Friday, September 25, 2009

After all these years of Daylight Saving, some people still ask: in spring, do we put the clocks forward or back?
This is so basic! DST begins in NZ this Sunday 27 September... when we "spring forward" an hour. It runs until Sunday April 4, 2010, when – to use an American expression – we "fall back" an hour.
You may not know but modern DST was first proposed in 1895 by a NZ entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work gave him leisure time to collect insects, and made him aware of the value of after-hours daylight (many books wrongly credit an English builder William Willett, who proposed it in 1905). Germany was the first European nation to use DST (in 1916), to conserve coal during wartime.
NZ dabbled with a half-hour shift from 1927 until WWII, then revived the concept in 1974 with a one hour summer advance. Of course the dairy farmers complained (don't they, about everything?!) but generally this country of outdoors enthusiasts thought it was pretty cool.
So that's another NZ re-write for the history books: George Hudson (inventor of Daylight Saving) can take his rightful place alongside kiwi Richard Pearse – the first man in the world to fly (tough luck, Wright brothers, you guys were nearly a year too late!).

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