Early New Zealand (Aotearoa) History
The Polynesian-Maori, are arguably the first people to first settle New Zealand, at least 1000 years ago. The first European visitor was the Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642.
It was not until the voyages of Captain James Cook in 1769 and 1779 that the islands were charted and explored. British settlers began to emigrate after British sovereignty was established in 1840, and the settlement of Wellington was founded soon afterwards.
New Zealand was granted internal self-government in 1852, and the later years of the century saw a rapid growth in investment, communications and agricultural production.
In 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to extend the vote to women. New Zealand became a Dominion in 1907, and its armed forces took part in both World Wars.
Membership of Western Alliances was suspended when Labour Prime Minister David Lange, elected in 1984, declared New Zealand nuclear-free and prevented US and British vessels which might be nuclear-powered or carrying nuclear weapons from entering New Zealand's ports. These policies put the small country on the international stage.
New Zealand is now respected as a Green-Zone, boasting clean and natural power generation from hydro, thermal, and renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.
New Zealand's natural beauty is a memory that will capture your soul. New Zealand is said, by the many people who come here each year, to be "the most beautiful country in the world!"
Lonely Planet rated New Zealand as the #1 tourist destination and highest visitor satisfaction.