New Zealand History

New Zealand History

Early to modern times

Polynesians from East Polynesia settled in New Zealand more than 3000 years ago. When Europeans arrived on the islands and began to colonize, the majority of the Maoris lived in the warmer northern part.

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Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman was the first European to enter the country of the “long, white cloud” – the translation of the Maori name “Aotearoa” for the country. In 1642 he sighted the coast of Westland, which for over a century was thought to be the west coast of what was believed to be a large southern continent and is also recorded on old maps. Only the journey of the British naval officer and researcher James Cook in the years 1769 to 1770 formed the starting point for a precise mapping and subsequent settlement of the islands.

British colonial rule

At the beginning of the 19th century, the missionary work of the indigenous people and, subsequently, the immigration of Europeans began. The Waitangi Treaty of 1840 was the official starting point for Britain’s exclusive seizure of the country. In 1841 New Zealand became a separate crown colony, in 1852 it received its own constitution, and in 1856 it was almost completely self-governing. Between 1850 and 1880 the number of settlers increased from 100,000 to 300,000. The peasants and traders pouring into the country did not abide by the indigenous people’s unrestricted use of their land, which was guaranteed in the 1840 treaty, and tens of thousands of Maori died in the second half of the 19th century as a result of bloody repression and imported diseases.

According to AbbreviationFinder, gold discoveries on the southern peninsula further increased the immigration and expansion of the settlers. The ruling Labor party had already started to build up a comprehensive social system in the 1990s. Agriculture was purposefully expanded and the country developed into a major exporter of wool, beef and sheep meat. The Cook Islands were annexed in 1901, New Zealand dominated in the British Commonwealth in 1907, Samoa occupied in 1914 and administered by a League of Nations mandate.

The Labor Party and the conservative National Party in power have alternated since the 1930s. Great Britain participated in both the First and Second World Wars, and in June 1945 the country was one of the founding members of the United Nations.

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According to the Westminster Statute – a law of the British Parliament that effectively granted the former Dominions the status of independent sovereignty – New Zealand had already become independent in 1931; In 1947 the country finally adopted the statute.

In the mid-1970s, New Zealanders began a debate on the right and wrong of aboriginal treatment in their brief history together. A tribunal has been set up to resolve current disputes. In 1995, the government officially returned land to the Maori under Prime Minister Jim Bolger. Later agreements provided for the payment of approximately one billion New Zealand dollars within ten years as compensation for, among other things, illegally expropriated land.

New Zealand ports of warships with nuclear weapons were blocked on board as early as 1984. Three years later, the country declared its territory a nuclear-weapon-free zone. It was previously excluded from the ANZUS Pact, a military defense alliance with the United States and Australia, which was established in 1952.

In 1990 Jim Bolger was elected new head of government. Due to the poor economic situation, his government made cuts to what had previously been an exemplary social system, which hit many Maori and Polynesian immigrants in particular. In 1997, Bolger resigned in favor of Jenny Shipley as chairman of the National Party and as prime minister. Shipley was replaced in 1999 after two years in government by Labor Party leader Helen Clark. She headed a minority government with the Progressive Party as a coalition partner. In 2007 she announced that she wanted to make New Zealand the “first sustainable country in the world” by 2025. Nine tenths of the electricity requirement should then be obtained from renewable energy. However, after an economic recession set in in 2008 due to the global financial crisis and rising energy prices, Clark’s Labor Party lost in the November 2008 elections and Clark resigned. Former National Bank investment banker John Key was sworn in as the new prime minister. He was confirmed in office in the 2011 and 2014 parliamentary elections.

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