Hello and welcome back to Empires of the World - a grand tour of all of the major civilizations of the world.Today, we look at the mighty empire of New Zealand.
|New Zealand's rightful Empire|
The Empire of New Zealand got off to a shaky start. Following the Declaration of Independence in 1835, New Zealand only lasted as an independent country for five years before the Maori tribes signed the Treaty of Waitangi and became part of the British Empire. We were then governed from New South Wales for a year, leading to everyone in the country hating Australians.
The Empire began with the Premiership of Richard Seddon. While earlier Premiers such as Vogel, Grey and Stout had also promoted New Zealand as the centre of a great South Pacific empire, Seddon was a far more active and noisy imperialist who wanted Fiji and Polynesia to be ruled for Wellington. He famously told the American President William McKinley that Hawaii should be part of our Empire and was furious when Britain agreed to allow America to annex the islands in 1898. Worse still occured in 1899 when Britain commited the ‘great betrayal’ and allowed Samoa to be partitioned between Germany and the United States.
The great and glorious empire finally got kick-started in 1901 when New Zealand annexed Niue and the Cook Islands. Even more glory came in 1914 when New Zealand's lemon squeezers got deployed in anger. On the 29 August 1914 the Expeditionary Force's marching band arrived in Apia and claimed German Samoa for New Zealand, completing a "great and urgent Imperial service" for Britain. In 1926 Britain transferred their administration of Tokelau to New Zealand and the Empire building was complete.
Following World War II the United Nations stuck its sticky beak into New Zealand's affairs, leading to Western Samoa being granted independence in 1962. Niue and the Cook Islands are now in "free association" with New Zealand while Tokelau is one of only sixteen nations listed by the United Nations as a Non self-governing territory, meaning New Zealand is one of only four countries in the world to still have a colony.
Today the Realm of New Zealand includes Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands and 450,000 km2 of snow and ice in Antartica. With troops in Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands, a military dictatorship struggling to retain power in Fiji and the Western Island ripe for the picking, the future surely is bright for the Empire of New Zealand.