VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > H. The Pacific Region, 1944–2000 > 4. New Zealand, 1945–2000
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1939, Sept. 3)
4. New Zealand, 1945–2000
New Zealand enjoyed relative prosperity and security in the decades following World War II, bolstered by high prices for its agricultural exports and shielded by economic protectionism. The political landscape was dominated by the National Party (See 1937, May 12). Socially, the country tended to be conservative, with the nuclear family being the main unit of social identification for most Pakeha people. A fondness for sport and other outdoor activities was a distinctive feature of the country's culture. In the 1970s the economy began to falter, as the world market for agricultural products declined and Britain consumed less of New Zealand's exports. Social and political movements, in particular feminism, questioned the existing order. Immigration, from the Pacific islands and later from East Asia, contributed to social diversification. Maori, whose population had grown considerably since the 1950s and had become urbanized, displayed greater cultural and political assertiveness. From the middle 1980s, economic problems led governments to dismantle the earlier protectionist and interventionist economic structure in a bid to make the country more internationally competitive. Social welfare programs and the civil service also underwent radical changes. Maori social and economic problems, in particular the question of redressing historical injustices in the alienation of land and other resources, were also major issues in national politics during the 1980s and 1990s. In foreign policy, New Zealand's ties to Britain weakened after World War II, leading at first to closer links with the U.S. and later to an attempt to strengthen New Zealand's identification with the South Pacific. New Zealand's opposition to nuclear weapons led to conflict with the U.S. and France.  1
The Maori Social and Economic Advancement Act established tribal executives and committees.  2
The Bank of New Zealand was nationalized, along with other enterprises. Self-government was granted to Samoa.  3
The government began to provide universal child subsidies.  4
Nov. 26
Labour was reelected under Fraser.  5
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.