Early Settlers and Explorers

Learn about the European people who came to New Zealand first.

Important Points:

  • Most people who lived in New Zealand were Maori.
  • Most food was grown by Maori
  • People needed Maori help to stay safe.
  • Maori people were quick to trade with visitors.
  • There were problems because the first visitors didn’t think there were laws and didn’t follow Maori rules

Who came to New Zealand first? 

Te Ara Encyclopedia can teach you about Whalers and Sealers

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Te Ara Encyclopedia: Whalers- people who came to work in NZ hunting whales. They hunted humpback, sperm and southern right whales. New Zealand doesn’t hunt whales anymore. Whalers were young men. When they got off the ship they spent their time drinking and fighting and gambling!

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Te Ara Encyclopedia: Sealers– people who came to work in NZ hunting fur seals. We don’t hunt fur seals in New Zealand anymore. Sealers used to be left on the shore by the ship. Sometimes the ship would come back months later. Sometimes the ship never came back.

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Pictures of Whalers and Sealers in NZ

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People came from:

The Netherlands/Holland (Dutch)
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France (French)

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Russia (Russian) 

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Germany (German) 

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Spain (Spanish)

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Portugal (Portuguese)

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Britain (British)

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North Americans.

Check out the World Map to find these different countries.

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Remember, people came by ship! It took a long time to come to New Zealand.

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