History of New Zealand
Seven hundred years ago, the Polynesians discovered a Maori culture, near Australia. By the 18th century, this newly ‘discovered’ land attracted the attention of explorers, missionaries and traders. The famous Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840, witnessed an understanding between the British Empire and the Maori chiefs. This not only made the land a part of the Empire, but also declared the Maories as having equal rights as the British citizens thereafter. However, the British were not the only ones, there were Europeans and Asians too who ahd filtered in and settled on the land. However, sadly, war and the ‘take-over’ of most of the Maori or New Zealand's land by the Europeans, saw the Maori’s becoming impoverished gradually.
In the light of the 1930s, the economy of New Zealand was once again regulated and the native Maori culture saw a renaissance. This change came with the immigration of the natives to the cities, in large numbers. However, with the passage of time things changed once more. In the 1980s, the economy of New Zealand was affected by a number of liberal social policies and the Foreign policy became more independent.
The Maori people of New Zealand have a distinct culture of their own. The language based evidence proves that the Moriori were in fact the mainland Maori natives who had ventured and settled in the east. The natives explored and exploited the game in New Zealand, which comprised of the large flightless bird called the moa. In time, the Maori culture was largely affected by the regional differences that crept in.
Soon, they developed and furthered the art of horticulture and differences increased in the name of competition for land and other resources.
The traditional Maoris passed down the native history orally, by way of narratives and songs. There were elders within the tribe who memorized and recited tribal genealogies and song compositions. The first ever map of New Zealand is credited to sea farer and adventurer Captain James Cook. The Dutch explorer Tasman is believed to have first arrived in New Zealand with his crew and anchored at the northern end of the islands. Later, the British naval captain James Cook visited the islands and from the trun of the eighteenth century, the islands were visited by the British, French and Americans.
With these interactions, many Maori natives converted to Christianity, and this change is largely credited to the Musket Wars and European contact. More and more European settled on the islands all through the early nineteenth century, mainly in the north. Although the Europeans bought land from the natives, basic misunderstandings about the concepts of land ownership led to conflict between the
natives and the foreigners.
The famous Treaty of Waitangi synonymous with the land was drawn up to persuade the native Maoris to give up their sovereignty and control to the British Crown. Even though there was a little initial
resistance, more than five hundred Maori natives eventually did sign and accept the treaty. The Treaty gave the British total control over the Maori lands and possessions. However, the exchange and
the true meaning and the intent of both parties within the treaty still remains an issue.