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A Brief History
of New Zealand

  It was between the years of 900 e 1200, that fishermen and hunters from the west of Polynesia arrived in the land of Aotearoa, which in Maori means “Land of long white clouds”. These trips were made with careful planning. They travelled by wooden canoes with a double hull, much like a catamaran, called Pahi. They didn’t come from only one island, but many islands. While in New Zealand they hunted the Moa, a giant bird similar ostrich, only 3 times it size. The Moa eggs were very appreciated, and would have made a nice giant omelette probably capable of feeding and entire tribe. The bones were used for art and crafts such as carvings and necklaces. The Maoris established themselves in various areas of both the North and South islands, living in tribes, with its respective chiefs and traditions.

In 1642, the Dutch Abel Tasman, navigated east of the South Island when he saw land. He though it was a continent and gave it the name of Staten Land, he decided to map it, only to discover that it was nothing other than an island, and so he changed the name to Nieuw Zeeland. He was very excited and happy to have discovered it, and order his crew to get off the ship and go explore the land. He was about to get off the boat as well when the Maoris attacked. It was a gruesome and delicious battle, since in those times the Maoris were cannibals. Abel managed to escape turning into soup, and never actually set foot in his beautiful Nieuw Zeeland. It was only around 125 year later that the intrepid Captain Cook arrived. Because he did not speak the language of Abel, he decide to change the name to New Zealand.

In 1769, Cook was able to put his feet carefully on New Zealand without being eaten, and he returned 2 times with the same luck. For a long time New Zealand was in the middle of various conflicts. Whale hunting by Americans, French, and Chinese were ramped, and conflicts between Maoris and Whale hunters were routine. Rivalry between various Maori tribes were also increasing. Muscats which were brought over by the Whalers, were exchanged for fresh ingredients. The differences in fire power between tribes made them fight more and more, and killing much of the population. At the same time missionaries tried to interfere by wanting get everyone to make peace, while the French wanted to keep the island for themselves. The situation was chaotic until Britain decided to put an end to the anarchy, and convinced the Maori leaders to sign a treaty.

The treaty of Waitangi was celebrated on the 6th of February 1840. The principal terms in this agreement were: 1) The Maoris would continue to be the owners of the land and surroundings coastline. 2) The Maoris would except a new colonial government, including the right to buy Maori land, and all transaction of purchases of land would go through the government. 3) Recognition of the Queen by the Maori. 4) the Maoris would have all the privileges of any colonizers. 5) All Maori land which were taken or irregularly bought before the treaty would be given back to the Maoris. The treaty included much more than those simple points. The most important points however were to do with the land, in which the English would have to purchase them, instead of imply taking them. In relation to power, the Maori chiefs would continue to have power of their respected tribes and traditions, but would have to obey all new laws and a governor general. The Treaty of Waitangi is still in effect to this day, and apart from being respected, it is still celebrated every year. 

After the treaty everything calmed down, and New Zealand started to concentrate more in its agriculture and cattle raising. NZ turned into one of the biggest exporter of Lamb meat in the world, as well as number one in sheep wool exports. In 1893, parliament is well consolidated, and for the first time in the world, women were allowed to vote in national elections, and Maoris were able to get strong representation in Parliament. Although having a small population and being far away from many markets, New Zealand started to get known internationally.New Zealand’s Independence was on the 26th of September 1907, freeing it self financially from Great Britain, and forming its own government, flag and laws. Although the British crown (including the Governor General) remained an integral part of NZ, it could no longer interfere with the decisions of the country. The independence saw no rebellion or extreme acts, but a state of transition, which occurred naturally in a mature and friendly way.

In the two world wars together with allied forces, New Zealand gave its support by sending their troops. It was during WWI in Gallipoli, Turkey, that NZ suffered the greatest loses. The ANZACs “Australia and New Zealand Army Corps” are to this day recognized for their importance in changing the destiny of the war. Once a year on ANZAC day (a public holiday) the ANZACs are honoured, a day o remembrance for those who lost their lives during war. New Zealand has declared it self Nuclear free, and does not posses any nuclear weapons or nuclear plants. In the recent conflict with Iraq, New Zealand did not choose to send any troops, and only provided logistical support.Today, New Zealand takes great duty of care for the well being of its small population. One of the great changes from the past can be seen in the public sector, where it was found that many government services could be done better by private companies. most of the government sectors are administered by private organizations. The government establishes a budget for each sector, and hands out the money to the contracted organizations. If the company that has been contracted does not perform or keep to their obligations, it is simply replaced for another.

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