On September 26, 1907, the constitutional status of the colony of New Zealand was elevated to that of a self-governing Dominion in the British Empire. While the new nation was sovereign when it came to its domestic affairs, the United Kingdom maintained control over its relations with the wider world. Over the next four decades, New Zealand gradually gained control over its external policy. The Balfour Declaration of 1926, issued at the end of the Imperial Conference held in London that year, recognized that the United Kingdom and the Dominions were
In December 1931, the United Kingdom codified this relationship in the Statute of Westminster, which specified, however, that its provisions would not come into effect until formally adopted by the government of New Zealand. On November 25, 1947, New Zealand’s Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947 became law.
“autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs.”
Modern Flag of New Zealand
The United States recognized New Zealand as an independent state with autonomous control over its foreign relations on February 16, 1942, when New Zealand’s Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Walter Nash presented his credentials to President Franklin Roosevelt.
Diplomatic relations and the New Zealand Legation in Washington were established on February 16, 1942, when Walter Nash presented his credentials as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to President Franklin Roosevelt.
The United States established its legation in Wellington on April 1, 1942, under the charge of Patrick Hurley. On April 24, Hurley presented his credentials as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Government of New Zealand.
On December 1, 1948, Sir Carl Berendsen, who had been serving as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary since July 12, 1944, presented his credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to President Harry S. Truman.
On November 1, 1948, Robert Scotten, whose credentials as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary had been accepted on April 7, 1948, was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. On December 22, 1948, Scotten presented his credentials as Ambassador to the Government of New Zealand.