New Zealand was one of 51 countries to sign the United Nations Charter in San Francisco on 26 June 1945. Those gathered declared: 'We, the peoples of the United Nations, are determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.' The UN hoped to succeed where the League of Nations had failed during the 1930s and maintain peace and safety by means of collective security. Member nations resolved to stand together in the face of aggression, while at the same time working together to find solutions to the social, economic and cultural problems of the world.
Despite its small size and isolation, New Zealand played a valuable role in the establishment of the UN. Prime Minister Peter Fraser strongly supported the principle of collective security. Involvement in the UN also encouraged New Zealand to move away from its traditional reliance on Great Britain and adopt an increasingly independent foreign policy.