St. George Dragons
The St George Dragons was an Australian rugby league football club from the St George district in Sydney, New South Wales who played in the top level New South Wales competition and Australian Rugby League competitions from the 1921 until the 1997 ARL season, as well as the unified 1998 National Rugby League season. In 1999, they formed a joint venture with the Illawarra Steelers, creating the St George Illawarra Dragons team which continues to compete in the NRL today; as a stand-alone club, they field teams in the NSWRL underage men's and women's competitions, Harold Matthews Cup, S. G. Ball, Tarsha Gale Cup. Entering the New South Wales Rugby Football League in 1921, the St George club won 15 premierships, including 11 in succession between 1956 and 1966, a record for sporting competitions at the time; the Dragons thus became second to only the South Sydney Rabbitohs in terms of total premierships won in the NSW Rugby Football League. Following the Super League war and formation of the NRL, the club formed a joint venture with the Illawarra Steelers in 1998, to become the St George Illawarra Dragons.
On Friday, 28 February 1908 at Rockdale Town Hall a meeting instigated by St George rugby league pioneers, W. Munn and Joe McGraw, was attended by officials of the formed New South Wales Rugby Football League and rugby players from the local district. NSWRFL president Henry Hoyle gave a convincing address and a St. George club appeared to form, the club's application was rejected due to an insufficient number of players. Undeterred, the St George Rugby League Football Club took form in 1910 when a team played in the NSWRL 3rd Grade Competition; the club's first game took place against Newtown at Sans Souci and St George were victorious 36–0. With the demise of Annandale Rugby League Club, St George was successful in November 1920 in petitioning the NSWRL for promotion. In February 1921 at the Kogarah School of Arts, the St George District Rugby League Club came into being; the first President was Arthur Yager, with Joe McGraw chosen as Secretary and Arthur Moymow named Treasurer. The club's inaugural captain was Dual-code rugby international, Herb Gilbert who joined the club at aged 33 as captain-coach.
The club's inaugural first grade appearance was on St George's Day, 23 April 1921 against Glebe at the Sydney Sports Ground. The first St George team to take the field was: Lyall Wall, Norm Shadlow, Reg Fusedale, Herb Gilbert, George Carstairs, Frank Gray, Tommy Burns, Tony Redmond, Clarrie Tye, Sid Field, Roy Bossi, Ernie Lapham and Jack Clark. Glebe won the encounter 4–3. St George won only two matches in their first season and finished equal second last in the premiership. Before the start of the 1921 season, trial matches were played at Sans Souci and training took place at the Drill Hall in the Sydney suburb of Arncliffe. During the 1921 season games were played at Hurstville Oval. In 1925 the club started using Earl Park at Arncliffe as its home ground; the club played at Earl Park until the end of the 1939 season. The new club struggled during the 1920s finishing last in 1926 and eight points behind the next placed team; the hiring of another 33-year-old veteran leader in Frank Burge saw a change in the club's fortunes.
In 1927 under Burge, the "Dragon Slayers", as they were known, qualified for their first final but were beaten by South Sydney. For each of the next three seasons the Dragons qualified for the semi-finals and in 1930 they beat Wests in the final, only to suffer a return loss when Wests exercised their prerogative of the time as minor premiers to request a Grand final challenge rematch. Harry Kadwell, the former South Sydney player and international half-back took over from Burge as captain-coach in 1931 and had four seasons with the club before his retirement, his leadership partner was the uncompromising hooker "Snowy" Justice, a Kangaroo tourist alongside Kadwell in 1929–30 and who took over as captain when Kadwell's 1932 season was ended with a broken leg. Justice would play eleven seasons with the club, followed by a long post-playing career with as Football Club secretary and League's Club secretary-manager through till the early 1970s. In 1933 St George sneaked into the semi-finals in fourth place and won their way into the final against minor premiers Newtown.
They lost 18–5. That same year they won the first night competition conducted by the NSWRL, a six-club competition played on three Saturday nights at the Sydney Showground. In 1935 St George defeated Canterbury-Bankstown 91–6, the biggest win in their history and still the biggest winning margin in the history of the League. In 1937 for the fourth time in the club's short history, the Dragon Slayers finished as competition runners-up, their inaugural premiership had still not been achieved when at the end of the decade, following the 1939 season, the club moved its home ground back to Hurstville Oval. Former Lord Mayor of Sydney, Jack Mostyn became President of the club in 1937 and retained the role for the next eight years; the long wait ended in 1941 when St George defeated Eastern Suburbs 31–14 at the Sydney Cricket Ground to take their inaugural First Grade premiership. They were captain-coached by Neville Smith. Brothers Jack and Herb Gilbert, Jr. the sons of the club's first captain-coach Herb Gilbert both played in the match.
The following year,1942 all three grades reached the Grand final with the 3rd-grade side victorious. The first-grade side had routed Canterbury-Bankstown, the minor premiers, in a semi-final and beat Easts in the final but as had happened in 1930, Canterbury exercised their right as minor premiers to issue a challenge and beat Saints in a Grand final. For season 1945, St. George obtained. A prolific try scorer, Mussi
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is the pre-eminent professional competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL serves as the sport's governing body, is responsible for controlling the laws of the game; the league was founded as the Victorian Football League as a breakaway from the previous Victorian Football Association, with its inaugural season commencing in 1897. Comprising only teams based in the Australian state of Victoria, the competition's name was changed to the Australian Football League for the 1990 season, after expanding to other states throughout the 1980s; the league consists of 18 teams spread over five of Australia's six states. Matches have been played in all states and mainland territories of Australia, as well as in New Zealand and China to promote the sport abroad; the AFL season consists of a pre-season competition, followed by a 23-round regular season, which runs during the Australian winter. The team with the best record after the home-and-away series is awarded the "minor premiership."
The top eight teams play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year. The grand final winner is termed the "premiers", is awarded the premiership cup; the current premiers are the West Coast Eagles. The Victorian Football Association was established in 1877 and went on to become Victoria's major Australian rules football competition. During the 1890s, an off-field power struggle occurred between the VFA's stronger and weaker clubs, the former seeking greater administrative control commensurate with their relative financial contribution to the game; this came to a head in 1896 when it was proposed that gate profits, which were always lower in matches involving the weaker clubs, be shared amongst all teams in the VFA. After it was intimated that the proposal would be put to a vote, six of the strongest clubs—Collingwood, Fitzroy, Geelong and South Melbourne—seceded from the VFA, invited Carlton and St Kilda to join them in founding a new competition, the Victorian Football League.
The remaining VFA clubs—Footscray, North Melbourne, Port Melbourne and Williamstown—were given the opportunity to compete as a junior sides at a level beneath the VFL, but rejected the offer and remained for the 1897 VFA season. The VFL's inaugural season occurred in 1897, it made several innovations early on to entice the public's interest, including an annual finals tournament, rather than awarding the premiership to the team with the best record through the season. Although the VFL and the VFA continued to compete for spectator interest for many years, the VFL established itself as the premier competition in Victoria. In 1908, the league expanded to ten teams, with Richmond crossing from the VFA and University Football Club from the Metropolitan Football Association. University, after three promising seasons, finished last each year from 1911 until 1914, including losing 51 matches in a row; as a result, the club withdrew from the VFL at the end of 1914. Beginning sporadically during the late 1890s and from 1907 until World War I, the VFL premier and the premier of the South Australian Football League met in a playoff match for the Championship of Australia.
South Australia's Port Adelaide was the most successful club of the competition winning three titles during the period along with an earlier victory. In 1925, the VFL expanded from nine teams to twelve, with Footscray and North Melbourne each crossing from the VFA. North Melbourne and Hawthorn remained weak in the VFL for a long period. Although North Melbourne would become the first of the 1925 expansion sides to reach a Grand Final in 1950 it was Footscray that adapted to the VFL with the most ease of the three clubs, by 1928 were well off the bottom of the ladder. Between the years of 1927 and 1930, Collingwood became the first, only VFL team, to win four successive Premierships. In 1952, the VFL hosted ` National Day'. Matches were played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Brisbane Exhibition Ground, North Hobart Oval, Albury Sports Ground and Victorian country towns Yallourn and Euroa. Footscray became the first of the 1925 expansion teams to win the premiership in 1954. Melbourne became a powerhouse during the 1950s and early 1960s under coach Norm Smith and star player Ron Barassi.
The club contested seven consecutive grand finals from 1954 to 1960, winning five premierships, including three in a row from 1955 to 1957. Television coverage began with direct telecasts of the final quarter permitted. At first, several channels competed through broadcasting different games. However, when the VFL found that television was reducing crowds, it decided that no coverage was to be allowed for 1960. In 1961, replays were introduced although direct telecasts were permitted in Melbourne. In 1959, the VFL planned the first purpose built mega-stadium, VFL Park, to give it some independence from the Melbourne Crick
New South Wales rugby league team
The New South Wales rugby league team has represented the Australian state of New South Wales in rugby league football since the sport's beginnings there in 1907. Known as the Blues due to their sky blue jerseys, the team competes in the annual State of Origin series against neighbouring team, the Queensland rugby league team; this annual event is a series of three games competing for the State of Origin shield. As of 2018, the team is captained by Boyd Cordner. Prior to 1980 when the "state-of-origin" selection criteria were introduced, the New South Wales team, in addition to playing annually against Queensland, played matches against foreign touring sides and toured overseas themselves, they have played all their home matches at Stadium Australia, New South Wales' largest stadium, since it was built in 1999. The New South Wales rugby league team pre-dates the Australian national team, playing their inaugural match against a rebel New Zealand rugby team on the 1907–08 New Zealand rugby tour of Australia and Great Britain under existing rugby union rules.
That inaugural "All Blues" side, the first football team assembled by the newly formed NSWRFL was: Backs: Charles Hedley · Johnno Stuntz · Ed Fry · Dally Messenger · Frank Cheadle · Albert Rosenfeld · Lou D'Alpuget Forwards: Harry Hamill · Arthur Hennessy · Bob Mable · Peter Moir · Sid Pearce · Billy Cann · Robert Graves · Herb Brackenreg Two further matches were played against New Zealand before their tour took them to the Northern Hemisphere, with Jim Devereaux featuring for the Blues. The visiting All Golds won all three games. However, on the return leg of their tour a year with the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership established, the Blues won the first two matches they played under 13-a-side rules against New Zealand. In 1908 the Queensland team, whose first taste of rugby league football was against the visiting Kiwis, traveled to Sydney for the first series of games between the two states. New South Wales won all three matches, setting a precedent for interstate dominance that would continue throughout most of the 20th century.
In 1910 New South Wales defeated the touring England team in two of their three games. After that they became the first Blues side to travel to Queensland for the annual interstate series. In 1912 the New South Wales team first toured New Zealand, they visited New Zealand in 1913. During the 1913 New Zealand rugby league tour of Australia New South Wales played four matches against the Kiwis, winning three of them; the New South Wales team lost its first game against Queensland in 1922. This year the Blues toured New Zealand. During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and New Zealand New South Wales played one match against the successful France national rugby league team, a 14-all draw. In a 1954 tour match between Great Britain and New South Wales the referee left the field in disgust at the players' persistent fighting after 56 minutes so the match was abandoned. New South Wales' dominance over Queensland came to an end with the introduction of'state of origin' selection rules in the early 1980s.
During the Super League war, in 1997 New South Wales was represented by two teams: one made up of players from clubs that remained loyal to the Australian Rugby League, which competed in the 1997 State of Origin series. Ricky Stuart, who had coached New South Wales in 2005, was announced as the first full-time Blues coach in November 2010. Following the 2012 series, the Blues' seventh consecutive loss, Stuart resigned the role. Stuart took a role as the Parramatta Eels head coach in 2013. Although the Blues continued their losing streak during Stuart's tenure, he is credited with restoring passion and pride to the NSW jersey and closing the gap between the two states, he was replaced by NSW and Australia teammate Laurie Daley. Daley's appointment as NSW State of Origin coach was announced in August 2012 and effective from season 2013. Daley got job over candidates including Brad Fittler and Daniel Anderson. Daley coached the Blues to a series victory in 2014, their first since 2005 and over his coaching rival and long time Canberra & Australian teammate Mal Meninga.
Daley ended Meninga's and Queensland's run of eight series wins with victories in Game I and Game II of the 2014 series. In 2015, New South Wales suffered it's biggest origin loss losing 52-6 against Queensland in the decider. In 2016, New South Wales lost the series 2-1 but managed to win the third and final dead rubber game. In 2017, New South Wales were tipped to win the series as Queensland had a number of key players injured. In Game 1, New South Wales beat Queensland in convincing fashion 28-4 and in Game 2 were leading the maroons 16-6 at halftime before Queensland won the game in the final two minutes to win 18-16. In Game 3, New South Wales lost the series losing 22-6 in Brisbane. In August 2017, Daley was terminated as coach of New South Wales. In 2018, Brad Fittler was appointed as the new coach and left out established players such as Aaron Woods, Josh Jackson, Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan; the Blues went on to win the series 2-1. The primary colour of New South Wales Blues is sky blue, which represents the state colour of New South Wales.
The secondary colour is navy blue, with additional contrasting colour of white. * HFC Finance sponsored the NSW Orign team for the one off exhibition game in Los Angeles in 1987 The official New South Wales rugby league team supporter group is known as "Blatchy's Blues". Before Game I of the 2008 State of Origin series, to celebrate the game's centenary that year, N
West Coast Pirates
The West Coast Pirates Rugby League Football Club referred to as The Cash Converters West Coast Pirates for sponsorship reasons, are a rugby league football club based in Perth, Western Australia. The club was founded by the Western Australian Rugby League as a bid for Perth to rejoin an expanded National Rugby League in 2023. If successful, the Pirates would play out of nib Stadium, with the support of the Western Australian Government through a $96 million upgrade to the venue. Perth competed in the national competition as the Western Reds and as the WA Reds in the S. G. Ball Cup from 2006-2011, it is unknown at this stage whether the West Coast Pirates will keep the history and playing records of the Reds when they join the NRL or if the Pirates will start from scratch. The West Coast Pirates were launched in 2012 after WARL research found that just over 50% of the marketplace associated the Western Reds name with failure. Despite this the club will continue to use the same red and gold colours of the Western Reds.
The Pirate's Plan estimates that the club will need two years notice from the NRL to build a competitive squad and aims to be in the top five recognised sporting brands within Australia by 2022. It identifies the problem WA talent needing to move across the country to play in the NRL and hopes that local players will be able to stay in Western Australia once the club is in the NRL. At the moment players who graduate from the Pirates SG Ball team to the NRL, like Curtis Rona, need to move interstate to continue their career; the Pirates plan on developing an Intrust Super Premiership side. The West Coast Pirates are supported for re-admission into the NRL by players and fans alike. Perth-born players in particular are supportive of Western Australia competing in the NRL once again; as of 2014 there have been fifteen graduates from the West Coast Pirates that have gone on to earn contracts with NRL clubs, either with the NRL team or with the NRL Under 20's team, including: Adam Quinlan Curtis Rona Waqa Blake The following sponsors for the West Coast Pirates include: Cash Converters McDonald's Player The Complete Group Western Reds Western Australia Rugby League Rugby league in Western Australia Official website
Ron Massey Cup
The Ron Massey Cup is a semi-professional development level rugby league competition in New South Wales, run jointly by the New South Wales Rugby League and the Country Rugby League of New South Wales. The competition is run concurrently with the National Rugby League, it comprises 13 teams drawn from the Sydney metropolitan area. The competition is named after a former rugby league coach. Ron Massey died 19 September 2016; the competition is an expanded version of the former Metropolitan Cup and Second Division competitions. The competition was renamed the Bundaberg Red Cup after the 2008 season, after Bundaberg replaced former sponsor Jim Beam. For the 2013 season, the competition was re-branded as the Ron Massey Cup, when Bundaberg Rum withdrew their sponsorship. In 2017, 10 clubs fielded teams in the Ron Massey Cup; the Asquith Magpies withdrew shortly before the competition commenced. *: The season the team joined is in the Jim Beam Cup/Bundaberg Red Cup/Ron Massey Cup, not any other competition before this.a - Concord Burwood competed as a merged entity from 2012 to 2014.b - Guildford did not compete between 2005 to 2012.c - St Marys competed as a merged entity in 2003.
1 - Ourimbah withdrew from the competition midway through the 2005 season.2 - Sydney Bulls withdrew from the competition midway through the 2011 season.3 - St Johns Eagles joined the competition midway through the 2011 season, replacing the Sydney Bulls. The Ron Massey Cup is the latest in a succession of Sydney-based second tier, semi-professional Rugby League competitions; the second tier senior Rugby League competition in Sydney was the Inter-District Competition established in 1963 by the NSWRL. It was renamed the Second Division in 1964. Like succeeding competitions the Second Division had a high turnover of participating clubs. The'promotion' of two of the two biggest clubs Penrith Panthers and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, at the conclusion of the 1966 season did not help the long-term stability of the competition. During this period Wentworthville was the most successful club, competing in every grand final of the Second Division, winning a total of 8 premierships. Due to their domination of the competition'Wenty' was considered the best candidate for promotion to the NSWRL Premiership when two positions were made available for the 1967 competition.
Due to their proximity to Parramatta, where a Premiership club was established in 1947, the Magpies were overlooked. The Second Division was renamed the Metropolitan League, it was dominated by the Ryde-Eastwood club. In the absence of Wentworthville, who competed in the Illawarra Rugby League competition, Ryde-Eastwood won all three Metropolitan League titles; the Metropolitan League was dismantled with it the idea of a second tier competition. The concept of the second tier competition was resurrected in 1990 with the establishment of the Metropolitan Cup. Many teams that were involved in the former Second Division and Metropolitan League were included in the new competition, including Ryde-Eastwood and Wentworthville. Other teams in the new competition included the Guildford Owls, Mount Pritchard, Bankstown Greyhounds, Western Suburbs Magpies and the Hills District Bulls; the Newtown Jets, exiled from the New South Wales Rugby League premiership at the close of the 1983 season, were granted admission into the competition in 1991 and became a successful club in their second life, winning 4 premierships.
Other teams who competed in the cup over the years included St. Marys Saints, West Wollongong Red Devils, Moorebank Rams, UTS Roosters, Windsor Wolves, Cabramatta Blues, Sydney Bulls and the Kellyville Bushrangers The final Metropolitan Cup was contested in 2002 and was won by a newly formed club, the Sydney Bulls, defeating Ryde-Eastwood in the last grand final of the Metropolitan Cup; the Jim Beam Cup was established in 2003 as part of another overall restructure of the NSWRL competitions operating in the levels below the NRL. The Jim Beam Cup was intended to lay the foundations of a semi-professional'State League' competition and included four non-Sydney teams from the Central Coast With the inclusion of these clubs the Jim Beam Cup became a cooperative effort between the NSWRL and the CRL. Radio coverage was heard on Hawkesbury Radio 89.9 FM with Shane Skeen. The 2009 Grand Final was a fought battle between Minor Premiers Wentworthville Magpies and Cabramatta Two Blues, with Wentworthville coming out victorious by 24-20 in the game at Leichhardt Oval.
During the 2012/13 offseason it was announced that Bundaberg Rum had withdrawn their sponsorship, the competition would be renamed as the Ron Massey Cup, after the great Parramatta assistant coach. 12 different teams Bold means the team is still playing in the competition. Since its establishment in 2003 the competition has both expanded and contracted in terms of numbers of sides competing. Aside from the original expansion of the Sydney-based competition into the Central Coast, the Bundaberg Red Cup has continued to expand throughout Sydney, moving away from its Western Sydney base in 2005 with the inclusion of two Northern Sydney sides: the Asquith Magpies and Belrose Eagles. 2003 saw the inauguration of the new Jim Beam Cup. It featured eight teams from four from the Central Coast. Erina Eagles Guildford Owls Newtown Jets
The Melbourne Storm are a rugby league team based in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia, that participate in the National Rugby League. The first professional rugby league team based in the state, the Storm entered the competition in 1998; the Storm were a Super League initiative, created in 1997 during the Super League war, following the Super League collapse, the team became a part of the newly formed, united competition. The club play their home games at AAMI Park; the Storm have won three premierships since their inception, in 1999, 2012 and 2017, have contested several more grand finals and were stripped of the 2007 and 2009 premierships, following salary cap breaches. The Storm competed in the NRL's Under-20s competition from 2008 until its demise in 2017 and now in 2018 have entered the in the Hastings Deering Colts u20s QLD competition. In addition, the club has expanded into netball with a joint venture with University of the Sunshine Coast; the Sunshine Coast Lightning commenced playing in the National Netball League in 2017.
Following record attendances at State of Origin fixtures in Melbourne of 87,161 in 1994 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Australian Rugby League had planned to establish a Melbourne-based team in the Premiership by 1998. However, the disruption caused by the Super League war caused great change to the game in Australia. By May 1997, Super League boss John Ribot pushed for a Melbourne-based club for his competition, the rival of the ARL. Former Brisbane Broncos centre Chris Johns became the CEO of the club and Ribot stepped down from the head of Super League to set up the club. In September 1997, Melbourne announced that Chris Anderson would be their foundation coach, Super League announced that the new team would be named the Melbourne Storm; the Melbourne club went forward with signing players from folding Super League clubs Perth Reds and Hunter Mariners. These players included Glenn Lazarus, Brett Kimmorley and Scott Hill. With the Super League and ARL joining into one competition for the 1998 season, the Melbourne team became part of the National Rugby League.
The Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club was unveiled at a function at the Hyatt Hotel – Melbourne in February 1998. In their first game, they defeated the Illawarra Steelers, with Glenn Lazarus as their inaugural captain. Melbourne, in a complete shock to the rest of the competition, won their first four games, before losing to the Auckland Warriors, they were defeated by the eventual premiers, the Brisbane Broncos. In January 1999, CEO John Ribot negotiated a deal that saw Melbourne Storm games televised in China every weekend; the club won eight of their first eleven games of the 1999 NRL season, went on to make the finals in third position on the Premiership ladder. The team was beaten convincingly 34–10 in the quarter final by St. George Illawarra. After narrow victories against the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Parramatta Eels. Melbourne's Premiership defence began slowly losing their first four games of the 2000 NRL season, the club went on to make the finals, but were knocked out by Newcastle Knights in the quarter-finals.
Between 2001 and 2002, the club's on field performances waned, resulting in a 10th-placed finish in 2002. Cracks were starting to appear between John Ribot and Anderson throughout the period, with Anderson quitting as coach after round 7, 2001, he was replaced by Mark Murray. The Melbourne club failed to make the finals in 2001. Johns left the club as CEO at the end of 2002 and coach Murray was sacked due to Melbourne's poor form, with the club missing the finals for the second year in a row. Wayne Bennett's assistant coach at the Brisbane Broncos, Craig Bellamy was announced as the new coach of Melbourne for 2003. In addition to a new captain in Kiwi international skipper Stephen Kearney, Bellamy's strict coaching would see the Melbourne Storm get back on track from the previous lean years. Between 2003 and 2005, Melbourne made the finals, but lost games in the semi-finals that prevented them from reaching the grand final. On 17 July 2004, during round 19 of the 2004 NRL season, Danny Williams king-hit Wests Tigers' player Mark O'Neill.
Williams defended the incident, using four medical experts to argue on his behalf that he was suffering post-traumatic amnesia when the incident occurred, which he claims was the result of a high tackle by O'Neill just prior to the incident. Despite Williams' claim, he was suspended for 18 weeks by the NRL judiciary. After the decision, Williams stated that he was "obviously disappointed with the outcome", it was the longest suspension in Australian rugby league since Steve Linnane was suspended for twenty weeks for eye-gouging in 1987. In 2005, Storm coach Craig Bellamy, in his third season as an NRL coach, gained representative honours when he was selected to start coaching the Country Origin team. Season 2006 saw the retirement of captain Robbie Kearns, the emergence of talented rookie halfback Cooper Cronk, taking the reins from Matt Orford, the recruitment of hard-man Michael Crocker. Contrary to expectation, 2006 was a standout year for the Melbourne team, winning their first Minor Premiership.
Melbourne only lost four games in the season. They went on to win their two finals matches, were favourites in the 2006 NRL Grand Final, but lost 15–8 to the Brisbane Broncos, in a match where controversial refereeing decisions against Melbourne caused much media coverage. In 2007, the Storm finished the season Minor Premiers by finishing on top of th
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia and Tonga; because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal and plant life; the country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington. Sometime between 1250 and 1300, Polynesians settled in the islands that 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 the United Kingdom 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. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.9 million is of European descent. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration; the official languages are English, Māori, NZ Sign Language, with English being dominant. A developed country, New Zealand ranks in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy; the service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, agriculture. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; the Realm of New Zealand includes Tokelau. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and named it Staten Land "in honour of the States General", he wrote, "it is possible that this land joins to the Staten Land but it is uncertain", referring to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America, discovered by Jacob Le Maire in 1616. In 1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand. Aotearoa is the current Māori name for New Zealand.
It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa referring to just the North Island. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui for the North Island and Te Waipounamu or Te Waka o Aoraki for the South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North and South. In 1830, maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm; the New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its English or Māori name can be used. New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.
Over the centuries that followed, these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi and hapū who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu, now known as the Chatham Islands, where they developed their distinct Moriori culture; the Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862 because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived, the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933; the first Europeans known to have reached New Zeala