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New Zealand

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New Zealand History

New Zealand was first settled at least 1000 years ago, by the Polynesian Maori, a well ordered tribal society led by hereditary powerful chiefs. The first European arrival was Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642, although it was not until the voyages of Captain James Cook, in 1769 and 1779, that the islands were charted and explored.

With the British arriving and the introduction of the gun led to a massive increase in tribal warfare. In 1840, the British bought land in the area from the local Maori tribe, for £55 and some blankets. Auckland was made the capital city of New Zealand, which it remained until 1865, when Wellington took over. Also, it took the British many years to claim New Zealand as the Maori people fought back unlike the aboriginals in Australia who were more passive.

New Zealand has a proud history and its one of the few countries where the indigenous population is an important part of the decision making process in the country. In 1852, New Zealand was granted internal self-government from the British. New Zealand also has four Associated Territories: The Cook Islands, about 3500km northeast of New Zealand; Niue, 920km west of the Cook Islands; Tokelau, three atolls about 960km northwest of Niue and the Ross Dependency, which consists of over 700,000 sq km of the Antarctic. All these places use the New Zealand dollar as its official currency.

In 1907, New Zealand became a Dominion and its forces took part in both World Wars, where it fought heroically in many battles and the most notably the Anzac landings in Turkey during World War I where most of the landing forces were annihilated. Since the World Wars the country has contributed internationally in many diplomatic solutions including being part of many UN peacekeeping operations. Also, in 1984 the government declared New Zealand a nuclear free zone as it prevented US and British vessels that might be nuclear powered or carrying nuclear weapons from entering New Zealand’s ports. Today, Helen Clark is the Prime Minister and she has kept up New Zealand’s strong stance as a Greenpeace country.



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