A thousand years ago, Polynesian islanders on canoes washed ashore on two large, ruggedly beautiful islands east of Australia. They became the Maori people. In 1642, the islands were visited by the Dutch sailor Abel Tasman, and in 1770 they were charted by Captain James Cook. British whalers, sealers, traders, farmers, and missionaries followed, joining the Maori in the land we now know as New Zealand.
Written by a team of noted historians, The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand takes us on a beautifully illustrated tour though the past of this unique land. In these pages we see how the Maori established a highly cultivated society among New Zealand's moutains and waters, developing an uneasy relationship with the first European settlers. The British government eventually signed the Treaty of Waitangi with the Maori in 1848, opening the way for mass colonization, even as private speculators tricked, bribed, and brutalized the tribesmen into surrendering their lands. But the Maori flocked to anti-Western cults like Pia Marire and Ringatu, until their resistance was finally shattered in open war with the British in the 1860s. The authors show how the colony of New Zealand flourished in the years that followed, developing a growing sense of nationalism and political maturity. Women won the vote in 1893, decades before they did in Britain or the U.S., and pensions for the elderly followed soon after. New Zealand's soldiers shouldered the unsung burden of defending the British empire, dying for England in the Boer War, in the Gallipoli fiasco and in France during the First World War, and in North Africa, Crete, and Italy in the Second. The text addresses New Zealand's changing role in international affairs after 1945, as it moved from faithful membership in the Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS) defense pact to its independent stand against allowing nuclear-armed American ships into its harbors, despite tremendous U.S. pressure. The authors also examine how New Zealand's politics and society have changed over the last century, from the welfare programs of the late 1930s, to the National party governments of the postwar decades, to the drift of the Maori into the cities, to the rise of the Young Maori Party.
A fascinating, beautiful, and complex country, New Zealand has had a colorful and eventful past. Now The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand brings it to life, in a handsome and distinguished volume that will be treasured by anyone interested in New Zealand, the South Pacific, or the British Commonwealth.