New Zealand History

New Zealand History

Settlement and colonization

Traces of Maori settlement are archaeologically documented from the middle of the 14th century. The myths of the Maori tell of a Polynesian settlement between the middle and the end of the 1st millennium AD. In 1642 the Dutch navigator A. Tasman sighted the west coast of New Zealand. Dutch cartographers first named the country “Staten Landt”, later “Nieuw Zeeland” after a province in their homeland. In October 1769, the English explorer J. Cook set foot on New Zealand soil near Gisborne. While circumnavigating the North Island (1769–70), he found the Strait of the Sea, which was later named after him (Cook Strait) between North and South Island. Seal hunting stations were established in the 1790s and whaling stations were established in the first half of the 19th century. The Colonia Council sent James Busby (* 1802, † 1871) to New Zealand in 1833, who was supposed to show presence as a winegrower and British representative to the French who were also interested in this country. With his significant contribution, the Waitangi Treaty was signed in 1840by the representative of the British Crown and Maori chiefs of the North Island. In May 1840 the proclamation of British sovereignty over both islands of New Zealand followed. In 1841 they became a crown colony. The Constitution Act (1852) gave them internal self-government and in 1856 a first government. The administrative seat was from 1841 Auckland, from 1865 Wellington. The Māori fought against the loss of land and the threat to their culture from the Europeans called “Pākehā”, but also frequently waged tribal wars among themselves. They were severely decimated in the bloody battles (especially 1845–47 and 1860–72) and by diseases that were brought in. For the first time in 1867, the British government approved the Māori in the Native Representation Act four seats in the parliament created in 1853. Visit for beach holidays in Oceania.

Gold discoveries on the South Island triggered a gold rush from 1861 onwards. Until the end of the 19th century, the economic focus was on the South Island. The Dunedin region was then the economic center. The economic upswing in the 1870s, under the Finance Minister and later Prime Minister Julius Vogel (* 1835, † 1899) came about with the help of private and foreign capital, among other things, led to a strong immigration from Europe (especially from the British motherland). The boom was followed by a long depression in the 1880s, forced by an international economic crisis. The economic and social problems (unemployment, high national debt, hunger for land) were alleviated and partially resolved by the Liberal Party under the governments it led from 1891–1912 through legislative measures: labor legislation, regulation of land rights, 1893 women’s suffrage, 1898 securing old-age pensions, etc.

From Dominion to independence

In 1907 New Zealand became the Dominion in the British Commonwealth. In 1912 the Reform Party came to power under William F. Massey (* 1856, † 1925). In 1915 the Liberals entered the Massey cabinet (until 1919). At the First World WarNew Zealand troops participated jointly with Australian organizations on the side of Britain and the Allied Powers in Europe (at Gallipoli, in Flanders and northern France). ANZAC Day, which is celebrated annually on April 26th in New Zealand and Australia, honors those who fell in the First World War. From 1925–28 Joseph Gordon Coates (* 1878, † 1943; Reform Party) was Prime Minister, followed from 1928–30 by the liberal Joseph Ward (* 1856, † 1930)). A government led by the liberal politician George William Forbes (* 1869, † 1947) since 1930, which from 1931 was based on a coalition of liberals and reform parties, sought to combat the consequences of the global economic crisis with deflationary means. After its election victory in 1935, the Labor Party determined political events in New Zealand until 1949 with Prime Ministers M. J. Savage (1935-40), P. Fraser (1940-49). They created a social system that lasted for decades (Social Security Act 1938).

New Zealand followed the basic lines of British foreign policy until World War II. It was not until 1943 that a separate Department of External Affairs was created. After the outbreak of war, New Zealand units fought under British command in Greece, Italy and North Africa, and since 1941/42 under American command in the Pacific. The war events in the Pacific region, the collapse of the British Empire and the spread of communism after the Second World War led to an increasingly independent foreign policy for New Zealand. In close ties with Australia and the USA, the focus was now on the Pacific and East Asian regions (including the Canberra Pact with Australia 1944, founding member of the Colombo Plan 1950, the ANZUS Agreement 1951, SEATO 1954, South Pacific Forum 1971, APEC 1989). It was not until 1947 that New Zealand, which was a founding member of the UN in 1945, adopted the Statute of Westminster (1931), which recognized the sovereignty of the Dominions and their full equality, thereby confirming New Zealand’s independence. New Zealand troops took part in the Korean War (1950-53) as part of UN contingents and fought against British ideas on the American side in the Vietnam War.

From the welfare state to structural change

On the basis of the welfare state created by the Labor Party and the export of agricultural products, the National Party succeeded in ensuring a high standard of living for the population for more than two decades. The government of R. Muldoontried the growing economic difficulties in the 1970s (including a decline in exports)(1975–84) to be remedied by accelerated industrialization, subsidies, v. a. in agriculture, and increased capital inflows from overseas. In its 1984-1989 government, the Labor Party implemented a profound structural change: deregulation, reform of financial and tax legislation, liberalization of foreign trade, privatization of public institutions, cancellation of subsidies, reform of the health and education system and administration. The National Party declared New Zealand a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in 1984 and closed the ports to warships carrying nuclear weapons, which led to conflict with the United States. After Labor was temporarily in power, the National Party took over again in 1990-97 under Prime Minister JB Bolger .

In an agreement of May 1995, it was decided, for the first time in New Zealand’s history, to return state-owned land (15,782 ha) that the former colonial power had appropriated in the 19th century to the Māori. As a result, a compensation contract was signed with the indigenous people in 1997 and another contract in 2008 for the return of 176,000 hectares of land on the North Island and the payment of the outstanding rent.

In December 1997, Jenny Shipley (* 1952; National Party) was sworn in as New Zealand’s first female Prime Minister. After the Labor Party’s electoral success in 1999, H. Clark became Prime Minister (until 2008).

New Zealand History

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