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Tauranga Immigration Service & Russian Translation Service

Licenced Immigration Adviser & Russian Language Specialist in Tauranga

New Zealand has a rich and fascinating history, reflecting our unique mix of Maori and European culture. Maori were the first to arrive in New Zealand, journeying in canoes from Polynesia about 900 years ago. A Dutchman, Abel Tasman, was the first European to sight the country in 1642 but it was the British Capitan Cook who made New Zealand part of their empire after his visit in 1759.

In 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, an agreement between the British Crown and Maori. It established British law in New Zealand and is considered New Zealand’s founding document and an important part of the country's history.

New Zealand was one of 51 countries to sign the United Nations Charter in San Francisco on 26 June 1945. Those gathered declared: 'We, the peoples of the United Nations, are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.' The UN hoped to succeed where the League of Nations had failed during the 1930s and maintain peace and safety by means of collective security. Member nations resolved to stand together in the face of aggression, while at the same time working together to find solutions to the social, economic and cultural problems of the world.

Despite its small size and isolation, New Zealand played a valuable role in the establishment of the UN. Prime Minister Peter Fraser strongly supported the principle of collective security. Involvement in the UN also encouraged New Zealand to move away from its traditional reliance on Great Britain and adopt an increasingly independent foreign policy

New Zealand Flag is the symbol of the realm, government and people of New Zealand. Its royal blue background represents of the blue sea and clear sky surrounding us. The stars of the Southern Cross emphasise this country's location in the South Pacific Ocean. The Union Jack in the first quarter recognises New Zealand's historical origins as a British colony and dominion.

The New Zealand Flag hasn't always been our official flag. It was adopted in 1902 amidst the pomp and patriotism of the South African War.

On 19 September 1893 the governor, Lord Glasgow, signed a new Electoral Act into law. As a result of this landmark legislation, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

In most other democracies – including Britain and the United States – women did not win the right to the vote until after the First World War. New Zealand’s world leadership in women’s suffrage became a central part of our image as a trail-blazing ‘social laboratory’.

That achievement was the result of years of effort by suffrage campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard. In 1891, 1892 and 1893 they compiled a series of massive petitions calling on Parliament to grant the vote to women. In recent years Sheppard’s contribution to New Zealand’s history has been acknowledged on the $10 note.

Today, the idea that women could not or should not vote is completely foreign to New Zealanders. In 2013, 32% of Members of Parliament are female, compared with 13% in 1984. In the early 21st century women have held each of the country’s key constitutional positions: prime minister, governor-general, speaker of the House of Representatives, attorney-general and chief justice.

On top of the world: Ed Hillary ‘He took Everest by foot; the world by storm; the South Pole by Massey Ferguson’, proclaimed banners advertising a 2002–03 museum exhibition on the life of Sir Edmund Hillary (1919–2008). The legendary mountaineer, adventurer and philanthropist – whose familiar, craggy face beams out from the $5 note – is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived. His 1953 ascent of Mt Everest, the planet’s highest peak, with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay brought him worldwide fame – literally overnight. Dozens of daring adventures followed, including the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1957–58 and a 1977 jet-boat journey up the Ganges River.

International lecture tours, books and television documentaries cemented Hillary’s status as a global celebrity.

Of greater significance, perhaps, was his humanitarian contribution to the Sherpa people of the Himalayas. For decades from the 1960s Hillary and supporters raised funds and built schools, hospitals and other facilities in the mountains. He also enjoyed a successful spell as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India in the 1980s. Despite his remarkable achievements, and moments of personal tragedy, Ed Hillary is also remembered for his humility and generosity. The quiet Auckland bee-keeper who had stood on ‘the roof of the world’, as well as the North and South poles, seemed to be the quintessential down-to-earth Kiwi.

Sir Edmund Hillary died in Auckland on 11 January 2008, aged 88. He was farewelled at a state funeral – a rare honour for a private citizen – on 22 January. On 29 February, in accordance with his wishes, his ashes were scattered on the Hauraki Gulf by his wife, Lady Hillary, and children Peter and Sarah. On 2 April Queen Elizabeth II hosted a special memorial service for Hillary at Windsor Castle, near London.



Copyright © 2014 Irina Stewart