History of New Zealand

New Zealand was discovered by the Maori people 700 years ago when they got into the country from Polynesia. The Maori ancestors were exploring the pacific at that time as they followed the ocean waves, winds and the stars. 

Dutch Explorer

In 1642, the first Dutch explorer by the name Abel Tasman arrived in New Zealand. His pronunciation of the word Nieuw Zeeland made people refer to the country with a Dutch accent. 127 years later, Captain James Cook, a British citizen visited New Zealand. He would go back home and then come back to the country and after his third trip, European whalers & sealers became regular visitors. Traders followed suit and with time, the number of British settlers increased greatly. 


By 1830, there was intense pressure on the British government to stop lawlessness in New Zealand. The British were also working hard to stop the French who wanted to make New Zealand their colony. In 1840, William Hobson, who was New Zealand’s 1st Governor convinced the Maori Chiefs to enter into a treaty with the British. Over 500 chiefs throughout the state signed the agreement which is today referred to as the Waitangi Treaty.

European Settlers

European settlers put the Maori people under intense pressure to sell land to them which eventually led to a war break out in North Island. After twenty years of fighting, most of the Maori land was taken or purchased by the Europeans. The South Island grew economically and more people settled there. There was an increase in sheep farming in the extensive grasslands and eventually, Canterbury emerged as the wealthiest province in New Zealand. 

In 1861, a gold mine was discovered in Otage which pushed Dunedin to become the largest town in New Zealand. By 1870, more British citizens settled in the country which led to the emergence or expansion of new towns. 

New Zealand entered in the history books as the first country to allow women to vote. It is also in New Zealand that workers began to enjoy a state pension and housing.

2nd World War

During the 2nd world war, New Zealand troop helped the UK troops but when Singapore fell, they lost their confidence in British. They felt that Britain could no longer guarantee their security. The US troops guarded New Zealand against Japan’s invasion during the pacific war.

In 1877, there was the introduction of free and compulsory education in the country. This was a great move as the children could afford to go to school and safeguard their future without paying for it.

New Zealand became a dominion nation in 1907. In 1930, however, the country suffered from an economic depression just like any other country. A lot of people lost their source of livelihood but between a935 and 1949, the government made some social reforms.


New Zealand gained its complete independence from the British in 1947 and the National Party took over power between 1949 and 1949. The Labor took over power yet again between 1957 and 1960. During this time, the population in New Zealand continued to grow. In 1975, there was a signing of the Waitangi Treaty that sought to look into the Maori land claim. 

New Zealand has continued to grow despite the many political and economic challenges. Today, the country mostly depend on agriculture especially sheep farming. They also grow and export crops like barley, apples, kiwi fruits, and wheat, among others.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email