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New Zealand Parliament

25 September 2007

Dominion Day centennial

One hundred years ago on 26 September 1907 New Zealand became a Dominion.

 In 1907, following a debate in the House the New Zealand Parliament asked Britain that New Zealand’s status be changed from Colony to Dominion. A proclamation was issued that New Zealand would become a Dominion with effect from 26 September 1907.

At 11 a.m. on 26 September Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward read the proclamation from the main steps of Parliament Buildings. Following the proclamation HMS Challenger in the harbour fired a salute, the band played a stirring march and Maori performed the haka Ka Mate.

The change of status had no constitutional effect, but it was seen as a very significant symbolic step towards nationhood. The day was a one-off public holiday, and public buildings were festooned with flags and colourfully illuminated by night.

On the nights of 25 & 26 September 2007, to celebrate the centenary of Dominion Day, the Parliamentary Library building will again be illuminated.

For further information on how the day was observed in 1907 and beyond, until it was overtaken by ANZAC Day, see the Downloads panel.