New Zealand (//; Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life; most notable are the large number of unique bird species. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.
Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 CE and developed a distinctive Māori culture. Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642 CE. The introduction of potatoes and muskets triggered upheaval among Māori early during the 19th century, which led to the inter-tribal Musket Wars. In 1840 the British and Māori signed a treaty making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire. Immigrant numbers increased sharply and conflicts escalated into the New Zealand Wars, which resulted in Māori land being confiscated in the mid North Island. Economic depressions were followed by periods of political reform, with women gaining the vote during the 1890s, and a welfare state being established from the 1930s. After World War II, New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty, although the United States later suspended the treaty. New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1950s, but the 1970s saw a deep recession, worsened by oil shocks and the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community. The country underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free trade economy; once-dominant exports of wool have been overtaken by dairy products, meat, and wine.
Maori or Māori // is the Polynesian language of the indigenous Maori (Māori) ethnic group of New Zealand, and since 1987 has been one of New Zealand's official languages. It is a member of the Eastern Polynesian languages, closely related to Cook Islands Māori, Tuamotuan and Tahitian.
According to a 2001 survey on the health of the Māori language, the number of very fluent adult speakers was about 9% of the Māori population, or 29,000 adults. A national census undertaken in 2006, however, suggested that the percentage was then about 4%.
The Māori (Māori pronunciation: [ˈmaːɔɾi], //) are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. The Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages at some time between 1250 and 1300 CE. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture that became known as the "Māori", with their own language, a rich mythology, distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups, based on eastern Polynesian social customs and organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants they introduced, and later a prominent warrior culture emerged.
The arrival of Europeans to New Zealand starting from the 17th century brought enormous change to the Māori way of life. Māori people gradually adopted many aspects of Western society and culture. Initial relations between Māori and Europeans were largely amicable, and with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 the two cultures coexisted as part of a new British colony. Rising tensions over disputed land sales led to conflict in the 1860s. Social upheaval, decades of conflict and epidemics of introduced disease took a devastating toll on the Māori population, which went into a dramatic decline. But by the start of the 20th century the Māori population had begun to recover, and efforts were made to increase their standing in wider New Zealand society. Traditional Māori culture has enjoyed a revival, and a protest movement emerged in the 1960s advocating Māori issues.
There are several languages of New Zealand. English (New Zealand English) Official Language of NZ is the dominant language, spoken by most New Zealanders The country's de jure official languages are Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Other languages are also used by ethnic communities.
New Zealand became the first country in the world]citation needed[ to adopt a sign language as an official language when it became official on 10 April 2006. It is now legal for use and access in legal proceedings including in court and access to government services.