Why did students have a day off on Tuesday? Parents, educators caught off guard by 'weird' Easter holiday

Some New Zealanders have been caught off guard by the bizarre Easter Tuesday holiday - a day where students get the day off, and you have to go back to work.

According to the Ministry of Education, when Easter falls later in April, like usual, Easter Tuesday gets wrapped into the school holidays - due to start this year on April 17.

But since four school terms were introduced in 1996, sometimes Easter has fallen earlier than usual - including 1997, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2016, 2018, and now 2021.

First introduced in 1954, Easter Tuesday is part of the Education Act legislation. 

"The Tuesday following Easter Monday is a school holiday (not a statutory holiday), meaning schools must not be open," the Ministry of Education says. 

In the past two years, Easter fell inside the school holidays - meaning Easter Tuesday wasn't noticed.

On any given year, Easter weekend can fall anytime between March 22 and April 25.

"Thank you academic Twitter for reminding me that 'Easter Tuesday' is a university holiday in NZ. Had totally forgotten and was going to head to the office," University of Auckland lecturer Heather Battles said on Twitter.

"I thought my kids were just trying to get a free day off school," another commented on Facebook. 

"Kinda weird Tuesday is a holiday at schools and uni but not at ECE [early childhood education] centres," said another social media post.