New Zealand

Mitre Peak Milford Sounds
Mitre Peak Milford Sounds Photo Pixabay

New Zealand in Maori word is Aotearoa is country on the South West of the Pacific Ocean and is 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia. New Zealand It has a total land area of 268,000 square kilometres (103,500 sq mi).

New Zealand has two large islands the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and South Island (Te Waipounamu), and there are around 600 smaller islands.

What is the capital of New Zealand?

The capital of New Zealand is Wellington, and Wellington has been 1865 and the first capital of New Zealand was Old Russell (Okiato) in 1840 to 1841 Auckland was the second capital from 1841 until 1865 when Parliament was permanently moved to Wellington.

What is the population of New Zealand?

As of December 2019, the population is around 4,947,580.

History of New Zealand

The history of New Zealand dates back approximately 700 years to when it was discovered and settled by Polynesians, who developed a distinct Māori culture. Like other Pacific cultures, Māori society was centred on kinship links and connect with the land but, unlike them, it was adapted to a cool, temperate environment rather than a warm, tropical one.

The first European explorer known to sight New Zealand was Dutch navigator Abel Tasman on 13 December 1642. He explored and charted the coastline but never landed. 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 the same rights as British subjects.

However, disputes over the differing translations of the Treaty and settler desire to acquire land from Māori led to the New Zealand Wars from 1843.

There was extensive British settlement throughout the rest of the century and into the early part of the next century. The New Zealand Wars 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. After becoming a self-governing dominion with the British Empire in 1907, the country remained an enthusiastic member of the empire, and over 100,000 New Zealanders fought in World War I as part of the 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.

When World War II broke out in 1939, New Zealanders contributed to the defence of the British Empire; the country contributed some 120,000 troops. From the 1930s the economy was highly regulated and an extensive welfare state was developed.

Meanwhile, Māori culture underwent a renaissance, and from the 1950s Māori began moving to the cities in large numbers. This led to the development of a Māori protest movement which in turn led to greater recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi in the late 20th century.

The country’s economy suffered in the aftermath of the 1973 global energy crisis, the loss of New Zealand’s biggest export market upon Britain’s entry to the European Economic Community, and rampant inflation. In 1984, the Fourth Labour Government was elected amid a constitutional and economic crisis.

The interventionist policies of the Third National Government were replaced by “Rogernomics”, a commitment to a free-market economy. Foreign policy after 1980 became more independent especially in pushing for a nuclear-free zone. Subsequent governments have generally maintained these policies, although tempering the free market ethos somewhat.

The Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi (Māori: Te Tiriti o Waitangi) is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs (rangatira) from the North Island of New Zealand. It has become a document of central importance to the history, to the political constitution of the state, and to the national mythos of New Zealand, and has played a major role in framing the political relations between New Zealand’s government and the Māori population, especially from the late-20th century.

The Treaty of Waitangi Documents

The Treaty of Waitangi Documents

The Treaty was written at a time when British colonists and the New Zealand Company (acting on behalf of large numbers of settlers and would-be settlers) were pressuring the British Crown to establish a colony in New Zealand, and when some Māori leaders had petitioned the British for protection against French incursions. It was drafted with the intention of establishing a British Governor of New Zealand, recognising Māori ownership of their lands, forests and other possessions, and giving Māori the rights of British subjects.

It was intended by the British Crown to ensure that when Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson subsequently made the declaration of British sovereignty over New Zealand in May 1840, the Māori people would not feel that their rights had been ignored.

Once it had been written and translated, it was first signed by Northern Māori leaders at Waitangi. Copies were subsequently taken around New Zealand and over the following months, many other chiefs signed.

Around 530 to 540 Māori, at least 13 of them women, signed the Treaty of Waitangi, despite some Māori leaders cautioning against it. An immediate result of the Treaty was that Queen Victoria’s government gained the sole right to purchase land.
In total there are nine signed copies of the Treaty of Waitangi, including the sheet signed on 6 February 1840 at Waitangi.

The text of the Treaty includes a preamble and three articles. It is bilingual, with the Māori text translated from the English.

Reconstruction of The Treaty of Waitangi

Reconstruction of The Treaty of Waitangi

Article one of the English text cedes “all rights and powers of sovereignty” to the Crown.
Article two establishes the continued ownership of the Māori over their lands and establishes the exclusive right of pre-emption of the Crown.

Article three gives Māori people full rights and protections as British subjects.
However, the English text and the Māori text differ in meaning significantly, particularly in relation to the meaning of having and ceding sovereignty.

These discrepancies led to disagreements in the decades following the signing, eventually contributing to the New Zealand Wars of 1845 to 1872.

During the second half of the 19th century Māori generally lost control of much of the land they had owned, sometimes through legitimate sale, but often due to unfair land-deals or through outright confiscations in the aftermath of the New Zealand Wars. In the period following the New Zealand Wars, the New Zealand government mostly ignored the Treaty, and a court-case judgement in 1877 declared it to be “a simple nullity”.

Beginning in the 1950s, Māori increasingly sought to use the Treaty as a platform for claiming additional rights to sovereignty and to reclaim lost land, and governments in the 1960s and 1970s responded to these arguments, giving the Treaty an increasingly central role in the interpretation of land rights and relations between Māori people and the state. In 1975 the New Zealand Parliament passed the Treaty of Waitangi Act, establishing the Waitangi Tribunal as a permanent commission of inquiry tasked with interpreting the Treaty, researching breaches of the Treaty by the British Crown or its agents, and suggesting means of redress.

In most cases, recommendations of the Tribunal are not binding on the Crown, but settlements totalling almost $1 billion have been awarded to various Māori groups. Various legislation passed in the later part of the 20th century has made reference to the Treaty, but the Treaty has never been made part of New Zealand municipal law.

Nonetheless, the Treaty has become widely regarded as the founding document of New Zealand.

The New Zealand government established Waitangi Day as a national holiday in 1974; each year the holiday commemorates the date of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.