History & government
They in turn were undisturbed for around 500 years, when Europeans first began taking an interest.
The Beehive and Parliament House, Wellington.
We could have been colonised by the French - French explorers were active in the Pacific in the 1700s at the same time as Captain James Cook. But the British beat them to it and Britain would dominate New Zealand's subsequent history. Modern New Zealand has inherited much from its British settlers - our language, democratic institutions, legal system and more.
While New Zealand used to be known as a ’little Britain’, it has matured and established its own identity – one with a stronger focus on its indigenous people - Māori - and on its neighbours in the Pacific and Asia.