from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • An island country in the southern Pacific Ocean southeast of Australia. Maori groups probably migrated to New Zealand from Polynesia beginning before A.D. 1400. Discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642, the islands were visited and explored by Capt. James Cook four times between 1769 and 1777. The British established their first permanent settlement in 1840 and claimed the region as a crown colony. New Zealand received dominion status in 1907, and became fully independent in 1931. Wellington is the capital and Auckland the largest city. Population: 4,120,000.


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