New Zealand

Article

October 28, 2021

New Zealand (in Maori called Aotearoa (meaning Land of Long White Clouds); English: New Zealand, Latin: Nova Zeelandia) is an island nation in the southwest Pacific Ocean; about 1,500 kilometers southeast of Australia, across the Tasman Sea; and about 1,000 kilometers south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga. The country consists of two large islands (North Island and South Island) and several other smaller islands. Because of its remote location, New Zealand is the last archipelago to be inhabited by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity, both plant and animal. Most notable are the large number of unique bird species, many of which became extinct after the arrival of humans, and the mammals they brought with them. With a temperate maritime climate, mainland New Zealand is mostly forested. The country's varied topography, and sharp mountain peaks are strongly influenced by the tectonic protrusions of the land, and volcanic eruptions caused by the collision of the Pacific plate and the Indo-Australian plate beneath the earth's surface. Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 AD, and developed a distinct Māori culture, and Europeans began to establish relations with them in 1642 AD. The introduction of the potato and the musket sparked upheaval among fellow Māori in the early 19th century, leading to the Tribal Rifle Wars. In 1840 Britain and the Māori signed the Treaty of Waitangi which made New Zealand a colony of the British Empire. Immigrant numbers rose sharply, and conflicts led to the New Zealand Wars, which resulted in the expropriation of Māori lands in the center of the North Island. The economic downturn was followed by several periods of political reform, with women's voting rights being granted in the 1890s, and a welfare state being developed since the 1930s. After World War II, New Zealand joined Australia, and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty, although the United States, until 2010, suspended the treaty after New Zealand banned nuclear weapons. New Zealand is part of the intelligence cooperation among English-speaking countries, the UKUSA Agreement. New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1950s, but suffered a deep fall in the 1970s, exacerbated by the oil crisis and Britain's entry into the European Economic Community. The country then underwent major economic changes in the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist economy to a liberal free trade economy. The market for New Zealand's agricultural exports has diversified widely since the 1970s, with the once-dominant exports of wool being replaced by livestock, meat and wine products. The majority of New Zealand's population is of European descent; indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians, and non-Māori Polynesians. English, Māori and New Zealand sign language are the official languages, with English predominating. Much of New Zealand's culture is descended from Māori, and early settlers of British origin. Early European art was dominated by natural landscapes, as well as more minimal Māori portraits. A new revival of Māori culture has made their traditional arts of carving, weaving and tattooing more prominent. Many artists today combine Māori, and Western techniques to produce unique art forms. The country's culture has also expanded through globalization, and has increased immigration rates from the Pacific Islands

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