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History

The first inhabitants of New Zealand were Polynesian settlers. They arrived in their waka some time between the 13th century and the 15th century to establish the indigenous Maori culture. The first Europeans known to reach New Zealand were led by Abel Janszoon Tasman, who sailed up the west coasts of the South and North Islands in 1642. Cook began extensive surveys of the islands in 1769, leading to European whaling expeditions and eventually significant European colonization.
From as early as the 1780s, Maori had encounters with European sealers and whalers. Acquisition of muskets by those iwi in close contact with European visitors destabilized the existing balance of power between Maori tribes and there was a temporary but intense period of bloody inter-tribal warfare, known as the Musket Wars, which ceased only when all iwi were so armed. 
Concern about the exploitation of Maori by Europeans, Church Missionary Society lobbying and French interest in the region led the British to annex New Zealand by Royal Proclamation in January 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi to settle relationship between Maori and English was signed in February and with time has been considered the founding document of New Zealand. The Maori translation of the treaty promised the Maori tribes "tino rangatiratanga" would be preserved in return for ceding kawanatanga, which the English version translates as "chieftainship" and "sovereignty"; the real meanings are now disputed. Disputes over land sales and sovereignty caused the New Zealand land wars, which took place between 1845 and 1872. In 1975 the Treaty of Waitangi Act established the Waitangi Tribunal, charged with hearing claims of Crown violations of the Treaty of Waitangi.  
New Zealand was initially administered as a part of the colony of New South Wales, and it became a separate colony in 1841. The first capital was Okiato or Old Russell in the Bay of Islands but it soon moved to Auckland. European settlement progressed more rapidly than anyone anticipated, and settlers soon outnumbered Maori. Self-government was granted to the settler population in 1852. There were political concerns following the discovery of gold in Central Otago in 1861 that the South Island would form a separate colony, so in 1865 the capital was moved to the more central city of Wellington. In 1893 New Zealand became the first nation to grant full voting rights to women.  
New Zealand became an independent Dominion on 26 September 1907 by royal proclamation. Full independence was granted by the United Kingdom Parliament with the Statute of Westminster in 1931; it was taken up upon the Statute's adoption by the New Zealand Parliament in 1947. Since then New Zealand has been a sovereign constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations.  
Today New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Under the New Zealand Royal Titles Act (1953), Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of New Zealand and is represented as head of state by the Governor-General. The New Zealand Parliament has only one chamber, the House of Representatives, which seats 120 (or slightly more) members of Parliament. Parliamentary general elections are every three years under a form of proportional representation called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP).    


Foreign relations

For its first hundred years, New Zealand followed the United Kingdom's lead on foreign policy. "Where she goes, we go, where she stands, we stand", said Prime Minister Michael Savage, in declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939. However New Zealand came under the influence of the United States of America for the generation following the war.  
New Zealand has fought in the Second Boer War, World War I, (sustaining the highest casualties per head of population of any combatant nation), World War II, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency (and committed troops, fighters and bombers to the subsequent confrontation with Indonesia), the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Afghanistan War, and briefly sent a unit of army engineers to help with rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure. New Zealand has contributed forces to several recent regional and global peacekeeping missions, including those in Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Sinai, Angola, Cambodia, the Iran/Iraq border, Bougainville and East Timor.  
The American influence has weakened by the disappointment with the Vietnam War and the antinuclear legislation approved by New Zealand. The country sees now its collocation more and more within the Asia-Pacific context. As a major South Pacific nation, New Zealand has a close working relationship with many Pacific Island Nations, specifically for the aid policy.    


Italian representative in New Zealand

New Zealand did not acquire the right to conduct an independent foreign policy until the end of the First World War when the full nationhood of the “Dominions” was recognized. For some years after this, however, New Zealand Government chose not to exercise this right and preferred to make known any views on matters of foreign affairs only to the British Government and through the confidential channels of intra-Commonwealth consultation.  
For that reason and also because of the geographic distance and the proclamation of independence signed just in 1931, relationships between New Zealand and the rest of the world, and also Italy, were not intense until the end of the Second World War.  
Until 1947 Italian interests in New Zealand were managed by the Consul General for Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji based in Melbourne. Consular agents were present in Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin, Greymouth and Auckland.  
Since 1947  a Consulate of First Class with jurisdiction in New Zealand and Western Samoa was present in Wellington.
In 1950 Italy and New Zealand decided to establish direct diplomatic relations and an Italian Legation was established in Wellington (8, Halswell street until 1953, and from 1955 in 24, Grant Road). 
The Legation was upgraded to Embassy in 1965 and was located in 24, Grant Road until 1976; from 1976 it moved in 38, Grant Road; and since 1981 to today the Embassy has been located in 34, Grant Road.

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