It is estimated the Maori inhabited New Zealand around 800AD. Around eight hundred years later the Western world discovered New Zealand. In 1642, in a bid to locate the mysterious, rich land Australia, the Dutch Explorer, Abel Tasman caught sight of the West Coast of the South Island.
The First European to set foot on New Zealand soil was Captain James Cook of England, in 1769. He also made the first, but inaccurate map of the country.
Settlers from England started to arrive in the 1830's, and by 1840 a Treaty was signed between the crown and the chiefs of the Maori tribes. The Treaty of Waitangi handed sovereignty of New Zealand to the Crown, and is a matter of dispute even today, as the Maori translation is not quite the same as the English.
One hundred and seven years later, in 1947 New Zealand declared independence, and became its own country.