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History - New Zealand

Captain James Cook EndeavourNew Zealand's first settlers were the Maori. They made an epic journey from Polynesia to New Zealand approximately 1000 years ago. Legend says that the great explorer Kupe first discovered New Zealand and named it Aotearoa, which means Land of the Long White Cloud.

The Dutch navigator Abel Tasman who came here in 1642, was the first documented European to discover New Zealand. He was in search of the fabled great southern continent. And then over 125 years later, Captain James Cook claimed New Zealand for Britain and produced a map.
waitangi treaty
Now with over a thousand years of human settlement, New Zealand's history is dominated by the relationship between Maori and Pakeha (Europeans).

In 1840 the Treat of Waitangi was signed between Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown. This is New Zealand's founding document and established the country as a nation. The Treaty was signed in Waitangi in the Bay of Islands, which is now one of the country's historic sites.



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