About 85 million years ago a spreading ridge formed in the future Tasman Sea, causing a continental fragment, including the future New Zealand, to break away from Gondwana. This reconstruction shows that at about 70 million years ago the Tasman Sea has opened up, and the continental fragment (Zealandia) is quite separate from Gondwana.
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Reference: E. McSaveney and R. Sutherland, New Zealand adrift. 2nd ed. Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences, 2005
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