Sometime between 1250 and 1300 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.
In 1840, representatives of Britain 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 and in 1907 it became a Dominion.