Travel through our timeline of major events in New Zealand's history.
600 A.D. -1300 A.D.:
The first inhabitants of New Zealand, the Maori, arrive from eastern Polynesia.
Dutch sailor Abel Janszoon Tasman becomes the first European to reach New Zealand.
English explorer Captain James Cook makes the first of his three voyages to the islands. His journals inspire other Europeans to explore New Zealand.
The Maori sign the Treaty of Waitangi giving control to the British in exchange for protection and guaranteed Maori possession of their lands.
A decade of land wars begins between the Maoris and European settlers.
Gold is discovered in Tuapeka. This leads to a gold rush.
New Zealand becomes the first country to give women the right to vote.
The country becomes a dominion, or self-governing community, within the British empire.
New Zealand gains independence from Great Britain.
New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary becomes the first person to climb to the top of Mount Everest.
New Zealand no longer allows U.S. nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships to enter its ports. French secret service agents blow up a Greenpeace ship called Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbor.
New Zealand hosts and wins the inaugural Rugby World Cup.
Jennifer Shipley becomes the country's first female prime minister.
Prime Minister Helen Clark wins her third election.
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