The Croatian Community in New Zealand has a unique history. It is about 150 years old, its earliest arrivals were mainly young men from the Dalmatian coast of whom almost all worked as kauri gum diggers before moving into farming, and then into viticulture, fisheries and orchard business. Before large-scale urbanisation in the 1930s they lived in the north of New Zealand where there was also considerable contact with the local Maori population. The arrival of ever more women from Dalmatia, urbanisation and with it the establishment of voluntary associations, an improved knowledge of English, the language of the host society and, above all, economic betterment led to ever greater integration. After World War II migrants from areas of former Yugoslavia other than Croatia started to arrive in bigger numbers. Nowadays Croat people can be found in all spheres of New Zealand society and life, including in the arts, literature and sports. But the history of the Croats in New Zealand is also characterised by its links with the 'Old Country' whose political and social events, the latest in the 1990s, have always had a profound influence on the New Zealand Croatian community.
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