85Million years ago (I promise, this will be brief), New Zealand separated from Godwana and floated off on it’s lonesome.
However, it wasn’t quite ready to stand on its own two (really three) islands and it began to sink – possibly killing all the animals that thought they had hopped a ride onto an Australia free paradise.
Millions of years later, around 1280, the Polynesians arrived (from somewhere near Hawaii). They discovered a land full of flora, birds and fish, called it Aotearoa, “Land of the Long White Cloud,” and happily settled in for a couple hundred years.
The first European to “discover” New Zealand was a Dutchman named Abel Tasman, but in typical Dutch fashion, he only made it to the “quarter-finals” and never actually set foot on land. A slight “cultural misunderstanding” led the Maori to drive him away.
Over a hundred years later, in 1769 Captain Cook arrived from England, supposedly on a “scientific journey,” however being that England was about to lose America, a need to boost colony numbers was concievably a factor. Cook, a practical man, knew that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, and so he brought a secret weapon with him – the pig.
The Maori people who had previously only been exposed to red meat of the human variety were much impressed with the roast and welcomed Captain Cook in.
All this friendliness led to the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the version the Maori signed is vastly different than the version the British signed, but from a British point of view they now had soverienty over the land.
And boom, we are now in present day – a day when the “intent” of the treaty is still trying to be addressed, and a day when nothing can kill you except for the occasional murderer, car accident or zorbing incident.