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New Zealand History Timeline

1300's - 1700's
  • (1350) Maori ancestors arrived in New Zealand on seven legendary canoes from Hawaiki (Great Migration)
  • (1642) Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, discovered New Zealand, claimed for Holland; Maori killed four of Tasman's crew; Dutch charted west of North Island
  • (1700 - 1730) Ngai Tahu migrated from Wellington to the South Island
  • (1769 - 1770) English explorer, Capt. James Cook, charted coasts of North, South Islands; claimed New Zealand for Britain
  • (1772) French explorer, Mar-Joseph Marion du Fresne, visited Northland; claimed country for France
  • (1773) James Cook's second expedition arrived Queen Charlotte Sound; Maori killed nine crew
  • (1790) Epidemic of rewha-rewha (influenza) killed 60% of Maori population in North Island
1800's
  • (1815) First British missionaries arrived
  • (1837) Colonization of New Zealand began
  • (1840) Treaty of Waitangi signed by Maori chiefs and representatives of Queen Victoria of England; British law established in New Zealand; first capital established at Okiato (Russell)
  • (1841) Capital moved from Russell to Auckland; New Zealand declared official crown colony
  • (1842) 22 European settlers, four Maori killed at confrontation at Tuamarina
  • (1845 - 1872) New Zealand Wars (Land Wars); Maori resisted British colonial rule
  • (1845) Chief Hono-Heke led 700 Maoris in protest, burned town of Kororareka
  • (1846) First New Zealand Constitution Act passed; country divided into two provinces
  • (1848) Coal discovered at Brunner; earthquake damaged most buildings in Wellington
  • (1850) Christchurch founded
  • (1852) Second New Zealand Constitution Act passed, General Assembly and six provinces created
  • (1854) First session of General Assembly held in Auckland
  • (1855) Severe earthquake on both sides of Cook Strait caused land in Wellington to raise, plans for shipping basin canceled
  • (1856) Henry Sewell formed first ministry in government, became first premier
  • (1859) Gold discovered in Buller
  • (1860) First Taranki War occurred; New Zealand held general election
  • (1861) Gold discovered; Otago gold rush began; truce completed with Taranaki Maori
  • (1862) First telegraph lined opened from Christchurch to Lyttelton
  • (1863 - 1864) Waikato Wars occurred
  • (1864) HMS Orpheus sank in Manukau Harbour, 189 killed; Waitkato War ended with battle of Orakau
  • (1865) Capital, seat of government moved to Wellington; Auckland streets lit by gas
  • (1867) Parliament established four Maori seats; all Maori men over 21 allowed to vote
  • (1876) Provinces abolished, local government by counties and boroughs established; telegraph link established between Britain, New Zealand
  • (1879) Explosion at Kaitangata coal mine killed 34; suffrage extended to all males over 21; annual property tax introduced
  • (1886) Mount Tarawera erupted on North Island, 155 killed, several Maori, European settlements destroyed; oil discovered in Taranaki
  • (1890) Australian, New Zealand Maritime Strike involved 8,000 unionists
  • (1893) New Zealand first country in world to grant women right to vote
  • (1894) SS Wairarapa struck reef at Great Barrier Island, sunk, 140 died
  • (1896) National Council of Women founded; explosion at Brunner Mine killed 67
  • (1898) New Zealand first country in world to give elderly a pension (Old Age Pensions Act)

1900's

  • (1901) Cook and other Pacific Islands annexed, made part of New Zealand
  • (1902) Steamer SS Elingamite sunk with large consignment of gold off North Coast, 45 died
  • (1903) Aviator Richard Pearse flew self-made, mono-winged airplane at Waitohi
  • (1907) New Zealand became Dominion; fire destroyed Parliament buildings
  • (1914) World War I began; New Zealand committed troops to British war effort; New Zealand troops landed at Anzac Cove in Turkey
  • (1917) 3,700 New Zealanders killed at Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium
  • (1918) Influenza epidemic in New Zealand killed over 8,000; World War I ended; prohibition petition with 242,001 signatures presented to Parliament
  • (1919) Women became eligible to run for Parliament
  • (1920) ANZAC Day established
  • (1931) Napier, Hastings devastated by earthquake, 256 people killed, thousands required medical care
  • (1939 - 1945) World War II fought
  • (1940) New Zealand declared war on Italy; ocean liner, RMS Niagara, struck land mine, sunk; German land mines laid in Hauraki Gulf
  • (1941) New Zealand suffered heavy losses in Battle of Crete; New Zealand declared war on Japan after attack on Pearl Harbor
  • (1942) American Army troops arrived in Auckland; American Marines arrived in Wellington
  • (1943) New Zealand troops invaded Italy; Japanese prisoners of war rioted at Featherston camp, 48 Japanese killed, 61 wounded, one guard killed, 11 injured; over 1,000 American, New Zealand troops rioted in Wellington (Battle of Manners Street)
  • (1947) Mabel Howard became first woman cabinet minister; New Zealand gained full independence from Britain; fire in Ballantyne's department store in Christchurch killed 41
  • (1948) Polio epidemic closed schools; Mounts Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe erupted
  • (1950) New Zealand troops served with UN forces in Korean War (1950 - 1953)
  • (1951) ANZUS security treaty signed between New Zealand, Australia, USA; strike by watersiders lasted 151 days
  • (1953) Edmund Hillary of New Zealand, Tensing Norgay of Nepal became first climbers to reach summit of Mount Everest; flood swept express train away at Tangiwai, 151 killed
  • (1961) New Zealand joined International Monetary Fund; capital punishment abolished
  • (1962) Western Samoa became independent from New Zealand; New Zealand troops sent to Malaysia during Indonesian confrontation
  • (1965) NAFTA agreement negotiated with Australia; Cook Island became self-governing
  • (1975 Maori protested land loss, began march at Te Hapua, arrived Wellington
  • (1977) 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) established

About New Zealand

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New Zealand unitary authorities, regional councils, 0 & their capitals

Region Capital
Auckland Auckland
Bay of Plenty Whakatane
Canturbury Christchurch
Chatham Islands Territory Waitangi
Gisborne District Gisborne
Hawke's Bay Napier
Manawatu-Wanganui Palmerston North
Marlborough District Blenheim
Nelson Nelson
Northland Whangarei
Otago Dunedin
Southland Invercargill
Taranaki New Plymouth
Tasman District Richmond
Waikato Hamilton
Wellington Wellington
West Coast Greymouth

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.