

We asked our parents. Here are some things we found out:

  • It’s a long weekend
  • It’s to celebrate workers
  • It’s an extra day to rest and play

We wondered why we celebrate workers and why we get a special day off.
We did some internet research (
and here’s what we found out:

A long time ago people had to work hard and it didn’t leave much time to play or spend time with their family and friends.

  • Sometimes kids like us had to work! Some of them had nasty jobs like climbing down chimneys to clean them or catching rats. We don’t think we would like to do that.
  • A man called Samuel Parnell came to live and work as a carpenter in New Zealand. He changed the long work day to a shorter one by getting people to agree to having an 8 hour working day. It took a lot of talking to convince employers but eventually they agreed. Labour Day has been the special day when this is remembered since 1900.

We looked at some photos of what people like Samuel Parnell did to celebrate Labour Day.

Samuel Parnell. Wright, Henry Charles Clarke, 1844-1936 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-020462-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Labour Day parade, Dunedin. Williams, Edgar Richard, 1891-1983 :Negatives, lantern slides, stereographs, colour transparencies, monochrome prints, photographic ephemera. Ref: 1/2-140512-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.