20th and 21st Century New Zealand

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While retaining some ties to the British Crown, New Zealand has become a proud nation in its own right.

Colonial Ties

Throughout the 19th and much of the 20th century, the ‘homeland’ of Britain had an enormous influence on New Zealand. Government administration, education, and culture were largely built on British models. New Zealand troops fought, and suffered severe casualties in the Boer War and the two World Wars. As Prime Minister Michael Savage said about England in 1939, ‘where she goes, we go, where she stands, we stand’.

A New Buddy

After World War II, cultural ties with Great Britain remained strong. However, successive New Zealand governments saw the USA as their major ally and protector. New Zealand signed the joined SEATO (South-East Asia Treaty Organisation) and signed the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, and United States) Pact. New Zealand troops also fought with US forces during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

A nation in its own right

While New Zealand is still heavily influenced by its colonial heritage, the country now has its own strong sense of identity. While still a member of the British Commonwealth, and maintaining close, friendly relations with the USA, New Zealand now has a far more independent trading and foreign policy. Since the mid 1980s, New Zealand has been a nuclear free zone, with its armed forces primarily focused on peacekeeping in the Pacific region. 

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