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The research traced two processes that, historically, led firstly, to how Pacific countries – in particular the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, and Tokelau – came to be part of New Zealand’s territorial jurisdiction.
And secondly how they, “under New Zealand jurisdiction came to be seen as political and economic liabilities, and were encouraged to accede to independence [self-determination]…” Wrote Dame Quentin-Baxter: “Those histories are not always appreciated, and there is sometimes a tendency to think that the island populations have somehow insinuated themselves into New Zealand without much regard either to invitations or to the duties of guests.
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It energetically sought the encompassing of the territories and populations by New Zealand governance.It actively recruited immigrant island labour as required by the New Zealand economy, and repeatedly assured both the Pacific people and the world of its good intentions and of the benefits which would accrue to the populations concerned from adherence to the New Zealand State.” New Zealand’s empire building aspirations, according to Dame Quentin-Baxter, may have started with Governor George Grey first term in 1845; and turned to reality by Premier Richard Seddon some 50-years later.