The Youngest Country

New Zealand, the Youngest Country
Legend has it that New Zealand was fished from the sea. Fact has it that New Zealand was the last land mass on earth to be discovered, making New Zealand the youngest country on earth. 

Nation of Migrants
The first New Zealanders, the Maori, migrated here from their ancestral Polynesian homeland of Hawaiki. This was followed about 800 years later by extensive European migration. The influence of Pacific Island and Asian immigrants during the 20th century has helped shape New Zealand into an even more vibrant and diverse multicultural society.

From Hawaiki to Aotearoa
Maori first landed in Aotearoa (New Zealand literally, Land of the Long White Cloud) on waka hourua (voyaging canoes) from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki probably over 1,000 years ago. They settled throughout the land, surviving by farming and hunting. By 1800 there were believed to be over 100,000 Maori in New Zealand.

European Migration
Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand, but it was after Captain James Cook began his circumnavigation of the country in 1769 that European migration began. The first European migrants were whalers and missionaries. 

One Nation 
In 1839 there were only about 2000 Pakeha ( Europeans) in New Zealand. However the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, which saw New Zealand become a British colony, had an enormous effect on the New Zealand population. British migrants were offered a paid passage to New Zealand, and 40,000 arrived here between 1840 and 1860. By 1858 the Maori and Pakeha populations were nearly equal. The South Island gold rush of the 1860s saw even more migrants flood in from around the world, including English, Scots, Irish and Chinese. A labour shortage here in the late 19th century saw even more migrants from the British Isles and Europe come to New Zealand. Most came with assistance from the New Zealand Government.

Wine and Gum
From the 1890s over 5000 migrants from Dalmatia (now in Croatia) settled in the far north. Most Dalmatians worked in the gumfields, digging for gum from the giant kauri tree. When gumdigging ceased, many Dalmatians become involved with farming, intermarrying with locals and becoming part of the rural community. Dalmatian immigrants also established vineyards in West Auckland in the early 1900s. Today, some of New Zealand's best-known wines, including Babich and Pleasant Valley, come from vineyards established by Dalmatians in this area.

Kilt Country
During the mid and late 1800s a large number of Scottish migrants settled in New Zealand, especially in the South Island provinces of Otago and Southland. Dunedin (from Dun Edin, the old Celtic name for Edinburgh) is the capital of Otago. It was designed as a city for members of the Free Church of Scotland, which broke away from the Church of Scotland in 1843. The Scottish influence can still be seen throughout the city's architecture, particularly in the University and Medical School. Pipes bands, Scottish country dancing, and the sport of curling are all pastimes originally brought to New Zealand by Scottish migrants, but now firmly part of the New Zealand way of life. 

Golden Migrants 
As well as bringing in large numbers of miners from Europe, Australia, and America, the Otago gold rush attracted many male migrants from China. In the country they called New Gold Hill, many Chinese migrants suffered hardship, discrimination and loneliness. Many of the descendants of these miners, and subsequent Chinese migrants, became market gardeners. During World War II, Chinese market gardeners heroically contributed to the war effort, producing massive amounts of food for troops. 

Dutch Migration
Abel Tasman, who sighted New Zealand in 1642, was the first Dutchman to visit New Zealand. In the 1950s an agreement between the Dutch and New Zealand governments saw a large number of Dutch migrants settle throughout New Zealand. Dutch migrants brought many skills with them, and made a major contribution to the development of the New Zealand restaurant, horticulture (particularly flower growing), building design, and fashion industries. Today, about 100,000 New Zealanders can claim Dutch descent. Thanks to Dutch migrants, New Zealand currently exports tulip bulbs to the Netherlands!

Pacific Friends
During the 1960s and 70s New Zealand faced a severe labour shortage. This led to a large number of migrants from the Pacific Islands arriving in New Zealand, especially in Auckland. Pacific Islanders now make up more than 5 percent of the New Zealand population, and Auckland is now the largest Polynesian city in the world. While Pacific Islanders were originally employed in factories and lesser-skilled jobs, a growing number are now entering the professions, and making a major contribution to professional sport, fashion, popular music, television, and the arts in New Zealand. The influence of Pacific Island food, fashion, and arts can be seen on the streets of most New Zealand cities. 

Asian Migration 
The last 15 years have seen considerable migration to New Zealand from Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, and Japan. These Asian migrants have greatly contributed to the New Zealand economy, particularly in the areas of business and the professions. Most New Zealand cities now have many Asian restaurants and shops.  

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