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The Federated Realm of New Zealand is an integral member of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand (ANZC). Unlike its British Commonwealth and its ANZUS neighbor, the islands of New Zealand were spared Soviet attack on the afternoon on September 26, 1983. As a result, the nation became a much more powerful and influential country in the tumultuous days following "Doomsday." Afterward, with Australia, it would lead a new Commonwealth into a new age.
Its capital is Wellington, and its current Prime Minister is Jacinda Ardern.
Early Settlement and Maori Period
The islands of what is now known as New Zealand were perhaps the last to be settled. According to legend and modern genetic studies, the islands were settled in a second wave of exploration of sea-faring islanders who originated in the islands now known as Taiwan and the Philippines. The first landfall seems to have been around AD 1275. For five centuries a unique society developed which became the Maori ("natural," or "genuine") people. In about 1520, some sources report, Portuguese explorer Cristóvão de Mendonça first saw these islands. However, it was not until 1642 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman did battle with the Maori before sailing on to Tonga. He sketched the western shores of the two main islands, naming them Staten landt. Three years later a Dutch mapmaker would name the islands Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. No Europeans would return for over a century, at which time British Naval Captain James Cook would explore the islands around 1770 and anglicize the name to "New Zealand."
Though most encounters with the Maori were peaceful between 1770 and the mid nineteenth century, the trade with Europeans changed local warfare drastically. The technology that changed everything was the musket and gunpowder. Before that, the spear had been the weapon of choice. By the time a balance of power was reached in the 1830's, European missionaries had arrived, bringing the message of peace inherent in the Christian religion.
European settlement and the New Nation
The first settlements of Europeans were in 1822 and 1823, with the first full-blooded European child being born in the Bay of Islands in 1815. Contact between Europeans and Maori continued until conflicts over land ownership, especially claims by the New Zealand Company, led to a treaty of independence in 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840. The day is still honored as a national holiday. The "independence" granted the Maori assured self-governance but not land ownership. Various British governors would administer the islands differently in the following years. The Maori population would be over-run by Europeans from 1840 to 1870, resulting in land wars, disease and intermarriage reducing the population from around 86,000 in 1769 to around 42,000 in 1896. As of 2010, though the population of Maori in New Zealand is over 600,000 (about 15% of the population). Eventually, on September 26, 1907, the people of New Zealand declared themselves a Dominion within the British Empire. Though that date did not replace the official holiday of 1840, it changed the outlook of the people as they entered into the 20th century.
Ironically, the date of September 26th would once again change the history of the islands. On that Monday afternoon, somewhere around 3:00 PM local time, reports began to come in from Australia that the Soviet Union was attacking "America and its allies." Communications with America had gone black about the same time. Though it did not appear that the nation was going to be hit, unrest in Canberra led to similar unrest in Wellington. Within a week, the embassies of all Warsaw Pact nations were under strict New Zealand control. Mercifully, unlike Sydney, Melbourne and Perth across the Tasman, no New Zealand city was targeted or hit during the nuclear exchange. However, given migration between Australia and New Zealand, many New Zealanders mourned the deaths of relatives within the three devastated Australian cities, and provided unconditional sanctuary for stranded US, Canadian and European tourists and business travellers. While New Zealand had escaped direct damage, however, its escalating peace movement swelled apace, which was to prove decisive in its election later that year.
September 26th had taken on a whole new meaning as New Zealand headed into the post-apocalyptic world of Southern Hemisphere dominance.
Prime Minister Muldoon immediately offered aid to Australia, and requested a meeting to discuss what both countries should do going forward. On October 8, Australian Prime Minister Hawke met Muldoon to discuss the events of Doomsday and subsequent days. In those meetings, the two men discussed ways to better align their resources, even to the extent of combining their military forces in a revision of the ANZUS charter. Hawke requested changes in trade agreements that would redirect agricultural and industrial resources to Australia from assumed lost markets in North America. The Australian leader told the media that the future would see a "joint future" for the two sister nations of the British Commonwealth.
By April 1984, as the fall season saw a dramatic change in the leaves that was cherished by nature-lovers and photographers from around the world, a greater change was developing in the military establishments of the South Pacific.
In September 1984, New Zealand's general election was fought on the basis that the nation had been fortunate not to share the tragedy that had befallen Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. As a consequence, the Muldoon administration was heavily defeated and Labour's David Lange became Prime Minister as a consequence. The incoming Labour government had initially planned to institute robust monetarist economic policies but these were no longer viable due to the destruction of New Zealand's British and American trading partners.
ANZUS and the American Provisional Administration
Months before Doomsday, the newest of America's ICBMs, the LGM-118 Peacekeeper, was tested in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii and north of New Zealand. This was on June 17, 1983. Talks began between Australia, New Zealand and the United States (the ANZUS pact) to further test the missiles in the Tasman Sea. Anti-nuclear groups in New Zealand raised a protest but plans had continued. In the wake of the nuclear exchange on September 26th, however, these groups lost their fervor as the reality of nuclear war overshadowed the tests of new delivery systems.
In February 1984, the hot summer was proving even hotter than usual as weather patterns had shifted along the equator due to the massive number of nuclear strikes in the northern hemisphere. In addition, scientists were claiming the ozone layer had been depleted drastically over Antarctica, reaching almost to Australia. The increase of ultraviolet radiation had begun to be felt by everyone who attempted to go outdoors for any length of time. However, the "hottest" news of the summer was word from America that its federal government had survived in bunkers near Washington, DC. Prime Minister Robert Muldoon had been contacted by Australian Prime Minister Hawke of direct shortwave communication from US President Ronald Reagan himself.
On May 5, 1984, the jet designated "Air Force Two" arrived in Auckland on the North Island. The stop, it had turned out, was only for a refueling before flying to Canberra. The office of PM Muldoon had not been informed of the plans of the US government. This was the first "chill" in the late autumn air. The greatest "chill," though - greater than that of the expected "nuclear winter" - was news on May 8th that Ronald Reagan had been lost at sea, making George Bush the new president of a "government in exile." The Australian Labor Party and Liberal-National Coalition alike were appalled when they learned that the elections normally scheduled for November of 1984 had been suspended as the old government was transformed into the "American Provisional Administration."
In contrast to the growing relationship between Australia and New Zealand, perceptions of their former core Northern Hemisphere ally soured considerably. Liberal inhabitants of the United States gravitated to New Zealand due to its stronger New Left movements at the time and the nation gratefully accepted their professional skills and technological aptitude. However, as an unintended result, New Zealand's American expatriate community became a hotbed of political dissent to the Bush Administration in Canberra. The establishment of a new capital in Jarvis Bay, Australia, further raised concern, as Canberra became the new "capital" of Bush's American Provisional Administration. In 1990, in fact, an American "icon" was symbolically reincarnated in Wellington. John F. Kennedy, Jr., left the APA and came to study at Victoria University. Unbeknownst to them, the future of the former United States rested on Americans amongst them rather than the politicians in Australia.
The Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand
Due to its distance from significant areas of nuclear destruction, New Zealand was less afflicted by nuclear winter than much of the rest of the world, particularly nations within the Northern Hemisphere. With the destruction of kindred conservative parties in the United Kingdom and United States, centre-right political parties underwent a period of quiescence and contraction. In 1990, Australia and New Zealand agreed on a confederation that was later to be known as the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand became a coeval constituent of a joint Australia New Zealand federal structure, and introduced some innovations. It adopted proportional representation - based on Germany's Mixed Member Proportional electoral system - after a referendum was held in 1993. In 1998, Australia and New Zealand jointly became republics due to the almost moribund perception of the United Kingdom, in ruins half a world away. In terms of social reforms, Labour decriminalised abortion and homosexuality in 1986, with little animosity. In 1995, it voted to legalise physician assisted suicide, becoming one of the first nations in the post-Doomsday world to do so. As Australia and New Zealand began to explore the surrounding world, the two nations began to construct new trading, economic, social and cultural relationships. Helen Clark became New Zealand's first female Prime Minister in 1999, and under her period of office, New Zealand's economy grew faster than that of Australia. During the first decade of the 21st Century, there were some tensions with the conservative Howard administration in Canberra, but these were not as significant as might have been feared. In 2005, New Zealand introduced lesbian and gay civil marriage, ahead of most of the Commonwealth's states and provinces. It also acted as a voice for indigenous rights in the Coalition of Australasian Governments.
Conflict with South America
As Australia and New Zealand began to explore the post-apocalyptic world, it soon found outposts of civilisation had survived in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as across the Pacific, encountering a coalition of South American nations akin to its own. As time went on, however, relations soured between the two ascendant new international powers, due to piracy, terrorism and hijackings from East Texas, West Texas and Florida began to impact increasingly on the new Confederation of South American Nations northeastern Pacific and Caribbean coastal nations, particularly Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. However, this led to animosity with the "American Provisional Government" in Canberra over the 'successor government' claims to residual government authority over these successor states and a chill in diplomatic relations between Australia and South America as a result. New Zealand did not share these animosities and acted as a broker between the two blocs over maritime safety and freedom of transit agreements and voiced greater understanding of the dangers of piracy and maritime terrorism, especially as the Commonwealth was experiencing its own piracy problems with former constituent provinces of Indonesia and Malaysia in the wake of Doomsday in the far Southwestern Pacific and Indian Ocean. Given this developing rapproachment, however, transpacific relationships improved by the turn of the millennium and by 2019, the Commonwealth and Confederation collaborated on global relief, Antarctic habitat preservation, space exploration and other areas of shared interest.
The League of Nations
In the modern day, New Zealand is one of the most stable nations in the world, as well as a cultural hub and an economic powerhouse. It is also one of the largest centers of the American diaspora.
Politics and Government
The current New Zealand government consists of a coalition between the New Zealand Labour and Green Parties. The Prime Minister is Jacinda Ardern (Labour) and her Deputy is James Shaw (Greens). The National Party is the largest Opposition party and is led by Simon Bridges. New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy led by a Prime Minister and its government is elected by the Mixed Member Proportional electoral system, based on that in West Germany before Doomsday.
The culture of New Zealand shares several similarities of that to Australia, but it is a completely different entity entirely. Unlike Australia initially, New Zealand's colonial administration signed the Treaty of Waitangi with its indigenous Maori inhabitants in 1840. During the seventies and eighties, increased political mobilisation led to increased constitutional status for the Treaty. Indigenous rights are a significant issue in New Zealand, given that Maori comprise ten percent of New Zealand's total population. New Zealand is considerably less religious than Australia, about ten percent more secularised on average than Australia insofar as Christian religious observance is concerned. Strong liberal US and European settlement has bolstered this cultural and political tendency, resulting in more rapid recognition of legislative reforms such as same-sex marriage, cannabis decriminalisation and assisted suicide than is the case within neighbouring Australia.