1642Dutch sailor Abel Janszoon Tasman becomes the first European to reach New Zealand.
1769English explorer Captain James Cook makes the first of his three voyages to the islands. His journals inspire other Europeans to explore New Zealand.
1840The Maori sign the Treaty of Waitangi giving control to the British in exchange for protection and guaranteed Maori possession of their lands.
1860A decade of land wars begins between the Maoris and European settlers.
1861Gold is discovered in Tuapeka. This leads to a gold rush.
1893New Zealand becomes the first country to give women the right to vote.
1907The country becomes a dominion, or self-governing community, within the British Empire.
1947New Zealand gains independence from Great Britain.
TIME & LIFE PICTURES
1953New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary becomes the first person to climb to the top of Mount Everest.
1985New Zealand no longer allows U.S. nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships to enter its ports. French secret service agents blow up a Greenpeace ship called Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbor.
1987New Zealand hosts and wins the inaugural Rugby World Cup.
1997Jennifer Shipley becomes the country's first female prime minister.
2005Prime Minister Helen Clark wins her third election.
2010New Zealand sends military forces to Afghanistan for the third time at the request of the U.S.
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Prophecy: NEW ZEALAND major EARTHQUAKE
Major Earthquake has hit Christchurch, New Zealand.