The Populating of New Zealand
There are many myths and legends surrounding New Zealand’s history, but what is certain is that Maori settled in the country long before the arrival of the Europeans. It is generally believed that Kupe, an explorer from Hawaiki, accompanied by a small group of others in canoes discovered the country about AD800. The country was named Aotearoa, which means the Land of the Long White Cloud, and soon more fleets of canoes brought not only people but dogs, rats, kumura and other introduced foods and animals to the country. These original settlers lived in tribes, called iwi, and soon learned to live comfortably in the new land. These early Maori were warriors, and tribal wars were common.
The population was undisturbed for over 300 years until 1642, when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman arrived on the west coast of the country. He christened it Nieuw Zeeland, after the province of Zeeland from his own country, but Tasman’s stay was short lived and his contact with the population at the time ended in a number of his crew being killed. Some hundred years later, in 1769, the British explorer Captain James Cook sailed around New Zealand. With the help of his Tahitian interpreter, Cook had the opportunity to explore the country on much friendlier terms than Tasman.
The first European settlers, named Pakeha by the Maori, arrived in the form of traders, looking to make their fortunes from the natural resources of New Zealand. The practice of exchanging firearms for goods paved the way for ever more deadly battles between Maori tribes, but armed warfare was not the only thing the settlers imported into the country; they also brought other social problems in the form of disease and prostitution.
Next came the missionaries, intent on bringing Christianity to the country. The first missionary church was established by Samuel Marsden in 1814, in an area heavily populated by Pakeha.
By the late 1830s, British intervention in New Zealand was becoming stronger, and eventually lead to the signing of a famous treaty, now referred to as The Treaty of Waitangi. Much has been written about the treaty, and it remains a heavily debated issue even to this day.
Meanwhile, colonisation continued on the South Island due to the discovery of gold and developments in farming. The North Island wasn’t long behind as Wellington was named capital of the country in 1865. In 1947, New Zealand became fully independent, although clear signs of its connection with Britain still remain.
- According to Maori legend, which explorer landed in New Zealand first?
- When did the first settlers arrive?
- What is the Maori name for New Zealand?
- What is the Maori word for tribe?
- When did Tasman arrive on the shores of New Zealand?
- What did he name the country?
- Who arrived in 1769?
- What nationality was his interpreter?
- What did early European settlers exchange firearms for?
- When did British involvement in New Zealand become noticeable?
- What two factors made settlers go to the South Island?
- What happened in 1865?
- When did New Zealand become independent?
Scroll down to see the answers:
- Nieuw Zeeland
- Captain James Cook
- Gold and developments in farming
- Wellington became the capital