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Maori-European Interactions in New Zealand
Published on Dec 02, 2015
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BY ELIZABETH CRAIG
Mark P-I Hong
When humans first came to New Zealand, they must have been amazed by the scenery. Did you know that this country contains every type of terrain in the world?
Before, New Zealand had been separated from all humankind for thousands of years, but by 1200 AD, people started to move in.
Named the Maori, the first people sailed from either Micronesia or Melanesia (areas that included the Solomon Islands and Fiji) in canoes. These boats were called the "Great Fleet".
When the Maori arrived, they faced many challenges. New Zealand was colder than their homeland, for instance, and many fruits and vegetables didn't grow there.
Nevertheless, they persevered.
The moa, a gigantic, prehistoric bird, became their main source of food, and was quickly hunted to extinction.
New sources of food and methods of cooking were found.
After making their new way of life, the Maori prospered until about the 1600s, when Abel Janszoon Tasman discovered the land for the second time.
He didn't set foot on the land, but he spread the word about this "Nieww Zeeland", as he named it. Then, in the 1700s, explorers started to arrive.
The Maori didn't want these strange people invading their land, so they fought back at first.
However, most accepted that the European forces were bigger and tried to keep out of their way.
The first Europeans to settle in New Zealand were whalers, missionaries, and fishermen.
Later, colonies were built, which caused several major land wars.
Since there were so many of them, the Europeans had more control and won the wars.
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In 1856, hundreds of chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which outlined rights for the Maori. But there was one huge error that the Europeans had overlooked when they wrote it.
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Some English words translated differently into Maori. This meant that when the chiefs signed the treaty, they had a different idea of their rights than the authors had had.
The treaty was followed for several years but eventually was disregarded.
Over the years, the relationship between Maori and Europeans has grown better and better.
Europeans, for instance, have now accepted the vital role the Maori play in New Zealand and are proud of the rich heritage they bring.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth made a public apology in 1995 for what had been done to the Maori.
Hopefully, Maori-European relations will continue to grow and strengthen even more throughout the years to come.