History in New Zealand
About 60 million years ago the Tasman Sea, seperated Australia from New Zealand. Five million years ago that the shape of the two main islands of New Zealand today began to form.
700 years ago New Zealand was discovered and settled by Polynesians who developed a distinct Māori culture.
The first European explorer came to New Zealand in 1642.
In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and various Māori chiefs, bringing New Zealand into the British Empire and giving Māori equal rights with British citizens.
From the 1890s the New Zealand parliament enacted a number of progressive initiatives, including women's suffrage and old age pensions. From the 1930s the economy was highly regulated and an extensive welfare state was developed. Meanwhile, Māori culture underwent a renaissance, and from the 1950s Māori began moving to the cities in large numbers. This led to the development of a Māori protest movement which in turn led to greater recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi in the late twentieth century.
Maroi leadership was based on a system of chieftainship. The most important units of pre-European Māori society were the whānau or extended family, and the hapū or group of whānau.
The first Europeans known to reach New Zealand were the crew of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who arrived in December 1642 and sailed northward to Tonga following a clash with local Māori. Tasman sketched sections of the two main islands' west coasts. James Cook of HM Bark Endeavour visited the islands more than 100 years after Tasman during 1769–1770.
From the 1790s, the waters around New Zealand were visited by British, French and American whaling, sealing and trading ships.
European settlement increased through the early decades of the nineteenth century.
On 15 June 1839 a new Letters patent was issued to expand the territory of New South Wales to include all of New Zealand. Governor of New South Wales George Gipps was appointed Governor over New Zealand. This was the first clear expression of British intent to annex New Zealand.
On 6 February 1840, Hobson and about forty Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands.
The Treaty gave Māori sovereignty over their lands and possessions and all of the rights of British citizens.
Māori chiefs were motivated by a desire for protection from foreign powers, the establishment of governorship over European settlers and traders in New Zealand, and to allow for wider settlement that would increase trade and prosperity for Māori.
New Zealand became a colony in its own right on 3 May 1841. It was divided into provinces that were reorganised in 1846 and in 1853, when they acquired their own legislatures, and then abolished in 1876. The country rapidly gained some measure of self-government through the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852, which established central and provincial government.
From 1840 there was considerable European settlement, primarily from England, Scotland and Wales, but also from Ireland and to a lesser extent the United States, India, and various parts of continental Europe.
In the 1870s and 1880s, several thousand Chinese men, mostly from the Guangdong province, migrated to New Zealand to work on the South Island goldfields. Although the first Chinese migrants had been invited by the Otago Provincial government they quickly became the target of hostility from white settlers and laws were enacted specifically to discourage them from coming to New Zealand.
Although race relations were generally peaceful in this period, there were conflicts over who had ultimate power in particular areas—the Governor or the Māori chiefs. One such conflict was the Northern or Flagstaff War of the 1840s, during which the town of Kororareka was destroyed.
Pākehā had little understanding of all that and accused Māori of holding onto land they did not use efficiently. Competition for land was a primary cause of the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, in which the Taranaki and Waikato regions were invaded by colonial troops and Māori of these regions had much of their land taken from them. The wars and confiscation left bitterness that remains to this day.
One result of their co-operation strategy was the establishment of the four Māori seats in parliament, in 1867.
The South Island contained most of the Pākehā population until around 1900 when the North Island again took the lead and has supported an ever greater majority of the country's total population through the 20th century and into the 21st.
New Zealand decided against joining the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, and instead changed from being a colony to a separate "dominion" in 1907, equal in status to Australia and Canada.
The country remained an enthusiastic member of the British Empire, and many New Zealanders fought in World War I (see New Zealand Expeditionary Force). New Zealand forces took Western Samoa from Germany in the early stages of the war, and New Zealand administered the country until Samoan Independence in 1962.
Like most other countries, New Zealand was hard hit by the Great Depression of the 1930s, which affected the country via its international trade, with farming export drops then going on to affect the money supply and in turn consumption, investment and imports.
When World War II broke out, New Zealand contributed some 120,000 troops. They mostly fought in Europe.
In 1984, the Fourth Labour government was elected. Propelled into office amid a constitutional and economic crisis, the new government embarked on a policy of restructuring, known as Rogernomics. This involved floating the New Zealand dollar, cutting government spending, reducing most taxes and introducing a sales tax (GST), and removing almost all industry subsidies.
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