New Zealand was one of the last land masses to be discovered and colonised by Europeans. Until Abel Tasman reached New Zealand in 1642, the area was usually marked on maps as ‘terra australis incognita’ (unknown southern land). This isolation, coupled with dependence on the maritime power of Britain and later the United States, was to have a strong influence on New Zealand's attitude towards international management of the oceans. For many years, New Zealand favoured the concept of freedom of the seas.
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