indigenous people of New Zealand are the Maori, a Polynesian race who
populated New Zealand over 1000 years ago. Todays modern
nation of New Zealand is still very young, colonized in the 1850s
primarily by immigrants from Great Britain. The political system
is based on the Westminster parliamentary system inherited from Great
Britain but has evolved in recent years to a
more European styled party representation system.
- The Dutch navigator Abel Tasman was the first European
to visit New Zealand. He arived
at the north coast of the South Island and gave the new land the name
Zeeland. Tasman landed at todays
Golden Bay, but got attacked by the Maoris and escaped.
- James Cook was the first European to return to New
Zealand. His discovery and experience opened New Zealand to the
rest of the world and established it's links to Great Britain.
Whalers, missionaries and traders followed.
- The first permanent European settlements were established at
Wellington by E.G. Wakefield. William Hobson arrived in the Bay
of Islands to offer a treaty on behalf of the Crown. He and a
large Number of Maori chiefs signed an agreement called the Treaty of
Waitangi. It recognized British sovereignty in exchange for
guaranteed possession of their land (An imprecise translation of the
Maori language continues to cause some disputes about what was agreed
in the Treaty).
European demands for land and Maori reluctance to sell, led to
- A series of conflicts that have become known as the Land Wars
While the Government won, certain areas were never actually
conquered and a number of Maori leaders were never caught.
- The first shipment of frozen meat left Dunedin. Its
arrival in England heralded the beginning of New Zealands large
meat and dairy exporting industries. New Zealand was granted
dominion status and the new century saw the economy and standard of
- The universal franchise is introduced.
- Thousands of men went to follow Britain into the World War I.
April 25, the day in 1915 when an independent army first went into
action, has become ANZAC
day, (Australia, New Zealand Army Corps) a national day of
- The world economic crisis hits New Zealand very hard. A
new labor party is voted in.
- New Zealand joins the war against Hitler-Germany. The
Japanese advance through the pacific was traumatic for New Zealand and
Australia. Britain was concentrating on the war in Europe and
American troops came to New Zealand's assistance. From then on
New Zealand's focus started shifting away from Europe and towards the
Pacific, America and Asia.
- The independence is confirmed.
- Against protest of the population, New Zealand joins America
in the Vietnam war.
- The country has moved towards closer cooperation with
Australia on economic matters.
- New Zealand declared itself nuclear free.
& 1996 -
MMP (Mixed Member
Proportional) has replaced the Westminster (Monarchy in Commonwealth
since 1907) method. It is a system to elect 120 Members of
Parliament for New Zealand. Each voter has two votes, one vote
is used to elect an electorate reprehensive by-first-past-the-post,
and the other vote is used to elect the remaining Members of
Parliament from party lists of candidates. To qualify for seats
in New Zealand, a party must win 5% of the total party vote
nationwide. There is an election every 3 Years.