New Zealand
New Zealand is known in Māori as Aotearoa, which means The land of the long white cloud. It is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean that consists of two islands of approximately 268,680 sq km, with a population of 4.9 million.1
The Māori people have inhabited New Zealand since approximately 1300 AD.2 Its rocky shore coastline is approximately 15,000 to 18,000 km long.3 Dutch navigator Abel Tasman was the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642, followed by James Cook's arrival in 1769, when he claimed the land for Great Britain.4
Policies and practices from New Zealand influenced decisions made by colonizers in Vancouver Island and British Columbia, birthing a relationship based on a mutual responsibility to the Crown. For example, in an effort to follow New Zealand's scheme, the British colony argued, in this despatch, for the establishment of industrial Boarding Schools upon the model of similar institutions in New Zealand on Vancouver Island, and, in Douglas, Chief Factor Governor Vice-Admiral Sir James to Lytton, Sir Edward George Earle Bulwer 4 July 1859, CO 60:4, no. 8578, 569, Governor James Douglas sought to procure information regarding New Zealandin order that we may have the benefit of their experience in legislating for British Columbia. Also, in the context of British naval superiority, James L. Sinclair, a self-proclaimed monarchist of New Zealand, states, in this letter to the Duke of Buckingham, Now, what New Zealand will be in the South Pacific, British Columbia, in my humble opinion, may, by judicious management, be made in the North—A great Naval Power.
New Zealand and British Columbia's relationship demonstrates the interconnected and mobile set of imperial networks forged during British global expansion.5 New Zealand and British Columbia's connection is most evident when representatives of British Columbia use precedents from New Zealand to introduce new legislation to the colonies. Some examples of the colonial project in New Zealand include the coercion of Māori chiefs, use of military force against Māori peoples, and the extinguishment of native title to land.6 Despite the negative impacts of colonization upon the Māori people, they remain the traditional owners and custodians of Aotearoa.
  • 1. Aotearoa,
  • 2. Stats NZ, Population, New Zealand Government.
  • 3. Carl Walrond, Natural Environment: Coasts, Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  • 4. John Wilson, European Discovery of New Zealand, Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  • 5. Helen Bones, Arthur H. Adams and Australasian Narratives of the Colonial World, Archiving Settler Colonialism (New York: Routledge, 2019).
  • 6. Ranginui J. Walker, Māori Sovereignty, Colonial and Post-Colonial Discourses in Māori Sovereignty, Colonial and Post-Colonial Discourses (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 2000), 108-122.
Mentions of this place in the documents
People in this document

Cook, James

Douglas, James

Sinclair, James

Places in this document

British Columbia

Vancouver Island