The history of New Zealand is closely intertwined with the story of its first settlers. The ancestors of the Maori people were the first to arrive in New Zealand, likely between 1200 and 1300 A. D. They traveled by canoe from Hawaii, and were the first to establish a presence in the country.
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to see New Zealand, but it was the British who made it part of their empire. In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and the Maori. This agreement established British legislation in New Zealand and is considered to be the founding document of the country. The building where the treaty was signed has been preserved, and today, the Waitangi Treaty precinct is a popular tourist attraction. Under the leadership of British statesman Edward G.
Wakefield, the first British colonists arrived in New Zealand at Port Nicholson on the North Island. The exact year in which Kupe arrived in New Zealand, as well as when the “Grand Fleet” of Maori settlers arrived, is still being debated. Kupe refused to budge, but he did help draft the New Zealand Constitutional Act of 1852, which was designed to meet all of the demands of the colonists. In the mid-1840s, New Zealand's fledgling economy was depressed until the Australian gold rush of the 1850s offered a food market to both New Zealand farmers and settlers, as well as Maori. This period marked a significant turning point in New Zealand's history, as it allowed for further economic development and growth. The arrival of Maori settlers and British colonists in New Zealand marked a new era for this small island nation.
The Treaty of Waitangi established a framework for British rule in New Zealand and provided a platform for further economic growth. The gold rush of the 1850s provided an opportunity for both Maori and settlers to benefit from increased trade and commerce. Today, New Zealand is a thriving nation with a rich history that is still being explored.