What wars has New Zealand fought?


New Zealand's history is short. In the past 1000 years, however, two different groups of people have made the islands their home as settlers. On the one hand there are the Polynesian Maori and on the other hand the European New Zealanders, who are also known under the Maori name “Pakeha”. New Zealand shares a lot of historical development with the rest of Polynesia and other European settler communities - but it also has many idiosyncrasies. The similarities make the differences (and vice versa) so interesting for the most part!


1000-1200: During this time the first Maori have probably dropped anchor in New Zealand. Archaeological finds see the arrival around 1200. It is assumed, however, that people in New Zealand had an influence on the environment much earlier.

1642: First European contact: The Dutch navigator Able Janszoon Tasman comes across the South Island on an expedition from Indonesia. After a skirmish with the Maori, he leaves New Zealand waters without ever having set foot in New Zealand. The name "New Zealand" has its origin here, named after the Dutch province of Zealand

1769: James Cook and Jean Surville land in New Zealand. Despite some bloody confrontations with the Maori, the European explorers come to an understanding with the locals and thus create the permanent link between New Zealand and the outside world.

1772: A French expedition led by Marion du Fresne lands in the Bay of Islands. After the initial friendship with the local Maori, however, there are bloody conflicts after the explorers oppose native traditions and religious laws (Maori Tapu).

1790’s: Whalers and sealers land in New Zealand. Contracts and agreements are negotiated between the Maori and the Europeans (if contact could be established).

1818-36: Musket wars between different Maori tribes are taking place. Tribes in possession of muskets win bloody battles against tribes that do not possess such weapons. The wars came to a halt in 1836, probably as a result of the even distribution of arms at that time.

1840:On February 6, the Waitangi Treaty is signed by 40 Maori tribal elders. The contract is considered to be the New Zealand state's birth certificate. Copies of the translation of the treaty were brought to all tribes in the country to collect signatures. New Zealand officially becomes a British colony.

1844: The young chief of the Ngapuhi tribe, Hone Heke, tests British sovereignty by first destroying the British flag in Russel and later winning all of Russel for himself. The "Northland War" dragged on until 1846.

1853-56: Provincial and central governments arise. In 1853 the first elections for the New Zealand parliament take place. The right to vote is severely restricted. Only adults, men, British and Maori are allowed to cast votes, although the votes for Maori are severely limited.

1860-61: The first Taranaki war begins. The cause is the sale of land to white settlers by the government in Waitara, which Maori tribes see as "robbing" their land. . Tribes from the Waikato region also participate in the war, although these are traditionally enemies of the tribes of the Taranaki region.

1861:Gabriel Read, an Australian, finds gold in Otago. The region's population swells from just 13,000 to over 30,000 in just six months.

1863-64: Waikato war. Up to 5000 Maori fight against 20,000 imperialist, colonial and "friendly" Maori. Despite surprising successes, the Maori are defeated and a lot of land is lost to the enemy

1865-69: The second Taranaki War is caused by the Maori resistance to further land revenue from the government. In this war, the Maori come very close to victory.

1868-72: After the suppression of the Waikato uprisings, the riot began on the east coast. The nature of the Maori resistance changed in that the wars were now fought from a religious point of view. The Hauhau movement played a leading role under its founder Te Ua Haumene. Another role played by Te Kooti, ​​who initially worked with the government to combat the Hauhau movement, but was exiled to the remote Chatham Islands in 1866 for collaboration. There he founded the sect "Ringatu". As a self-proclaimed Moses, he wanted to restore the promised land to the Maori. In 1868 he fled the island and killed 7O white and pro-government Maori with his supporters. He was never caught and has lived under the protection of Maori King Tawhiao since 1872; In 1883 he was pardoned by the government.

1882: The first freezer transport to England. Up until now, the transport of goods was mainly characterized by the wool industry. This new form of cargo shipping means that the export of meat and dairy products is now also possible. This is the early evolution to industry leadership for New Zealand.

1890: The liberal government is in control of developments in the country after a depression. An exemplary social policy is implemented under Prime Ministers Ballance and Seddon (the latter also known as "King Dick"), which makes New Zealand a pioneering role in the rest of the world.

1893: The right to vote for women is guaranteed. This is thanks to the initiative of Kate Sheppard, who fought with the government with petitions for years. New Zealand is the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.

1914-1918: New Zealand's involvement in World War I is amazing for a nation of just over a million people. Around 100,000 New Zealanders fight overseas and around 60,000 are killed, mostly on the western front in France

1935-1949: The first “Labor” government comes to power under the leadership of Michael Savage. This government builds New Zealand's first-ever version of a "wealthy" country and begins the foreign policy initiative.

1939-45:New Zealand troops support Great Britain in World War II, while hundreds of thousands of Americans arrive in New Zealand in 1942 to protect New Zealand from the Japanese.

1974:Under the "National" government, Pacific immigrants who do not have valid visas are subjected to brutal attacks by the immigration police, led by Robert Muldoon. These attacks lasted into the early 1980s.

1975:Waitangi Tribunal is established. Claims by Maori tribes against the government relating to non-compliance with the rights and privileges granted to them in the Waitangi Treaty are being investigated.

1981:The South African rugby tour divides the nation. Many New Zealanders take a strong anti-apartheid stand and protest against the games. Other New Zealanders are of the opinion that politics and sport should not be mixed and support the South African tour.

1984: The fourth “Labor” government is elected and decides on an anti-nuclear policy and a “more-market” economic policy. Social restrictions will be abolished as quickly as economic ones. Bars still close at 6 a.m. - but now in the morning instead of in the evening.

1985: The Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrier" is being sunk by French government officials in the port of Auckland to avoid its planned voyage to Moruroa, where the French government is operating a nuclear test program.

1992: Waikato Land Revenue.

1996:New Zealand is changing the electoral system from the two-party (FFP) system to the mixed-member (MMP) system. This system gives smaller parties like "the Greens" the opportunity to take on representative roles in government.

2004: Maori TV goes live. For the first time there is a television station that deals exclusively with topics related to New Zealand, the language and culture of the Maori.

2005: Helen Clark and the Labor Party to be re-elected for the third year in a row. The newly formed Maori Party has 4 seats in the government.

2008: The National Party with Prime Minister John Key wins the elections.

2017: The Labor Party with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wins the elections.