New Zealand early history

It is estimated that the history of New Zealand as a nation dates back to around 1320-1350 CE, which is when the islands were discovered by the Polynesian peoples who decided to settle there. It was the Polynesians that developed the Maori culture in New Zealand. Dating the exact arrival of the Maori people is not easy as nothing connected to human activity has been found that predates the Mount Tarawera volcano eruption, which occurred around 1314 CE.

However, analysis of DNA shows that it is likely the Maori people arrived from East Polynesia and it is thought that this could have been part of an organised, mass migration. New Zealand was abundant in animal and plant life and provided to be an ideal home.

These early settlers survived by hunting the large game available on the islands, and by about 1500 CE some species became extinct as a result. This led the Maori people to give horticulture more importance, and where the land permitted, they grew plants such as taro and kumara, among others. In other areas they made the most of the native plants and other food sources such as fish.