I need to convert a string time stamp value into Java Date object. The string is in '2011-03-16T09:00:00-05:00' format. Is there a time zone representation i can use to load this data as a Date object using SimpleDateFormat? 'z','Z' and 'zzzz' are the only time zone representations i am aware of and none of those can represent my time zone data (-05:00). Has anyone solved this problem?