Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the early Polynesian migrants - the Vikings of the Pacific

TVNZ News today focussed on new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA to the effect that the 'great migration' as it is termed, occured much later than originally thought: Maori first settled in New Zealand between 1210 and 1385 AD, rather than 4 or 5 centuries earlier. Apart from academics, one could be forgiven for wondering "so what?", however, what can not be disputed is that the Polynesians were very accomplished seafarers, and can be compared only with the Vikings in the area of ocean that they managed to cover. Our book Nga Waka Maori: Maori Canoes (1998) looked at the design and construction of some of the early Polynesian craft, as well as those later built by Maori from large native trees.

The area known as Polynesia covers a large triangle in the Pacific Ocean stretching from Hawaii in the north to New Zealand (Aotearoa) in the southwest and Easter Island (Rapanui) in the southeast.

Nga Waka Maori is now unavailable in New Zealand and Australia, but a few copies are available from our US Distributor.

No comments: