Sunday, March 04, 2007

From East Polynesia to the New Zealand mainland - a historical view:

The following story is from the internet; I acknowledge the work of the writer(s) and hope all New Zealanders will be able to enjoy its historical value.

An oyster-shell fishing lure shank

Haast’s eagle attacking a moa

A gourd used by Māori
A homeland region
At the time of New Zealand settlement there was a voyaging and trading sphere in East Polynesia where ideas and cultural traits were shared and spread. All the available evidence of artefacts, language, biology and tradition suggests that this was the Māori homeland. It consists of the Society Islands, the southern Cook Islands and the Austral Islands in French Polynesia.
Even so, specific archaeological evidence is scarce. The shank of a fishing lure of black-lipped pearl shell, found at Tairua in the Coromandel, is one of a very few items from New Zealand archaeological sites that were actually brought from Polynesia.
It is unlikely that the ancestors of Māori came from only one particular location. DNA from New Zealand’s Pacific rat shows diverse lineages from the Society and Cook Islands. This suggests that several canoes came from a number of sources. They may have come over several generations, or even centuries. A study of human DNA also suggests that there was a minimum of 70–100 women as founding ancestors. Several canoes, possibly coming from several locations, would be needed to bring this number of people.
Return journeys
For a time, the Kermadec Islands and Norfolk Island were occupied as stopover points for canoes returning to East Polynesia. There is also evidence of direct New Zealand–Norfolk connections. But when voyaging slowed, these stepping-stone islands were abandoned. They became part of the group of ‘mystery islands’ that showed evidence of habitation, but were empty when Europeans arrived. Once they stopped returning to Polynesia, the settlers in New Zealand were cut off from the outside world.
A temperate land
Polynesian ancestors of the Māori arrived to a vast, cool archipelago covered in forest, with abundant wildlife. There were moa species (weighing from 20 to 250 kg) and other now extinct native birds including a swan, a goose, and Haast’s eagle (the world’s largest), probably a predator of the moa. Sea mammals, particularly seals, were plentiful on the coast, as were fish and shellfish.
Polynesians introduced the dog and the rat; if pigs and fowl had been on the canoes they did not survive. The settlers also brought with them taro, yam, paper mulberry and the Pacific cabbage tree (Cordyline fruticosa). The kūmara (sweet potato) and gourd were imports from South America via East Polynesia. It was too cold for plants such as coconut, breadfruit and banana.
Next: Why explore?
Related stories from Te Ara
Canoe navigation
First peoples in Māori tradition
When was New Zealand first settled?
From the 1966 Encyclopaedia
Image & Media Trail
The Story
In this story
The world’s first seafarers
Ancient voyaging in Near Oceania
Into Remote Oceania: Lapita people
From West to East Polynesia
Pacific navigation and exploration
East to the empty Pacific
Māori ancestors
Why explore?
Get the Short StoryA quick, easy read
Image & Media GalleryAll the pictures, audio & video
Biographies GalleryThe faces behind the story
Further SourcesWebsites, books & more

More stories about...Māori New Zealanders
1)window.location.href=this.url[this.url.selectedIndex].value;return false;" action=/ENZ/Pages/Redirect.aspx method=get> More... ------------------------- Canoe navigation Canoe traditions First peoples in Māori tradition Hauraki tribes Hawaiki Ideas of Māori origins Māori creation traditions Māori overseas Marutūahu tribes Moriori Muaūpoko Muriwhenua tribes Ngā Puhi Ngā Rauru Kītahi Ngāi Tahu Ngāi Tūhoe Ngāti Apa Ngāti Awa Ngāti Kahungunu Ngāti Maniapoto Ngāti Porou Ngāti Raukawa Ngāti Rongomaiwahine Ngāti Ruanui Ngāti Toarangatira Ngāti Tūwharetoa Ngāti Whātua Rangitāne Tāmaki tribes Taranaki Tauranga Moana tribes Te Arawa Te Āti Awa of Taranaki Te Āti Awa of Wellington Te Whakatōhea Te Whānau-ā-Apanui Tribal organisation Tūranganui-a-Kiwa tribes Urban Māori Waikato Whakatū tribes Whanganui tribes Whāngārei tribes When was New Zealand first settled?

Explore Te Ara
New Zealand in Brief Earth, Sea and Sky New Zealanders Places
English Māori
How to cite this page: Geoff Irwin. 'Pacific migrations', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 21-Dec-2006URL:
^ Page Top

Print this page Print all pages in this story Sitemap Glossary About this site Contact us
© Crown Copyright 2005 - 2007 DisclaimerMinistry for Culture and Heritage / Te Manatū Taonga

_uacct = "UA-406684-2";

ISBN 0-478-18451-4
Visit our other websites:
The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

No comments: