Daylight Saving in New Zealand is used to give us a few more hours to enjoy the summer evenings and has been observed officially as a permanent change in 1975, when the Time Act was passed. However, this was only passed after several earlier attempts, and it may come as a surprise to know that the seeds of the idea originally came from a Wellingtonian entomologist, George Hudson, in the 1890s.
Originally from England, George Hudson put the idea forward as a way for him to enjoy more hours studying bugs, which were limited by his shift work. The idea was taken up by Dunedin MP Sir Thomas Kay Sidey, who put forward a Bill for Daylight Saving each year from 1909 until 1927, when the Summer Time Act was finally successful, and was effected on November 6th for the first time. This initial act empowered local authorities to institute Daylight Saving within their borough.
Detailed in the City Council correspondence files the Bill gained much support from local and national sports groups, however initial objections were voiced from the Milk Department, and the Tram Department, who expressed concern over the possible loss of revenue for the Electricity Department.
Some people were so grateful for the daylight saving campaign by Thomas Sidey that a memorial fund was proposed to be set up, the Sidey Memorial Fund or Summer Time Memorial.
The length of time in the year that daylight saving is observed is defined by the New Zealand Daylight Time Order 2007 and has changed from being the 2nd Sunday in October (though the first year was observed from the 1st Sunday in November) until the 3rd weekend in March to what is now observed, being the 3rd Sunday in September until the 1st Sunday in April.
Daylight Saving has proved of great benefit, and not just to the bug collectors of the world - but for younger children it is possible they share the views of children from the old nursery rhyme “In winter I get up by night and dress by yellow candlelight, in summer quite the other way – I have to go to bed by day”.