What Country Has the First Sunrise?

Either New Zealand or Samoa get the first sunrise each day. It depends on the time of year as to which of these countries gets the sunrise first.

Up until the end of 2011, the sun rose first in either New Zealand or Kiribati. Kiribati is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. But in 2011, Samoa moved across the International Dateline. Before that, it was the last country in the world to see the sunset on a particular day. But, this put the country 23 hours behind its main trading partners in Australia and New Zealand. On December 30, 2011, Samoa skipped a day to move to the other side of the dateline.

So, during New Zealand’s autumn and winter months, Samoa is the first country in the world to see the sunrise. Therefore, Apia is the first city in the world to get a sunrise.

But during New Zealand’s summer and spring months, it is the first country to see the sunrise. The first city to get is Gisborne, but the first inhabited area is Pitt Island. It is part of the Chatham Islands, which is part of New Zealand.

Finally, while Samoa or New Zealand are the first countries to see a sunrise, they are not the first countries to see the sun every day. For many days in the year the sun never sets in Antarctica, so technically it is the first place to see the sun, although it is not a sunrise.