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How has New Zealand's foreign policy shifted since 1945?

Since 1945, New Zealand's foreign policy has shifted from a Eurocentric focus to a more Asia-Pacific centric approach.

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, New Zealand's foreign policy was largely Eurocentric, reflecting its historical ties to Britain. The country was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) partner programme, reflecting its alignment with Western democratic nations. New Zealand also participated in the Korean War and the Malayan Emergency under the auspices of the Commonwealth.

However, the 1970s and 1980s saw a significant shift in New Zealand's foreign policy. The UK's entry into the European Economic Community in 1973 had a profound impact on New Zealand, as it lost its preferential access to British markets. This led to a reorientation of New Zealand's trade towards Asia and the Pacific. The country also began to assert a more independent foreign policy stance, most notably with its anti-nuclear policy in the 1980s, which led to a suspension of its security treaty with the United States.

In recent decades, New Zealand's foreign policy has continued to evolve. The country has sought to balance its traditional security ties with the United States and Australia, with its growing economic relationships in Asia. New Zealand has also been active in regional organisations such as the Pacific Islands Forum and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reflecting its commitment to multilateralism and regional cooperation.

Furthermore, New Zealand has increasingly recognised the importance of its indigenous Māori culture in its foreign policy. The country has sought to promote a distinctive 'New Zealand brand' on the international stage, which includes a commitment to indigenous rights and the environment. This has been reflected in initiatives such as the establishment of the Māori Economic Development Panel and the incorporation of Māori culture in diplomatic events.

In conclusion, since 1945, New Zealand's foreign policy has undergone significant shifts, moving from a Eurocentic focus to a more Asia-Pacific centric approach, while also asserting a more independent stance and recognising the importance of its indigenous culture.

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