After the Treaty of Waitangi was
signed 1840, when New Zealand became a colony of the
British, up until the year 1948 with the passing of
the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship
Act, those people residing in New Zealand were
legally subjects of Great Britain. Citizens of New
Zealand were still considered British Subjects even
after the New Zealand citizenship was created in
1948 until the 1977 Citizenship Act got rid of the
“British subject” description on passports. A
nation’s citizens have full legal, political, and
social obligations and rights within its borders.
Non-citizens however do not posses such privileges,
no matter how long they have lived in a country.
Almost all children born in New Zealand, no matter what
their parents’ nationalities are, they are automatically
considered citizens of New Zealand citizens.
More often than not, people who migrate into the country
want to take the next step and apply for citizenship,
whether to become an official member of the new society in
which they find themselves in, or just to enjoy specific
privileges that come with the new membership or to escape
certain deprivations in their homeland. “Naturalisation” was
the term used when referring to this procedure until 1977.
Afterwards, it was called, ‘citizenship by grant’.
In the Treaty of Waitangi’s Article 3, the Maori
people were given all privileges and rights as subjects of
Their position as British subjects was challenged
because of their unconventional or un-British form
of land tenure which is communal. The 1865 Native
Rights Act confirmed their position as subject of
the British government.
But in reality, the Maori
rights were subverted in several ways over the
following century. Aliens of non-British in the
middle of the 19th century were allowed to come in
and reside in the sovereign dominion of the Queen.
This included New Zealand but the rights of these
people were restricted.
The Germans and French complained and it was not until 1844
that these so-called aliens could acquire the status of
natural-born subjects of the Queen (at this time, it was
Queen Victoria) in NZ through public statements made by the
governor which were afterwards strengthened by ordinances.
When New Zealand became autonomous in 1854, these ordinances
were replaced by a yearly naturalization event.
Authorization of settlements by tribal people was
facilitated by the Treaty of Waitangi. It extended the right
for people not naturally born into the British system to
become British subjects.
Children and married women in the latter part of the
nineteenth century had no individual rights as citizens.
Women of the Realm who married men who were non-citizens
became automatic citizens of whatever nationality the men
belonged to, thus losing their own original citizenship.
From 1866 onwards, Non-British women who married British
subjects became British subjects themselves automatically,
even those who married naturalized citizens. Children of
naturalized paternity or maternity after 1882 were
naturalized automatically, except for the Chinese.
During the early twentieth century, organizations of women
all over the world lobbied for women to gain independent
nationality. Under the Act of 1923, it is stated in the
British Nationality and Status of Aliens that children and
wives of men who have had their citizenship revoked are not
directly affected by this circumstance and shall retain