Polynesian cultures have been radically altered by Western colonialism . European explorers navigated much of the area in the latter quarter of the 18th century, and the first missionaries arrived in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Britain annexed New Zealand through the Treaty of Waitangi (1840), but interethnic tension arose between the indigenous Maori . Other colonial powers that laid claim to various parts of Polynesia included France, Germany, New Zealand, the United States, and Chile.

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