New Zealand is a Polynesian nation located in Oceania off the coast of southeast Australia in the South Pacific Ocean. At 268,680 square kilometers, New Zealand is about the size of the State of Colorado.
The Polynesian Maori reached New Zealand in about 800 AD. In 1840, their chieftains entered into a compact with Britain, the Treaty of Waitangi, in which they ceded sovereignty to Queen Victoria while retaining territorial rights. In that same year, the British began the first organized colonial settlement. A series of land wars between 1843 and 1872 ended with the defeat of the native peoples. The British colony of New Zealand became an independent dominion in 1907 and supported the United Kingdom militarily in both World Wars.
New Zealand remains a parliamentary democracy to this day, led by the Prime Minister. The Queen of New Zealand is the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Royal Armed Forces. She is represented by the Governor General who fulfills all royal duties in the dominion.