From the late 1830s the British-based New Zealand Company actively recruited settlers to colonise New Zealand. Its first settlement was in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, which settlers called Port Nicholson (later Wellington), in January 1840. This painting shows the company’s vessels exploring the harbour at Tasman’s Gulf (later Nelson) in 1841, in preparation for a second settlement. These ambitious and sometimes unscrupulous commercial activities put pressure on the British government to sign a treaty with Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.
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