Alternate History

New Zealand (1983: Doomsday)

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New Zealand
Aotearoa (Maori)
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: New Zealand
Flag of New Zealand Coat of arms of New Zealand
Flag Coat of Arms
NZL orthographic NaturalEarth
Location of New Zealand
Anthem "God Defend New Zealand"
Capital Wellington
Largest city Auckland
English, Maori
  others Portuguese, Chinese
Religion Christian (55%)
Other (5%)
None (35%)
Ethnic Groups
European, Maori
  others Asian, Pacific Islanders
Demonym New Zealander
Kiwi (colloquial)
Government Federated Parliamentary Democracy
  legislature Parliament of New Zealand
Prime Minister John Key (National Party)
  Royal house: House of Windsor
268,021 km²
  water (%) 2.1
Population 4,817,931 
Established September 26th, 1907
Independence from United Kingdom
  declared December 1931
(Statute of Westminster)
Currency Commonwealth Dollar ($)

The Federated Realm of New Zealand is an integral member of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand (ANZC). Unlike its British Commonwealth and its ANZUS neighbor, the islands of New Zealand were spared Soviet attack on the afternoon on September 26, 1983. As a result, the nation became a much more powerful and influential country in the tumultuous days following "Doomsday." Afterwards, with Australia, it would lead a new Commonwealth into a new age.

Its capital is Wellington, and its current Prime Minister is John Key.


Early Settlement and Maori Period

The islands of what is now known as New Zealand were perhaps the last to be settled. According to legend and modern genetic studies, the islands were settled in a second wave of exploration of sea-faring islanders who originated in the islands now known as Taiwan and the Philippines. The first landfall seems to have been around AD 1275. For five centuries a unique society developed which became the Maori ("natural," or "genuine") people. In about 1520, some sources report, Portuguese explorer Cristóvão de Mendonça first saw these islands. However, it was not until 1642 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman did battle with the Maori before sailing on to Tonga. He sketched the western shores of the two main islands, naming them Staten landt. Three years later a Dutch mapmaker would name the islands Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. No Europeans would return for over a century, at which time British Naval Captain James Cook would explore the islands around 1770 and anglicize the name to "New Zealand."

Though most encounters with the Maori were peaceful between 1770 and the mid nineteenth century, the trade with Europeans changed local warfare drastically. The technology that changed everything was the musket and gunpowder. Before that, the spear had been the weapon of choice. By the time a balance of power was reached in the 1830's, European missionaries had arrived, bringing the message of peace inherent in the Christian religion.

European settlement and the New Nation

The first settlements of Europeans were in 1822 and 1823, with the first full-blooded European child being born in the Bay of Islands in 1815. Contact between Europeans and Maori continued until conflicts over land ownership, especially claims by the New Zealand Company, led to a treaty of independence in 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840. The day is still honored as a national holiday. The "independence" granted the Maori assured self-governance but not land ownership. Various British governors would administer the islands differently in the following years. The Maori population would be over-run by Europeans from 1840 to 1870, resulting in land wars, disease and intermarriage reducing the population from around 86,000 in 1769 to around 42,000 in 1896. As of 2010, though the population of Maori in New Zealand is over 600,000 (about 15% of the population). Eventually, on September 26, 1907, the people of New Zealand declared themselves a Dominion within the British Empire. Though that date did not replace the official holiday of 1840, it changed the outlook of the people as they entered into the 20th century.


Ironically, the date of September 26th would once again change the history of the islands. On that Monday afternoon, somewhere around 3 p.m. local time, reports began to come in from Australia that the Soviet Union was attacking "America and its allies." Communications with America had gone black about the same time. Though it did not appear that the nation was going to be hit, the unrest in Canberra led to similar unrest in Wellington. Within a week, the embassies of all Warsaw Pact nations were under strict New Zealand control.

September 26th had taken on a whole new meaning as New Zealand headed into the post-apocalyptic world of Southern Hemisphere dominance.


Prime Minister Muldoon immediately offered aid to Australia, and requested a meeting to discuss what both countries should do going forward. On October 8, Australian Prime Minister Hawke met Muldoon to discuss the events of Doomsday and subsequent days. In those meetings, the two men discussed ways to better align their resources, even to the extent of combining their military forces in a revision of the ANZUS charter. Hawke requested changes in trade agreements that would redirect agricultural and industrial resources to Australia from assumed lost markets in North America. The Australian leader told the media that the future would see a "joint future" for the two sister nations of the British Commonwealth.

By April 1984, as the fall season saw a dramatic change in the leaves that was cherished by nature-lovers and photographers from around the world, a greater change was developing in the military establishments of the South Pacific.

The ANZUS and the American Provisional Administration

Months before Doomsday, the newest of America's ICBMs, the LGM-118 Peacekeeper, was tested in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii and north of New Zealand. This was on June 17, 1983. Talks began between Australia, New Zealand and the United States (the ANZUS pact) to further test the missiles in the Tasman Sea. Anti-nuclear groups in New Zealand raised a protest but plans had continued. In the wake of the nuclear exchange on September 26th, however, these groups lost their fervor as the reality of nuclear war overshadowed the tests of new delivery systems.

In February of 1984, the hot summer was proving even hotter than usual as weather patterns had shifted along the equator due to the massive number of nuclear strikes in the northern hemisphere. In addition, scientists were claiming the ozone layer had been depleted drastically over Antarctica, reaching almost to Australia. The increase of ultraviolet radiation had begun to be felt by everyone who attempted to go outdoors for any length of time. However, the "hottest" news of the summer was word from America that the government had survived in bunkers near Washington, DC. Prime Minister Robert Muldoon had been contacted by Australian PM Hawke of direct shortwave communication from US President Ronald Reagan himself.

On May 5, 1984, the jet designated "Air Force Two" arrived in Auckland on the North Island. The stop, it had turned out, was only for a refueling before flying to Canberra. The office of PM Muldoon had not been informed of the plans of the US government. This was the first "chill" in the late autumn air. The greatest "chill," though - greater than that of the expected "nuclear winter" - was news on May 8th that Ronald Reagan had been lost at sea, making George Bush the new president of a "government in exile." Liberals and Conservatives alike were appalled when they learned that the elections normally scheduled for November of 1984 had been suspended as the old government was transformed into the "American Provisional Administration."

In contrast to the growing relationship between the Australia and New Zealand, that with former ally from the north chilled considerably. As a result, the American expatriates on the islands became a hotbed of political dissent to the Bush Administration in Canberra. The establishment of a new capital in Jarvis Bay, Australia, further raised concern, as Canberra became the new "capital" of Bush's American Provisional Administration. In 1990, in fact, an American "icon" was symbolically reincarnated in Wellington. John F. Kennedy, Jr., left the APA and came to study at Victoria University. Unbeknownst to them, the future of the former United States rested on Americans amongst them rather than the politicians in Australia.

The Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand

Conflict with South America

The League of Nations

Present Day

In the modern day, New Zealand is one of the stable nations in the world, as well as a cultural hub and an economic powerhouse. It is also one of the largest centers of the American diaspora.

Politics and Government


The culture of New Zealand shares several similarities of that to Australia, but it is a completely different entity entirely.


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