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In 1835, following an announcement of impending French settlement by Charles de Thierry, the nebulous United Tribes of New Zealand sent a Declaration of Independence to King William IV of the United Kingdom asking for protection.Ongoing unrest, the proposed settlement of New Zealand by the New Zealand Company (which had already sent its first ship of surveyors to buy land from Māori) and the dubious legal standing of the Declaration of Independence prompted the Colonial Office to send Captain William Hobson to claim sovereignty for the United Kingdom and negotiate a treaty with the Māori.New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.Sometime between 12 CE, Polynesians settled in the islands that later were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture.In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand.

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The official languages are English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language, with English predominant.Following Cook, New Zealand was visited by numerous European and North American whaling, sealing and trading ships.They traded European food, metal tools, weapons and other goods for timber, Māori food, artefacts and water.New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans.