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The Europeans
in New Zealand

 The arrival of the Europeans to New Zealand was a little later than its neighbour Australia, which since 1770 were already building villas and bringing over thousands of convicts. New Zealand did not receive convicts, and the British Crown did not show much interest in it due to its remoteness (an Island more than 2000 km south east of Australia). 

The French were the first interested in sticking their flag in NZ soil. Missionaries invaded the country trying to convert the native people to the Christian bible, as they had done to many islands in the Polynesia before it. Maoris fought with Maoris and the situation began to become very complicated. That’s when Britain decided to get involved and devised the treaty of Waitangi in 1840, which governed the country. Even after the treaty was signed, for one year, the new colony was administered by the New South Wales government of Australia, and only in 1981 it became self administered

For a few years after the treaty was signed things were still complicated, as many Maori chiefs did not sign the treaty, or were not invited to sign the treaty. Maoris found it hard to define who was in charge of what and fought for power. At the same farmers in England held manifestations, unhappy with the politics relating to agriculture, and the division of land. That was until the day a brilliant man with the name of Edward Gibbon Wakefield had a great idea. Why don’t we send them to NZ?? .an immigration office called New Zealand company was opened to sign up all those who would agree to go. The British crown would sell land in New Zealand for the price of bananas, and the trip would be paid for. Many instantly accepted.

By 1860, sheep roamed happy and free across the green lands, but the Maoris were still not very happy with seeing their land and traditions being changed. That’s when a bloody war between Pakehas (white man) and Maoris started, a war which lasted 12 years. The Maoris almost had the last laugh, but the English occupied millions of acres of Maori land, and the treaty of Waitangi was turned into nothing but a forgotten paper locked in a draw. The hostilities lasted another 10 year. While this was happening the farmers were socially progressing and forming unions. In Otago in the south island, gold was discovered, which attracted even more English, as well as Germans, and Scandinavians. The country was taking shape, but the problems with the Maoris still needed to be resolved.

In 1876, an aristocratic Farmer, called Julius Vogel, was elected Treasurer, and further on became the prime minister. He decided to take some action, the first one being to abolish local government and provinces. New Zealand had no states and was one single entity. The second step was to make peace with the Maoris, returning lands which had been taken during war, and at the same time giving them all the equal rights of any other New Zealander. Everything became all right and the treaty came out of the draw.

The cross of many different species of sheep,   especially the Merino, had excellent results and the country was becoming an excellent producer of sheep wool and meat. Exports exploded with England being the biggest buyer. In 1907, New Zealand, by consensual agreement, became no longer an English colony. From then on it never stopped progressing, becoming one of the  best social regimes in the world, and recognized as a “Welfare State”. There were few indifferences, there were no rich or poor, only hard working people, working with the land, wit hits only enemy being its isolation. But this isolation made the kiwi into the creative people that they are today, having to invent and adapt everything on hand to survive. No other nation has produced so much, with such a little population than New Zealand. Today 74.5 % are of European origin.
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