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) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island (or Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (or Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands.
Ongoing unrest, the proposed settlement of New Zealand by the New Zealand Company (which had already sent its first ship of surveyors to buy land from Māori) and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Colonial Office to send Captain William Hobson to claim sovereignty for the United Kingdom and negotiate a treaty with the Māori.Between March 2005 and August 2006, New Zealand became the first country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land—Head of State, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker and Chief Justice—were occupied simultaneously by women.The 19 Imperial Conferences decided that New Zealand should be allowed to negotiate its own political treaties and the first commercial treaty was ratified in 1928 with Japan.On 3 September 1939 New Zealand allied itself with Britain and declared war on Germany with Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage proclaiming, "Where she goes, we go; where she stands, we stand." Permanent migration is regulated under the 1970 Samoan Quota Scheme and the 2002 Pacific Access Category, which allow up to 1,100 Samoan nationals and up to 750 other Pacific Islanders respectively to become permanent New Zealand residents each year.A seasonal workers scheme for temporary migration was introduced in 2007 and in 2009 about 8,000 Pacific Islanders were employed under it. It has contributed forces to several regional and global peacekeeping missions, such as those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran–Iraq border, Bougainville, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands.New Zealand is a developed country and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as health, education, economic freedom and quality of life.
Since the 1980s, New Zealand has transformed from an agrarian, regulated economy to a market economy.New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui (the fish of Māui) for the North Island and Te Waipounamu (the waters of greenstone) or Te Waka o Aoraki (the canoe of Aoraki) for the South Island.The New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, and names and alternative names were formalised in 2013.This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, and South Island or Te Waipounamu.In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a Dominion.