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    New Zealand History
    Source: The New Zealand High Commision in Canada

    Kaipara North Light House


    c1300 Polynesian settlement established according to archaeological evidence.
    1642 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman discovers part of the coast of what was later named Nieuw Zeeland.
    1769 Captain James Cook makes first visit to New Zealand, charting the coast and claiming it in the name of King George III.
    1790’s- onwards, sealing, whaling, timber and flax trades begin, sheep, cattle, horses poultry and new plants introduced.
    Early 1800’s mission stations begin to be established, muskets more widely introduced giving rise to a series of wars among the iwi (tribes).
    1833 James Busby arrives in Bay of Islands after his appointment as British Resident in New Zealand.
    1835 Declaration of Independence by the United Tribes of New Zealand signed by some 34 Northern chiefs.
    1840 Treaty of Waitangi signed between the vast majority (nearly 500) of Maori Chiefs and Governor Hobson on behalf of Queen Victoria. British sovereignty proclaimed.
    1852 NZ Constitution Act passed setting up a General Assembly and the first six provinces with a form of representative government.
    1859 Gold rushes start in Buller.
    1860 Land wars start with Maori in Taranaki and main conflicts end in Waikato in 1864 with extensive confiscation's of tribal lands.
    1867 Four Maori seats created in Parliament and all Maori men over 21 get the vote, possibly the first extension of the franchise without a property barrier in the world (Pakeha (white) men got the vote in 1879).
    1870 Last Imperial forces leave New Zealand, Vogel Government starts major public works, railways and immigration programmes which lead to arguments with some provinces.
    1876 The provinces are abolished by vote in the legislature.
    1877 Education Act establishes a national system of education to be free, secular and compulsory.
    1886 Mount Tarawera erupts, killing 153 people and destroying world renowned pink and white terraces.
    1893 All women were allowed to vote.
    1894 Compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes and reform of employment laws.
    1898 Old Age Pension Act passed.
    1908 Father of the atom, Ernest Rutherford, is awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry and New Zealand’s population reaches one million.
    1909 Stamp vending machine invented and manufactured in New Zealand.
    1914-18 Heavy losses in the First World War (Passchendaele 3,700 New Zealanders killed). Six p.m. closing introduced to pubs and draught beer alcohol content reduced. The influenza epidemic killed an estimated 8,500 in New Zealand.
    1915 New Zealand forces take part in Gallipoli campaign.
    1919 Returning soldiers just tip the vote against prohibition. Prime Minister Massey signs the Treaty of Versailles rather than the British on behalf of New Zealand
    1929 Depression deepens and 1930 Unemployment Board set up for relief work.
    1935 First Labour Government elected in New Zealand. State housing programme launched. Working week reduced to 40 hours.
    1938 Social Security Act establishes revised old age pensions and a national health service.
    1939 Second World War, results in New Zealanders participating in nearly every theatre of the war suffering possibly the highest casualty rates per capita of any participant.
    1945 New Zealand founder member of the United Nations.
    1946 Universal Family Benefit of one pound a week.
    1947 New Zealand Parliament adopts the Statute of Westminster recognising New Zealand as a fully independent state, although owing allegiance to the British King.
    1948 Protest campaign against the exclusion of Maori rugby players from rugby tour of South Africa (Maori later declared honorary whites but protests got worse).
    1950 Upper House of Parliament abolishes itself (Government appoints enough new members who were known as the "suicide squad"). New Zealand naval and ground forces go to Korea. Boom in wool prices.
    1951 Protracted 151 day waterfront dispute destroys many strong nation-wide unions.
    1952 Population reaches two million.
    1953 First tour by a reigning monarch. Edmund Hillary and sherpa Tenzing Norgay first to climb Mount Everest. 151 die in train wreck caused by volcanic lahar from Mt Ruapehu.
    1960 Regular television programmes (black and white) begin in Auckland
    1961 Capital punishment abolished.
    1965 New Zealand/Australia Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed. New Zealand sends troops to Vietnam and protests begin.
    1967 Referendum allows hotels to open to 10/11 p.m.
    1968 Roll-on roll-off ferry Wahine sinks in harbour entrance storm, 51 die.
    1969 Vote for 20 year olds.
    1973 UK joins the EEC, New Zealand has to negotiate entrance for butter/cheese/meat. Population reaches three million.
    1975 Waitangi Tribunal established to start long process of resolving Maori claims for lost lands and taonga (treasures).
    1979 Air New Zealand plane crashes on Antarctic Mt Erebus, 257 die.
    1981 South African rugby tour brings widespread social disruption and violence.
    1982 Closer Economic Relationship (CER) signed with Australia, described internationally as one of the "cleanest" free trade agreements in the world. One year long wage and price and rent freeze imposed, but lasts until 1984.
    1984 Labour Party under David Lange wins snap election and Finance Minister Roger Douglas starts de-regulation and other major reforms to turn-round.the economy.
    1985 Anti-nuclear policy leads to refusal of an American warship visit. French secret service agents charged with manslaughter after bombing of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour.
    1986 Goods and Services Tax introduced on nearly everything, simultaneously with substantial reductions and simplification in income tax.
    1987 Labour Government was re-elected. New Zealand’s first heart transplant. New Zealand wins World Rugby Cup. Share prices plummet 60 percent in four months.
    1990 New Zealand celebrates its 150th birthday. Privatisation of major government enterprises continues as does world wide economic downturn. National government under Jim Bolger elected.
    1992 Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission set up to administer fisheries assets on behalf of Maori, one third of the commercial fishing quota also transferred to Maori hands through Sealord Agreement.
    1991 Employment Contracts Act passed, effectively ending compulsory unionism. Unemployment reaches 200,000 and starts to drop.
    1993 National Government re-elected.
    1995 New Zealand wins America’s Cup. The Queen in person assented to the Act offering an apology and major compensation under the Waikato Raupatu Settlement (Tainui Agreement), the first of the large Maori iwi settlements under the latest Waitangi Treaty claims legislation.
    1996 Heads of Agreement reached between the Crown and the Ngai Tahu iwi concerning Treaty claims affecting virtually the whole South Island. Coalition Government under Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters elected under proportional representation system ("MMP"). Unemployment down to six percent, Government in surplus for third year.
    1997 Jim Bolger resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by New Zealand's first woman Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley.  Nga Tahu iwi signs a $170 million land settlement with the Crown.  After New Zealand hosted peace talks, the Defence Force supervise opposing Bougainville groups in Papua New Guinea reaching a truce agreement.   National population increased 7% since 1991 to 3.6 million.  The Auckland Skytower is opened.
    1998 Auckland city businesses hit by major power outs, resulting in an inquiry into Mercury Energy . New Zealand dollar drops below .50 cents US mark for the first time in 12 years.
    1999 New Zealand sends peacekeeping troops into East Timor. Auckland hosts APEC World Leaders Conference, attended by US President Bill Clinton. Former PM. Mike Moore becomes Head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Labour Leader Helen Clark becomes first elected female Prime Minister.

    NOTE: The information regarding New Zealand on this page is re-published from The New Zealand High Commission in Canada. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of New Zealand History information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about New Zealand History should be addressed to The New Zealand High Commission in Canada.

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    Revised 26-Jul-02
    Copyright © 2001 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)