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Flag of Aotearoa
Coat of arms of Aotearoa
Coat of arms
Location of Aotearoa
CapitalTe Whanganui-a-Tara
Largest cityTāmaki Makaurau
Official languagesMāori, New Zealand Sign Language
Recognized languagesEnglish
• Queen
Elizabeth II
• Governor General
Cindy Kiro
• Prime Minister
Jacinda Ardern
• Treaty of Waitangi
1840 February 6th
• 2021 estimate

Aotearoa, often known in English as New Zealand, is an island country in the southern Pacific Ocean. It consists primarily of 3 islands - Te Ika-a-Māui (The North Island), Te Waipounamu (The South Island), and Rakiura - but in total there are more than 700 islands.[1]

Despite its geographical position in the southern hemisphere, Aotearoa is part of the Global North and as such contributes to and benefits from the process of imperialism. It is a member of the Five Eyes, the British Commonwealth, the OECD and of ANZUS. Aotearoa sent troops to fight for the allies in the two world wars, for the British in the Boer Wars and the Malayan Emergency, and for the Americans in the Korean War, the Gulf War, and the Afghanistan War.

Communist and socialist parties in Aotearoa include: Communist League (New Zealand), Organisation for Marxist Unity – New Zealand, Socialist Party of Aotearoa, and the Communist Party of Aotearoa.


Māori history

The Austronesians are an ethnic group that originated in the Taiwan province. They broke off into many groups around the Indian and Pacific oceans, including the Polynesians. The Polynesian people have been in Polynesia for more than 3000 years, but Aotearoa was first discovered some time around 1200 AD by Kupe. Other Polynesians soon migrated to Aotearoa, the descendants of whom are known today as the Māori, which means ordinary.[2]

Migration of Austronesian people across the Pacific

Around the year 1500, a group of Māori migrated east to Rēkohu, later becoming known as the Moriori.

The first Europeans to make contact with the Māori people were Abel Tasman and his crew in 1642.


After the Treaty of Waitangi, Aotearoa came under the control of the British.

Aotearoa became a dominion after the 1907 Imperial Conference, where the United Kingdom decided to make many of its colonies into dominions.

Aotearoa lost its dominion status due to the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947, and has since been known as the Realm of New Zealand in official sources.


The government of Aotearoa does not provide free, or even in many cases subsidized, healthcare. Education is free from primary school (beginning age 5/6) to highschool (ending age 16/17). The first year of tertiary education is free, but all subsequent years are only slightly subsidized. The banking, energy, infrastructure (including roads, rail and buses), insurance, entertainment and tourist industries are all privatized.


  1. Carl Walrond, 'Natural environment - Geography and geology', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 May 2021)
  2. John Wilson, 'History - Māori arrival and settlement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 June 2021)