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Over the centuries that followed, these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori.The population was divided into iwi (tribes) and hapū (subtribes) who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other.Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is mainly derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration.The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.The Liberal Government, later led by Richard Seddon, passed many important social and economic measures.In 1893 New Zealand was the first nation in the world to grant all women the right to vote In 1898 Seddon's government passed the Old-age Pensions Act of 1898, the first general pensions scheme in the British Empire.
Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.7 million is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders.During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life.The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.In 1862, only 101 survived and the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933.
Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships.
) is an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.