Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The History of New Zealand

The History of New Zealand

The history of New Zealand is an amazing one. It being found by the Polynesians, then being taken over by the Europeans and the wars that followed.


New Zealand has one of the shortest human histories than any other country in the world. The first people in New Zealand were from East Polynesia in the thirteenth century, now called the Maori. The meaning of Maori is “normal” or “ordinary”. For food they hunted animals. Seals and the moa were their main targets. In 1642 the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to find New Zealand. The country was mapped again later by the British Captain James Cook in 1769. It wasn’t until 1837 that the Europeans came to live in New Zealand. Until this time the Maori had not given themselves a name, but when the Europeans came this was when the name “Maori” was established.

The Treaty of Waitangi and the Maori Wars

The Europeans wanted the Treaty of Waitangi because they wanted have control over New Zealand.  The English version didn’t say the same thing as the Maori translation. The Maoris thought that the Treaty meant that the Europeans could live here, but New Zealand was still owned by them. The English version, however, said that the Europeans now ruled New Zealand and had rights to the land. When the Maori realised that they had lost control of their land, they went to war. This started what is now known as the Maori Wars which started in 1845 and lasted until 1872.



As more and more Europeans came to the country it was decided to make a government of their own in 1852. Initially the government was located in Auckland and moved to Wellington in 1865 where it remains.  In 1893 New Zealand was the first country in the world that allowed women to vote and in 1919 women were even allowed to run for parliament. In 1975 the Waitangi Tribunal was established to investigate the grievances by Maori resulting from the Treaty of Waitangi. The Waitangi Tribunal doesn’t make settlements, it make recommendations to the government.


For such a young country it has lots of rich history from the multiple discoveries to colonisation to war to a stable country where Maori and Europeans can live along side.

The History of New Zealand



Wilson, John. History - Māori arrival and settlement. (2013) http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/history/page-3. Retrieved November 19th 2014.

Unknown. Timeline. (2008) http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/oceania/nztimeln.htm. Retrieved November 18th 2014.

Keenan, Danny. Contest For Land. (2014) http://newzealandwars.co.nz/land-wars/causes/. Retrieved November 19th 2014.

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