NZ in the world - 1945-87

Page 1 – Introduction

New Zealand in the world: 1945-1987

NZHistory has a number of topics which provide excellent case studies for history students of all levels interested in using the context of New Zealand's place in the world between the end of the Secons World War and 1987 when New Zealand passed nuclear free legislation that would define its place in the world. This  period included a number of historical events or places of significance to New Zealanders. As well as considering the impact of such events on New Zealand society these case studies are perfect for examining historical perspective and make ideal research topics. A number of these case studies are also supported by resources and activities designed to support teaching and learning centred on this broad theme.

In the aftermath of the Second World War New Zealand faced a number of situations and decisions which challenged our traditional thinking on foreign policy. These new directions in terms of defence and trade in particular saw New Zealand become increasingly involved in South-East Asia and the Pacific. Our transformation from a country which merely followed Britain's lead increasingly saw us adopt a wider role on the international stage which brought with it fresh challenges and questions.

How to cite this page

'New Zealand in the world: 1945-1987', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 18-Aug-2017