These days New Zealand is a bustling nation of over 4 million people. It possesses diverse environmence and an abundance of native life, particularly birds. But what was New Zealand like before it was colonised by the white people?

Prior to its discovery and mapping by Captain Cook, there lived a tribe of indigenous black people. These people were descendents of Polynesian sailors who had sailed there at about 1350 A.D. They lived in New Zealand and built huge wooden forts on hills, from which they launched wars on their neighbours. They worshipped their ancestors and made carvings of them, and so as a result of this lifestyle they were fierce warriors. Each individual had a pattern burned on their face, and they still do these days. They ate birds, fish and crops. However, their warlike life was going to become even more warlike when Captain Cook discovered New Zealand and reported rich timber forests. Many colonists came to harvest these and send these back to Britain. At first they did not know much of eachover, but the diseases the colonists brought with them were eager to meet the natives and ripped into them, killing off quite a few. There were around 100,000 to 200,000 Maoris in New Zealand before settlement (before 1790), and by 1896 there were only 42,000 native people left - though this had something to do with the fact that they bought muskets from England and used them to shoot one another. They gave themselves the name Maori, meaning normal - since they thought the Europeans were strange with their fancy items of clothing. In 1840 the Maoris signed a treaty with the British that meant they could keep their fishing land, but the British were allowed to settle on their lands. Unfortunately, this perfect state of affairs was short lasting, so that they quickly became involved in disputes over land. The Maoris have, over time, kept up their culture, and most Maoris you see have the distinctive face pattern. They are still a distinct ethnic group and they are even coming towards equality. There has been a New Zealand govenor-general of Maori descent. Unfortunately, crime is still high among the Maoris, and they are largely unemployed or performing labouring work. There are very few Maoris with professional jobs. However, there are white people learning to speak the Maori language, which is a very positive sign. The Maoris have also won court victories that have resulted in their winning back lands that were taken from them by the white people. In order to adress these problems, Maoris simply require a better education. They have their own Parliament members, and they have the vote. Unlike the Aboriginals of Australia, they have had the vote for quite some time. However, the Maoris are leading community activities that will one day result in complete equality between all Kiwis.