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New Zealand Timeline of History

  • Around 1200 AD -

    The first history of New Zealand began about a thousand years ago when Kupe the explorer from the Maori(or iwi tribe)located the island from Polynesia. Kupe claimed to have located the island by the stars and his spiritual beliefs.Others followed to Aotearoa/New Zealand (meaning ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’). The Maori then set up a thriving society based on the iwi tribe.The Maori people were the first inhabitants of New Zealand and continue to be a part of the population today.
  • 1642-

    Europeans may have visited New Zealand as early as 1504, but The Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman, sighted the islands and was the first to ever document a visit. The Maori killed four of Tasman’s crew, to help to discourage further visits from foreigners. Tasman was chosen in 1642 by Anton van Diemen, to lead an important voyage of exploration in the southern hemisphere. Tasman was to travel through the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean to investigate the possibility of a sea passage to Chile and search for Terra Australis, a legendary continent thought to exist in the then largely unexplored southern hemisphere.On his journey Tasman continued east and sighted South Island,and sailed north along its western coast. Tasman continued along the coast of North Island, and then turned northeast
  • 1769-

    The 17th century was a time of curiosity for explorers who had sighted bits of what are known today as Australia and New Zealand, but their maps were sketchy, encouraging further exploration. The English explorer James Cook traveled southwest in search of these unknown lands and had a notable success.Cook circumnavigated the North and South islands of New Zealand, proving that it was not part of Australia. He also sailed the entire length of Australia’s eastern coast, which was never seen before by a European. Cook then claimed the land for Britain and named it New South Wales.
  • 1791-

    The 1870's was the mark of the British settlers from Australia establishing sealing and whaling stations in New Zealand. Sealing expeditions to the southern coasts and islands (where seals had survived Maori hunting) began.European contact and influence in 1790 to 1840 altered the Maori society in numerous ways. Plants and animals, notably potatoes and pigs, and metal tools made life on the islands more convenient.
  • 1818-1835-

    With introduction of European guns, the Musket Wars (1818-1835)emerged. Harsh intertribal conflicts that left thousands dead. These wars ended when muskets became evenly distributed among rival tribes. European-introduced diseases such as influenza and measles also took their toll on the Maori. Loss of life was substantial; the Maori population dropped from about 85,000 in 1769 to about 60,000 in the 1850's
  • 1840-1841

    British sovereignty was established by the Treaty of Waitangi, signed at Waitangi in February 6, 1840, and elsewhere later that year, by Maori with 512 collected signatures from chiefs.The treaty thereafter awknowledged New Zealand as a British colony. The city of Auckland was the first capital. British officials eventually , and on May 21, 1840, New Zealand’s North Island was declared a British colony. On the South Island though, it was a different story. The British did not collect enough signatures to establish a British colony by treaty. In June, the British officials then annexed the South Island and declared it part of the colony.The English-language version of the treaty differed from the Maori-language version in which; the English version granted Maori full British citizenship and guaranteed their property rights while it gave full sovereignty to Britain, while the Maori version, the Maori retained rights of chieftainship, which could be interpreted as at least partial sovereignty. These differing perceptions led to localized conflicts between British and Maori in the 1840s, but there was also a surprising degree of cooperation between the two peoples.
  • 1848-1850-

    European colonization of South Island began. Otago (modern Dunedin) and Canterbury (modern Christchurch) were founded.The New Zealand Company was a major organizer for the European colonization in the 1840s. It founded the towns of Wellington, Nelson, Wanganui, and New Plymouth by 1842; associated companies added Dunedin in 1848 and Christchurch in 1850
  • 1852-

    In 1852, New Zealand's 2nd constitution act was passed. Although the government it established was not put into action until 1856. The act allowed for the setting up fro a representative government.The representative government was for the first six provinces. A general assembly was also established.
  • 1858

    Maori tribal groups began holding large meetings on the subject in the early 1850's. They established a Maori pan-tribal organization. The Maori King Movement was established in 1858 to unite Maori and stop the sale of land to Europeans. Te Wherowhero was proclaimed the first Maori king, reigning as Potatau I.
  • 1860-

    Gold was discovered near present-day Dunedin. This and other gold deposits discovered in New Zealand during the 1860s attracted thousands of new settlers.This discovery in the South Island set off the gold rushes, in which large numbers of miners came from Australia and as far away as California to see if they could obtain some gold.Opportunity, individualism, and a pervasive “rush” mentality was the trend at this time in New Zealand.
  • 1865

    Auckland was the original capital of New Zealand. In 1865, the capital was moved to Wellington as a compromise between northern and southern governmentofficials. The central government gradually increased its hold on power at the local level by pushing aside its rivals. Their rivals were mainly Maori tribal leaders and provincial governments.
  • 1860-1872-

    The New Zealand Wars matched British and Maori forces against Maori tribes wanting to restrict land sales to the government.Waitara dispute develops into general warfare in Taranaki.War in the Waikato ends with battle of Orakau. Some Land in Waikato, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay was taken. away.
  • 1882-

    The very first shipment of frozen meat leaves Port Chalmers for England on the "Dunedin".New Zealand began shipping refrigerated agricultural products to Europe. This is another event in history which marks New Zealand's first acts as a food industrialized country.New Zealand continues on and makes food industrialization one of its major industries.
  • 1893-

    New Zealand became the first country to grant women's suffrage.Women in New Zealand were among the first in the world to gain suffrage. However, the the executives of the country failed to deliver the opportunities to expand.New Zealand suffragists united in the belief that women should have the vote as an 'undoubted right -not as a privilege but as a right'.
  • 1899-

    New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce the 8 hour working day. This revolutionized the working schedule for average citizens, and protected their rights. This day is known as Labour Day. Labour Day became a public holiday to celebrate this event in 1899.Labour day is also in effect all around the world due to New Zealand.
  • 1903-

    On March 31st, 1903, Richard Pearse flew his home constructed aircraft 150 yards.This could have possibly been the first flight in the world.This was earlier than the Wright brothers, who claimed to have been the first to fly. Although it was disputed, Richard Pearse was never proven as the true first person to ever fly.
  • 1912->

    The Reform Party, a conservative party, took power from the Liberals in 1912. The Reform Party was led by William Massey. William Massey served as prime minister from 1912 until 1925. His hard-line policy during a serious industrial crisis in 1912-1913 involved some violence.
  • 1914-1918-

    New Zealand participated all too willingly in World War I (1914-1918), by supplying 100,000 troops to the Allied forces. New Zealand forces suffered heavy losses in Europe during World War I, but the war assisted in promoting nationalism at home. Politicians and historians claim that the country earned full nationhood through this contribution, but the price was very high. 60,000 casualties out of a total population of barely more than 1 million. .
  • 1939-

    New Zealand entered World War II against Germany.New Zealand did not hesitate to support Britain. Another instance where New Zealand displayed and amazing war effort for a small country, mobilizing about 200,000 soldiers, sailors, and pilots. These forces were used mostly at Britain’s discretion. After Japan entered the war in 1941, New Zealand assisted the United States in its Pacific campaign, mostly through increased food and factory production. The New Zealand forces were active in all war theaters throughout the entire war.
  • 1951-

    The war strengthened New Zealand’s relationship with the United States, and led to increased trade and diplomatic connections.In 1951 the mutual-defense alliance of Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (ANZUS) was formed. This led to greater policy coordination between the three countries. The United States slowly replaced Britain as New Zealand’s major partner in international relations.
  • 1973-

    New Zealand's economy suffered greatly when its leading export market, Great Britain, joined the European Community (now the European Union)When Great Britain unified with the twelve other countries, New Zealand was crippled. This act meant that the exports New Zealand offered to Great Britain would not be bought and the country would suffer.Great Britain was a major trade partner.
  • 1984-

    The government barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from New Zealand ports.New Zealand has a "clean air" policy, so naturally the country would be against any form of nuclear substances. The country works hard to maintain its land's natural beauty. Another factor could be fear, the fear of anything that dangerous near them.
  • 1986-

    The United States suspends its defense obligations to New Zealand over the nuclear ban.This act just shows the American power, yet disrespect for New Zealand's wishes. This displays that New Zealand itself is a weak power.There was also goods and services tax introduced on nearly everything, simultaneously with substantial reductions and simplification in income tax.
  • 1993-

    New Zealand voters approved the replacement of a majority vote electoral system with one of proportional representation.Also in the 1993 elections, a national referendum was held on whether New Zealand should retain its majority-vote electoral system or replace it with a system of proportional representation. This representation is known as the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system. The MMP system was seen as a way to limit the dominance of the two largest parties, by making it more difficult for either party to win a simple majority, forcing them to form coalitions with smaller parties
  • 1997-

    A challenge from Jenny Shipley, former minister of social welfare, forced Bolger to resign as prime minister and head of the National Party in 1997. Shipley replaced him in November of that year, and then Jenny Shipley became New Zealand's first woman prime minister.More women would follow in Shipley's footsteps, but Jenny Shipley set a standard for women in government. This notable event marks a change in society in general, and we should look forward to more females in office. Jenny Shipley was the first female to ever hold the prime minister posistion.