We should find a new name for this holiday weekend. It's not actually Auckland's anniversary. The future city was not founded on a lovely summer day at the end of January, the deal was done on a crisp spring day in September.
And as everyone knows, the "provinces" these anniversaries commemorate haven't existed as government units for 150 years. The historical Auckland province, unlike the others, doesn't even find expression today as a Super Rugby team. It encompasses the Blues and the Chiefs.
Historians looking for a better justification for a northern holiday this weekend have noted it was on this very day, January 30, in 1840 that a ship called the Herald arrived in the Bay of Islands bearing British emissaries with instructions to annex New Zealand by treaty if they could. But since we celebrate their success a week later it seems superfluous to mark their arrival.
Maybe we should look beyond history for a justification and admit the real reason the last weekend in January became a long weekend: the weather is never better.
That's actually a statistical fact. When I moved up this way from the south, I soon noticed that the northern year split rather neatly into two seasons. From January to well into June the weather was warm, sunny, dry and settled; from July to December it was dull, wet and windy, often through Christmas.
I once interviewed climate scientist Jim Salinger on this subject and he explained that our weather reflects our position as thin islands in a vast ocean. Water is slower than land to absorb heat and lose it. Sea temperatures peak two months after the summer solstice. The sea keeps us warmer through late summer and autumn than we would be if we were a continental land mass at this latitude.
Statistically, Salinger said, the last week of January and the first week of February are the warmest weeks of our year. The Commonwealth Games were held over these two weeks in 1990, I recall. Any big outdoor event needing reliable weather is best scheduled within this very fortnight.
This is the weekend in the middle of those weeks, the absolutely sizzling, sunny apex of our summer. Isn't that worth celebrating? We should mark it with more than a holiday. In pre-Christian cultures, they had religious festivals to celebrate, or appease, the sun at times like this. Many Christian feasts borrowed dates of previous seasonal significance. There's a primal need here.
The weather was in fact the sole consideration of Auckland settlers when they chose their anniversary day. It deserves a summer carnival of some kind.
The annual regatta is good as far as it goes. It has historical validity, the founders held a regatta with their ship's boats and waka after the purchase of a site from Ngāti Whātua on that September day in 1840. But beaches all around the region should be buzzing with fairground entertainments today and concerts tonight.
We should be going a little wild this weekend. The reason we don't, I suppose, is that it's only four weeks since New Year - too soon for another blow-out - and Ngāti Whātua, bless them, host just such a carnival at Ōkahu Bay each Waitangi Day. Between the dictates of the global calendar and the observance of our national birth, it's hard to find time to simply celebrate our natural blessings.
This weekend would be a good time for Aucklanders to walk to the summit of Rangitoto or One Tree Hill, or do the coast to coast across the isthmus. The last should be given more historical significance than it has received.
It is the journey described by Sir John Logan Campbell in his delightful book, Poenamo, that all Auckland households should have in their shelves. Campbell and his business partner, William Brown, trekked across the isthmus not long before the Treaty, looking to buy land in the new colony's likely capital.
The isthmus may have been Tāmaki Makaurau, "land of many lovers" but most had been driven away by Ngāpuhi raids in the Musket Wars. Campbell and Brown went ashore in Ōrākei Basin and learned the tangata whenua, a hapū of a Kaipara iwi, Ngāti Whātua, had decamped to Māngere to fish.
The pair walked to Onehunga, climbing Maungakiekie to see the lie of the land and meeting no one on the way. Doubtless, it is contested history now but not much is available for unequivocal celebration these days, even the weather.
Three years ago, Auckland's wet spring suddenly abated at Halloween. Much the same happened the following November, and again last year. We've answered the call to save water this summer, the shortage feels like more than a temporary storage deficiency.
Whatever your thoughts on climate change, let's celebrate the weather we get. There's nowhere better.