New Zealand History: Colonization and The Establishment of The Dominion

New Zealand, inhabited by Maori tribes – whose settlement dates back to around 1000 AD. C. – was long deserted by the Europeans due to the aggressiveness of the natives. At the end of the century. XVIII only a few small group of criminals escaped from Australian prisons, shipwrecked and seal hunters, settled there, challenging the bloody fame of the Maori, until, in the century. XIX, Protestant (from 1814) and Catholic (from 1838) missionaries arrived there. The first persuaded some Maori leaders to ask for the protection of England, which however limited itself to sending a resident to prevent French attempts to land and only in 1839 authorized the constitution of the New Zealand Company, which proposed to carry out colonization work in the North Island, and sent an emissary, Captain Hobson, with the task of affirming British sovereignty. Hobson signed on February 6, 1840 to 46 Maori chiefs, gathered in the Bay of Islands (North Island), a treaty by which they ceded their sovereign rights to Queen Victoria in compensation for the recognition of their property rights and obtaining the British protection: they also gave the crown a right of pre-emption over the lands they intended to sell. A few weeks later Hobson proclaimed British sovereignty over the two islands and placed the capital in Auckland on the North Island. In the following November, the London government granted the new colony a Constitution (governor, executive council, Legislative Council formed by members appointed by the governor) and then in February 1841 granted a charter of incorporation to the New Zealand Company. The problem of the purchase of land by the colonizers and relations with the Maori brought the situation to a critical point, until an energetic governor, the captain, intervened. George Gray (1845-55), who restored order, abolished the position of protector of the indigenous people, established stable relations with the indigenous leaders, after having one arrested, and concluded an agreement with the New Zealand Company, which however proved to be a source of disputes such as to induce the Compagnia to dissolve itself upon reimbursement of the expenses incurred (1850). In 1852 a new constitution of a substantially federal type came into force, which divided the colony into six provinces. Two years later London granted a responsible government (1854), however, with two important limitations: relations between Europeans and Maori and the matter relating to the sale of land remained in the exclusive competence of the governor.

The continuous increase of the European population (in 1858, 61,000 Europeans against 56. 000 Maori) and the transfer into the ownership of the crown or of private individuals of enormous tracts of land favored the creation of a league of Maori leaders, which elected its own king. The government’s attempt to buy the so-called Waitara block near Taranaki, about which the transferor’s right was doubtful, was the spark that provoked the revolt of the leaders of the league, who inflicted severe defeats on the English (1860-61). The war had the effect of humanizing the policy of England: the sale of land by the Maori who did not demonstrate their rights with certainty was forbidden; a special tribunal was established for the lands of the indigenous; four deputies and two Maori senators were admitted to parliament. In 1863, however, a second war broke out with the Maori again over land issues and many continued the struggle even after 1868 for religious and racial reasons. In 1865 the capital was moved from Auckland to Wellington. The discovery after 1861 of gold deposits in the South Island (where the Maori population was low) attracted a large number of immigrants. At the same time, the question arose of the division of income and expenses between the two islands as well as the amortization of public debts between the central government and the provincial governments. The debts were merged and converted into one large consolidated debt; therefore, on the initiative of an immigrant journalist, Julius Vogel, who became Minister of Finance (1869-73) and then Prime Minister (1873-75), began a grandiose public works program financed by loans. This caused inflation and conflicts between central and provincial governments, which were resolved with the creation of a single national budget. In 1879 universal male suffrage was granted. But the new immigrants, experts in trade union and political struggles led in 1891 to the foundation of the first New Zealand political party: the Liberal-Labor party, which had three great leaders (Ballance, Stout, Seddon) and remained in power until 1912. The Liberals- Labor broke up the large estates and favored the creation of small and medium-sized properties; the crown lands were leased or lease; customs duties were introduced to protect the national industry; the right to vote was extended to women (1893). As a country located in Oceania according to, the New Zealand Liberal Labor Party became world famous for its pioneering social legislation. A Minister of Labor created the so-called “state socialism”: working hours and conditions were fixed in factories, mines, ports, ships, etc.; conciliation offices and a court for disputes were established; insurance for accidents, illnesses, etc. was introduced. The long stay in power wore out the Liberal-Labor Party, which later became only liberal because a first group broke off from it, which founded an independent Labor Party (1905) while the mass of farmers joined the old conservative party. called the Reform Party and then the National Party. The Liberals of more advanced ideas converged into the Labor Party, calling themselves Social Reformists if not Marxists as well. The Federation of Labor, established in 1909, in which powerful trade union unions merged, was declared Marxist. In 1907 New Zealand received the title of Dominion, attributed to all responsible government colonies.

Colonization and The Establishment of The Dominion