Currently New Zealand is one of the most developed countries, but in the course of its history, this nation had to struggle for its identity and independence. First of all, it should be noted that the first settlements in New Zealand can be dated back to more than 700 years ago (Smith 15). In particular, one can speak about the Māori people who were the native residents of South and North Islands (Smith 15).
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Later, the territory of the country was colonized by European colonizers who could come from the Netherlands and most importantly from England. The culture of this country includes several elements, for example, one can mention Polynesian and Western-European cultures. Additionally, contemporary New Zealand incorporates several religions.
First of all, special attention should be paid to various denominations of Christianity such as Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and Methodism (Smith 222). However, one should not forget about the presence of other religions, especially Rātana (Smith 222). This is the religion of Māori people.
Moreover, New Zealand is inhabited by people who practice Judaism or Islam. Additionally, this country provides a variety of opportunities to people with different lifestyles. For example, a person, who prefers an active lifestyle, may certainly consider mountaineering or bungy jumping.
In turn, the urban areas of the country can appeal to many people. Thus, one can say that contemporary New Zealand incorporates a variety of cultures and religions. This diversity is one of the main aspects of this country and this quality attracts many tourists as well as immigrants.
Special attention should be paid to the struggle of this country for independence from the United Kingdom. In 1841 the territory of this state became an official British colony that had to follow the legislation adopted by the government of the empire. In 1853, New Zealand became a self-governing colony within the British Empire (Smith 67).
One should bear in mind that during the period between 1841 and 1853, the European population of the colony grew significantly and these people were not strongly dependent on the political or legal institutions of the United Kingdom. However, there is an important milestone in the independence movement of New Zealanders, in particular, the World War I. The residents of New Zealand took part in this military conflict and many of them died in Europe.
This event prompted them to re-evaluate their attitude toward the United Kingdom. New Zealanders wanted to become independent. A similar reaction was produced during the World War II when they also had to sacrifice their lives. As a result of this war, in 1947 the government of New Zealand denied England the right to affect the legislation of the country as well as its foreign policies (Smith 15).
To a great extent, this date can be regarded as the moment when the country achieved its independence from the British rule. Since that time, New Zealand has acted as a fully sovereign state. It has been able to achieve sustainable economic development and now it is one of the most prosperous countries in Oceania and the world. This is why it attracts many immigrants from other countries.
These are the most important events in the history of New Zealand. One can argue that this country had a very diverse and rich culture. Its citizens can have different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Smith, Philippa. A Concise History of New Zealand, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print.