Why 80% of New Zealand is empty ?

80% of New Zealand is Empty

New Zealand is the 2nd most peaceful country in the world. It is about 4000 km away from Australia. Similar to UK, it has mild summers and long winters. Despite this the population  is not even 7% of the UK. Almost 80% of New Zealand is empty. Consequently 70% of the population lives in the north and out of that 50% population of the North lives Auckland. 

80% of New Zealand is empty

How did humans discover New Zealand ?

New Zealand is very far from the rest of the world so how did humans reach this island so far away from the world ? According to the official website of New Zealand, the Māori people , a tribe living in Polynesian islands, discovered NZ between 1320 to 1350. However, Māori’s historical record show that NZ was discovered around 750AD by a Māori named Kupe. Evidently, Kupe was a fisherman who caught fish, but his fish would be eaten by the octopuses found in that area. In order to solve this problem, Kupe, along with his companions, went to the Pacific Ocean to find another habitable island. After a few days, they discovered NZ, an island rich in seafood, sheep,  goats and fruits. And on which there was no other human being. Hence, it was a perfect place for Kupe and his tribe. Meanwhile, the Māori people started settling in New Zealand.

80% of New Zealand is empty

British invasion

Till the 17th century, the Māori people lived peacefully in New Zealand. But then came the time when the western nations were expanding all over the world to increase their power by capturing new islands, countries, and continents that were not known to the world. Consequently, a Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, set out in search of a continent in the south of the Pacific Ocean. And in 1642, Tasman discovered New Zealand, but when he tried to enter there he had a brutal fight with the Māori people and was forced to flee. Then in 1769, a British officer James Cook reached NZ, but again there was a fierce battle between James’ soldiers and the Māori people. And James had to go back, but this time he made a detailed map of New  Zealand and their entire journey. Through the map Europeans started reaching the island again in the 18th century and this time they dealt with the Māori people in a very smart way, by luring them with trade and profit. Meanwhile, the Britishers started building their naval ports there, and then after 100 years, the British took complete control of New Zealand. 

80% of New Zealand is empty

New Zealand - British Treaty, Treaty of Waitangi

A treaty was signed between the Britishers and the Māori people, which is called the Treaty of Waitangi. After this treaty New Zealand officially became a part of Europe and the British Empire. Moreover, at that time, the population of the Māori people was about 200,000 which decreased to 40000 in the next 100 years. 

80% of New Zealand is empty

Decrease in population

There was two reasons for this. Firstly, when the Europeans arrived, the diseases that were common in Europe were brought there. Unfortunately the Māori people had not developed immunity, so they started falling ill and dying. Secondly, in the 19th century, New Zealand had become a very violent place. After five years of the Treaty of Waitangi a series of wars over land ownership began between the British and the local Māori, which continues for the next 40 years. Many local Māori’s were killed and finally, the whole process stopped in 1881 when all the major Māori chiefs were killed and the Māori movement was completely crushed. Now the British had also understood that progress cannot be made without including the locals in the development process. So immediately after these wars the British Government made the locals a key stakeholder in every development project from the electorate process. And the journey of peace and progress finally began in New Zealand. But why so much of New Zealand’s area empty? And why all the people live in the north remains to be answered. 

80% of New Zealand is empty

Why 80% of New Zealand is empty ?

Its because there are mountain ranges everywhere in the southern part of New Zealand and the land is so uneven that even building a basic infrastructure like roads and etc. is almost impossible. And the land on the eastern side of the mountain is very dry and infertile due to which irrigation and other things cannot be done here. So, the majority of New Zealand’s population live in the North. To solve the issue of population shortage the new government relaxed the immigration policies after the World War 2. Before World War II, entry of non-white people into New Zealand was prohibited. And due to this, the population of New Zealand remained stagnant until 1950. After that when the restriction ended people from Asia, especially China, the Philippines and India, started coming here. And the much needed boom in the population of New Zealand occurred. Therefore, today almost 27% of New Zealand’s population are immigrants or people who are not born there. And the majority of immigrants live in Auckland and its surrounding areas. Hence, this is why Auckland is one of the least affordable cities in the world today. Because the land supply is low and housing demand is high. In order to solve this problem, the New Zealand government is now giving a grant of up to $8000 to people for moving to Waikato. Which is 100 km away from Auckland, so that the pressure on Auckland’s housing market is reduced and prices are normalized. Additionally , the entire agricultural industry of New Zealand thrives on exporting animal meat. In the North, due to rain, there is such lush green land due to which innumerable goats and cows are found. So, the population of the sheep and goats are almost 30 million. In 2019, New Zealand earned a revenue of $46 billion from the export meat. 

80% of New Zealand is empty

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