Probably the Maoris from Polynesia in the
Pacific came to New Zealand between the 800s and 1200s.
The Europeans became known to the Europeans in 1642. In
the 19th century, whalers and missionaries arrived, and
in a treaty in 1840 the Maoris recognized the British
crown's supremacy. Despite the promise of protection of
Maori land rights, the British forcibly took over the
best land, and in diseases and battles more than halved
the number of Maori. New Zealand introduced female
suffrage in 1893.
It is unclear exactly when and how the Moorish
indigenous people came to New Zealand - or Aotearoa (the
land of the long white cloud) as it is called in the
Maori language. They probably came from eastern
Polynesia in rounds between the 8th and 13th centuries.
According to a Moorish legend, New Zealand was
discovered by the Polynesian sailor Kupe, who arrived in
the islands after following an octopus out to sea.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of New Zealand, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
For Europeans, New Zealand first became known when
Dutchman Abel Tasman, on behalf of the East India
Company, crossed the west coast of the islands in 1642.
Dutch authorities gave the country its name after the
province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. Just over 100
years later, the British explorer James Cook landed,
exploring the coasts of the country in 1769-1770. Cook
met a Maori people who were divided into several
self-governing tribes, who often fought bloody battles
against each other. The Europeans gave the Maori iron
tools in exchange for food.
In the 1790s, European seal and whale catchers began
to establish themselves on the New Zealand coasts and
after the turn of the century New Zealand became the
basis for the whale and seal hunting in the Antarctic
waters. With the whalers came the missionaries, and both
Protestants and Catholics set up mission stations. In
the mid-19th century, most Maoris were considered
War between Maoris and colonizers
The settlers' demands on land created constant
conflicts between Maoris and Europeans. Through the
Waitangi Treaty of 1840, the Maoris recognized the
British crown's supremacy over New Zealand, and in
return the British would protect the Maoris and
guarantee their right to land. The Waitangi Treaty was
signed by many, but far from all, Maori rulers. Soon a
dispute arose as to how the agreement should be
interpreted and the result was long-standing wars
between the colonizers and the Maoris on the North
Island. The war resulted in the deaths of about 1,800
Maoris and about 800 Europeans, and British victories
took control of much of the Maoris' land, often the best
As a result of European diseases and the use of the
new firearms in the tribal war, the number of Maoris
decreased rapidly. At the arrival of the Europeans,
there were between 100,000 and 250,000 Maoris on the
islands. By the end of the 19th century, they were just
In 1852, the British colony gained limited autonomy
and from the decade thereafter, when gold was found on
the South Island, immigration increased. The development
of the North Island was halted by the fighting with the
Maoris, but on the South Island sheep breeding began to
gain momentum. Particularly important was the
development of cooling technology. In 1882, for the
first time, a cargo of meat and dairy products went to
To the United Kingdom, growing quantities of wool,
meat, butter and cheese were brought, and in exchange
for these products, New Zealand up to the 1950s received
almost everything the country needed for industrial
Voting rights for Maoris
In 1867, the Maoris gained voting rights and four
seats in parliament. The first prominent Maori
politicians were all academics trained in a Western
Towards the end of the 19th century, a number of
social reforms were implemented that laid the foundation
for a welfare state. New Zealand introduced female
voting rights in 1893. It was also legislated on shorter
working hours, national pensions and mandatory mediation
in labor disputes.
As a British colony, New Zealand participated in both
world wars with great losses, especially 1914-1918.
The 1935 election led the Labor Party to power for
the first time. A radical political program was
launched: housing, road and rail construction began,
40-hour work week and free health care were introduced,
and trade union membership became mandatory for all
employees. The farmers were guaranteed a fixed price for
butter and cheese. At the same time, through special
laws, the Maoris were allowed to become small farmers on
better terms than before. The reforms were financed,
among other things, by raising taxes.
Entry bans have consequences
New Zealand and Fiji again expel each other's
diplomats due to New Zealand introducing an entry ban on
Fiji's military leadership.
Minister sentenced to prison for corruption
Former Labor Minister Taito Phillip Field is
sentenced to six years in prison for corruption,
including as a minister who has given benefits to Thai
immigrants who worked for free on his private property.
People vote for children's era
In a referendum on whether it should be allowed to
shower for their children or not, 88 percent of New
Zealanders vote for it to be allowed.
Control back over the railroad
The government has entered into an agreement with a
private company consortium to buy back control of the
rail network and ferry connections in the country. In
1993, the then Nationalist Party government had sold the
Income tax is lowered
The government is implementing a promised reduction
in income tax.
Unusually sharp decline in GDP
New figures show that the last quarter of 2008 saw
the sharpest GDP decline in 17 years.
Tight relations with Fiji
A quarrel erupts with Fiji since the military
government there decided to postpone the planned
democratic elections. The countries exhibit one
another's highest diplomats.
Labor gets new leader
Helen Clark resigns as Labor Party leader and is
replaced by Phil Goff.
Elections lead to a shift in power
The Nationalist Party wins the parliamentary election
after nine years of Labor rule. Party leader John Key
becomes prime minister.
The country is suffering from negative growth
New Zealand's economy is shrinking for the first time
in ten years, mainly as a result of reduced exports in
the global financial crisis.