New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of 2 main islands, both marked by volcanoes and glaciation. Capital Wellington, on the North Island, is home to Te Papa Tongarewa, the expansive national museum. Wellington’s dramatic Mt. Victoria and the South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes stood in for mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” films.
The history of New Zealand dates back at least 700 years to when it was discovered and settled by Polynesians, who developed a distinct Māori culture centred on kinship links and land. Also the first European explorer to sight New Zealand was Abel Janszoon Tasman on 13 December 1642. Captain James Cook, who reached New Zealand in October 1769 on the first of his three voyages was the first European explorer to circumnavigate and map New Zealand.
From the late 18th century, the country was regularly visited by explorers and other sailors, missionaries, traders and adventurers. 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. There was extensive British settlement throughout the rest of the century. War and the imposition of a European economic and legal system led to most of New Zealand’s land passing from Māori to Pākehā (European) ownership, and most Māori subsequently became impoverished.
From the 1890s the New Zealand parliament enacted a number of progressive initiatives, including women’s suffrage and old age pensions. The country remained an enthusiastic member of the British Empire, and 110,000 men fought in World War I (see New Zealand Expeditionary Force). After the war New Zealand signed the Treaty of Versailles (1919), joined the League of Nations, and pursued an independent foreign policy, while its defence was still controlled by Britain.
The culture of New Zealand is largely inherited from British, Oceanian and European customs, interwoven with Maori and Polynesian tradition. An isolated Pacific Island nation, New Zealand was comparatively recently settled by humans. Initially Māori only, then bicultural with colonial and rural values, now New Zealand has a cosmopolitan, multicultural culture that reflects its changing demographics, is conscious of the natural environment, and is an educated, developed Western society.
Māori culture has predominated for most of New Zealand’s history of human habitation. Polynesians reached the islands of New Zealand about 1280. Over the ensuing centuries of Polynesian expansion and settlement, Māori culture developed from its Polynesian roots. Māori established separate tribes, built fortified villages (Pā), hunted and fished, traded commodities, developed agriculture, arts and weaponry, and kept a detailed oral history. Regular European contact began from 1800, and British immigration proceeded rapidly, especially from 1855.
The colonists had a dramatic effect on the Maori, bringing Christianity, advanced technology, the English language, numeracy and literacy. In 1840 Māori leaders signed the Treaty of Waitangi, intended to enable the tribes to live peacefully with the colonists.
However, after several incidents, the New Zealand land wars broke out from 1845, with Māori suffering a loss of land, partly through confiscation, but mainly through widespread and extensive land sales. Maori retained their identity, mostly choosing to live separately from settlers and continuing to speak and write Maori.
With mass migration from Britain, a high Maori death rate and low life expectancy for Maori women, Maori population figure dropped between 1850 and 1930. Work by demographer I. Poole shows the drop may not have been as great as previously believed as most Maori did not register birth until a child benefit was paid by the 1931 Labour Government. From about 1860 Maori became the minority race in New Zealand. Māori culture has regained much of its lost influence as Maori have integrated into New Zealand society.
7) Milford Sound
11) Bay Of Islands
13) Lake Tekapo
1) ChristChurch Casino
2) Sky City
3) Welsh Dragon Bar
4) City Views At Night
5) The Thistle Inn
6) The Holy Grail
7) The Court Theatre
9) Dux De Lux
10) Winning It In Wangarei
11) Sky City Tower
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