New Zealand


New Zealand History for Nurses

A nurse or doctor would be interested to know that 700 years ago New Zealand was discovered and settled by Polynesians. They who developed a particular Māori culture that was focussed on kinship links and land. Abel Janszoon Tasman was the first European to find the country in 1642. Sometime later in 1769, in the first of his three voyages Captain James Cook, reached New Zealand in October 1769 he went on to be the first European explorer to circumnavigate and map New Zealand.

From the late 18th century, the country was regularly visited by explorers and other sailors, missionaries, traders and adventurers. 1840 saw the Treaty of Waitangi signed between the British Crown and various Māori chiefs. This brought New Zealand into the British Empire and gave Māoris equal rights with British citizens. There was extensive British settlement throughout the rest of the century. War and the imposition of a European economic and legal system led to most of New Zealand’s land passing from Māori to European ownership, and most Māori subsequently became impoverished.

From the 1930s the economy was highly regulated and an extensive welfare state was developed. Meanwhile, Māori culture underwent a renaissance, and from the 1950s Māori began moving to the cities in large numbers. This led to the development of a Māori protest movement which in turn led to greater recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi in the late 20th century. In the 1980s the economy was largely deregulated and a number of socially liberal policies, such as decriminalisation of homosexuality, were put in place. Foreign policy involved support for Britain in the world wars, and close relations after 1940 with the United States and Australia. Foreign policy after 1980 became more independent especially in pushing for a nuclear-free region. Subsequent governments have generally maintained these policies.

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