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Maoris were the first inhabitants of New Zealand, arriving on the islands in about 1000. Maori oral history maintains that the Maoris came to the island in seven canoes from other parts of Polynesia. In 1642, New Zealand was explored by Abel Tasman, a Dutch navigator. British captain James Cook made three voyages to the islands, beginning in 1769. Britain formally annexed the islands in 1840.
The Treaty of Waitangi (Feb. 6, 1840) between the British and several Maori tribes promised to protect Maori land if the Maoris recognized British rule. Encroachment on the land by British settlers was relentless, however, and skirmishes between the two groups intensified.
From the outset, the country has been in the forefront in instituting social welfare legislation. New Zealand was the world's first country to give women the right to vote (1893). It adopted old-age pensions (1898); a national child welfare program (1907); social security for the elderly, widows, and orphans, along with family benefit payments; minimum wages; a 40-hour workweek and unemployment and health insurance (1938); and socialized medicine (1941).
New Zealand fought with the Allies in both world wars as well as in Korea. In 1999, it became part of the UN peacekeeping force sent to East Timor.
In recent years, New Zealand has introduced extremely liberal social policies. In June 2003, parliament legalized prostitution and in Dec. 2004, same-sex unions were recognized. In 2005, Helen Clark was reelected.
If you are looking for comprehensive travel information for Auckland Attractions including Aquarium, Art Gallery, Casino, Cultural Display, Family Entertainment, Fun Park, Garden, General, Historic, Museum, Natural Feature, Observatory, Theme Park and Zoo, you will find it here on AA Travel.
Auckland: Auckland’s CBD has a range of shopping, dining and entertainment options including cafés, restaurants and nightclubs. The Auckland City Art Gallery is New Zealand’s oldest and largest. The Heritage Gallery, open since 1888, focuses on historical works. Auckland War Memorial Museum has collections of Maoritaonga (treasures) and South Pacific art. The Museum of Transport and Technology, (MOTAT) is an interactive museum that specialises in the history and contemporary aspects of transport and technology. The New Zealand National Maritime Museum is on Auckland’s waterfront has an extensive display of nautical exhibits. The Waitemata Harbour’s sparkling waters are home to numerous islands and constant water activity. Ferry companies offer a variety of harbour cruises and trips to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf beyond the harbour. Kayaking and windsurfing are also popular activities. More rugged than the Waitemata Harbour, the Manukau Harbour does not enjoy the popularity of its across-town cousin, but it does have much to offer. Good fishing and excellent wind-surfing are to be had.