In 1642 the Dutchman Abel Tasman came to New Zealand. He was one of the first Europeans who immigrated to the country, and he named many of the small islands in the area. The English discoverer, James Cook, arrived to New Zealand in 1769. He investigated the islands more closely trough several expeditions.
Today New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth of Nations consists of 54 independent countries, most of them former British colonies or dependencies of these colonies. Examples of other countries who are members are Canada, Australia, South-Africa and India.