Schools key to shifting summer holidays


The Listener has joined the call for the summer holidays to be shifted to February when the weather is more likely to be better.

The slow start to warmer weather isn’t new.

My father was a carpenter at the freezing works. When they shut down over the Christmas-New Year period he was required to stay at work to do maintenance which wasn’t possible when the chains were operating.

We didn’t mind. He took a couple of weeks off at the end of January when the weather was almost always better than it had been in the preceding weeks.

It was almost always better still when we returned to school in February and while there are no guarantees with the weather that is still more likely to be the case.

This is what’s driving the growing chorus to have Christmas and Boxing Day as days off on their own and move the summer holidays at least a month later.

Any business could do that now  and some individuals do choose to take only the statutory days off for Christmas and New Year and have holidays later.

The northern hemisphere does that because it’s the middle of winter and their summer holidays are usually taken in August, the same stage of the season as February would be here.

What keeps most people and businesses here sticking to the late December-early January shut-down is school holidays. Workers with children want at least some of their holidays to coincide with their children’s.

The key to shifting summer holidays then lies with schools. If the education year can be adjusted to start in March, and finish in January the main summer holiday period would shift to February too.

It wouldn’t make much difference on farms because all summer is busy but it would increase the chances the rest of the country would get holiday weather when they’re on holiday rather than in the following weeks when they’re back at work.



Our seasons are almost always a bit later than the calendar.

Monday might have been supposed to be the first day of autumn but it’s great harvest weather, hotter and sunnier than it was in summer.

And since it’s Vivaldi’s birthday (he was born on March 4, 1678)  I’m celebrating the weather with Summer:

Vivaldi’s Summer


Happy Birthday Nigel Kennedy.

Where’s summer?


The wind at the top of Mount Iron this morning was coming straight from the south pole.

The mountains at the head of Lake Wanaka were covered in cloud and there’s fresh snow on the top of Mount Roy.

It may be the summer solstice next week but it isn’t summer yet.

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