New Zealand (Māori: Aotearoa) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands. In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire; it gained full statutory independence in 1947.
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