HOME
The Info List - Polynesia



--- Advertisement ---


(i)

POLYNESIA (UK : /ˌpɒlᵻˈniːziə/ ; US : /ˌpɑːləˈniːʒə/ , from Greek : πολύς "poly" _many_ + Greek : νῆσος "nēsos" _island_) is a subregion of Oceania
Oceania
, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia
Polynesia
are termed Polynesians
Polynesians
. They share many similar traits including the language family , culture , and beliefs. Historically, they were experienced sailors who used stars to navigate at night.

The term _Polynesia_ was first used in 1756 by French writer Charles de Brosses , and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific . In 1831, Jules Dumont d\'Urville proposed a restriction on its use during a lecture to the Geographical Society of Paris. Historically, these islands have also been referred to as the SOUTH SEA ISLANDS.

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 1.1 Geology * 1.2 Geographic area

* 1.3 Island
Island
groups

* 1.3.1 Core area

* 1.3.2 Outliers

* 1.3.2.1 Melanesia
Melanesia
* 1.3.2.2 Micronesia
Micronesia
* 1.3.2.3 Subantarctic islands

* 2 History

* 2.1 Origins and expansion * 2.2 Culture

* 2.3 Political history

* 2.3.1 Tonga
Tonga
16th century–present * 2.3.2 Samoa
Samoa
Malietoa–present * 2.3.3 Tahiti
Tahiti
* 2.3.4 Hawaii
Hawaii
* 2.3.5 New Zealand
New Zealand
Māori * 2.3.6 Fiji
Fiji
* 2.3.7 Cook Islands
Cook Islands
* 2.3.8 Tuvalu
Tuvalu

* 3 Links to the Americas * 4 Cultures * 5 Languages * 6 Economy * 7 Inter-Polynesian cooperation * 8 Navigation
Navigation
* 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links

GEOGRAPHY

Cook\'s Bay on Moorea , French Polynesia
French Polynesia
Mokoliʻi Isle near Oahu , Hawaii
Hawaii

GEOLOGY

Polynesia
Polynesia
is characterized by a small amount of land spread over a very large portion of the mid and southern Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
. Most Polynesian islands and archipelagos, including the Hawaiian Islands and Samoa
Samoa
, are composed of volcanic islands built by hotspots . New Zealand , Norfolk Island
Island
, and Ouvéa , the Polynesian outlier near New Caledonia
New Caledonia
, are the unsubmerged portions of the largely sunken continent of Zealandia
Zealandia
. Zealandia
Zealandia
is believed to have mostly sunk 23 million years ago and recently resurfaced geologically due to a change in the movements of the Pacific Plate in relation to the Indo-Australian plate , which served to uplift the New Zealand portion. At first, the Pacific plate was subducted under the Australian plate. The Alpine Fault
Alpine Fault
that traverses the South Island
Island
is currently a transform fault while the convergent plate boundary from the North Island
Island
northwards is called the Kermadec- Tonga
Tonga
Subduction Zone . The volcanism associated with this subduction zone is the origin of the Kermadec and Tongan island archipelagos.

Out of approximately 300,000 or 310,000 square kilometres (117,000 or 118,000 sq mi) of land, over 270,000 km2 (103,000 sq mi) are within New Zealand
New Zealand
; the Hawaiian archipelago comprises about half the remainder. The Zealandia
Zealandia
continent has approximately 3,600,000 km2 (1,400,000 sq mi) of continental shelf. The oldest rocks in the region are found in New Zealand
New Zealand
and are believed to be about 510 million years old. The oldest Polynesian rocks outside of Zealandia
Zealandia
are to be found in the Hawaiian Emperor Seamount Chain, and are 80 million years old.

GEOGRAPHIC AREA

Polynesia
Polynesia
is generally defined as the islands within the Polynesian Triangle , although there are some islands that are inhabited by Polynesian people situated outside the Polynesian Triangle. Geographically, the Polynesian Triangle is drawn by connecting the points of Hawaii
Hawaii
, New Zealand
New Zealand
and Easter Island
Island
. The other main island groups located within the Polynesian Triangle are Samoa
Samoa
, Tonga , the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
, Tuvalu
Tuvalu
, Tokelau , Niue , Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna
and French Polynesia
French Polynesia
.

There are also small Polynesian settlements in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
, the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
, the Caroline Islands , and in Vanuatu
Vanuatu
. An island group with strong Polynesian cultural traits outside of this great triangle is Rotuma , situated north of Fiji
Fiji
. The people of Rotuma have many common Polynesian traits but speak a non-Polynesian language . Some of the Lau Islands to the southeast of Fiji
Fiji
have strong historic and cultural links with Tonga.

However, in essence, Polynesia
Polynesia
is a cultural term referring to one of the three parts of Oceania
Oceania
(the others being Micronesia
Micronesia
and Melanesia ).

ISLAND GROUPS

The following are the islands and island groups, either nations or overseas territories of former colonial powers, that are of native Polynesian culture or where archaeological evidence indicates Polynesian settlement in the past. Some islands of Polynesian origin are outside the general triangle that geographically defines the region.

Core Area

COUNTRY OR DEPENDENCY NOTES

American Samoa
Samoa
Unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs , US Department of the Interior .

Cook Islands
Cook Islands
Self-governing state in free association with New Zealand
New Zealand

Easter Island
Island
Province and special territory of Chile
Chile

French Polynesia
French Polynesia
Overseas country of France

Hawaii
Hawaii
A state of the United States

New Zealand
New Zealand
Independent nation

Niue Self-governing state in free association with New Zealand

Norfolk Island
Island
An Australian External Territory

Pitcairn Islands A British Overseas Territory

Samoa
Samoa
Independent nation

Tokelau Overseas dependency of New Zealand

Tonga
Tonga
Independent nation

Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Independent nation

Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna
Collectivity of France

Rotuma Fijian dependency

The Phoenix Islands
Phoenix Islands
and Line Islands , most of which are part of Kiribati , are geographically Polynesian islands, but they had no permanent settlements until European colonization.

Outliers

Melanesia

* Anuta (in the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
) * Bellona Island
Island
(in the Solomon Islands) * Emae
Emae
(in Vanuatu) * Fiji
Fiji
* Mele (in Vanuatu
Vanuatu
) * Nuguria (in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
) * Nukumanu (in Papua New Guinea) * Ontong Java (in the Solomon Islands) * Pileni (in the Solomon Islands) * Rennell (in the Solomon Islands) * Sikaiana (in the Solomon Islands) * Takuu (in Papua New Guinea) * Tikopia (in the Solomon Islands) * The United States Minor Outlying Islands

Micronesia

* Kapingamarangi
Kapingamarangi
(in the Federated States of Micronesia
Micronesia
) * Nukuoro (in the Federated States of Micronesia)

Subantarctic Islands

* Auckland Islands (the most southerly known evidence of Polynesian settlement)

HISTORY

ORIGINS AND EXPANSION

The Polynesian spread of colonization in the Pacific Moai at Ahu Tongariki on Rapa Nui

The Polynesian people are considered to be by linguistic, archaeological and human genetic ancestry a subset of the sea-migrating Austronesian people . Tracing Polynesian languages places their prehistoric origins in the Malay Archipelago , and ultimately, in Taiwan
Taiwan
.

Between about 3000 and 1000 BC speakers of Austronesian languages began spreading from Taiwan
Taiwan
into Island
Island
Southeast Asia
Asia
.

There are three theories regarding the spread of humans across the Pacific to Polynesia. These are outlined well by Kayser _et al._ (2000) and are as follows:

* Express Train model: A recent (c. 3000–1000 BC) expansion out of Taiwan, via the Philippines
Philippines
and eastern Indonesia
Indonesia
and from the northwest ("Bird\'s Head ") of New Guinea
New Guinea
, on to Island
Island
Melanesia
Melanesia
by roughly 1400 BC, reaching western Polynesian islands around 900 BC. This theory is supported by the majority of current genetic linguistic , and archaeological data. * Entangled Bank model: Emphasizes the long history of Austronesian speakers' cultural and genetic interactions with indigenous Island Southeast Asians and Melanesians along the way to becoming the first Polynesians. * Slow Boat model: Similar to the express-train model but with a longer hiatus in Melanesia
Melanesia
along with admixture, both genetically, culturally and linguistically with the local population. This is supported by the Y-chromosome data of Kayser _et al._ (2000), which shows that all three haplotypes of Polynesian Y chromosomes can be traced back to Melanesia.

In the archaeological record there are well-defined traces of this expansion which allow the path it took to be followed and dated with some certainty. It is thought that by roughly 1400 BC, "Lapita Peoples", so-named after their pottery tradition, appeared in the Bismarck Archipelago of northwest Melanesia
Melanesia
. This culture is seen as having adapted and evolved through time and space since its emergence "Out of Taiwan
Taiwan
". They had given up rice production, for instance, after encountering and adapting to breadfruit in the Bird's Head area of New Guinea.

The results of research at the Teouma Lapita site (Efate Island
Island
, Vanuatu
Vanuatu
) and the Talasiu Lapita site (near Nuku\'alofa , Tonga
Tonga
) published in 2016 supports the Express Train model; although with the qualification that the migration bypassed New Guinea
New Guinea
and Island Melanesia
Melanesia
. The conclusion from research published in 2016 is that the initial population of those two sites appears to come directly from Taiwan
Taiwan
or the northern Philippines
Philippines
and did not mix with the ‘AustraloPapuans’ of New Guinea
New Guinea
and the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
. The preliminary analysis of skulls found at the Teouma and Talasiu Lapita sites is that they lack Australian or Papuan affinities and instead have affinities to mainland Asian populations. DNA analysis of modern Polynesians
Polynesians
indicates that there has been intermarriage resulting in a mixed Asian-Papuan ancestry of the Polynesians. Research at the Teouma and Talasiu Lapita sites implies that the migration and intermarriage, which resulted in the mixed Asian-Papuan ancestry of the Polynesians, occurred after the first initial migration to Vanuatu
Vanuatu
and Tonga.

The most eastern site for Lapita archaeological remains recovered so far is at Mulifanua on Upolu . The Mulifanua site, where 4,288 pottery shards have been found and studied, has a "true" age of c. 1000 BC based on C14 dating. A 2010 study places the beginning of the human archaeological sequences of Polynesia
Polynesia
in Tonga
Tonga
at 900 B.C.

Within a mere three or four centuries, between 1300 and 900 BC, the Lapita archaeological culture spread 6,000 km further to the east from the Bismarck Archipelago, until reaching as far as Fiji
Fiji
, Tonga, and Samoa
Samoa
which were first populated around 3,000 years ago as previously mentioned. A cultural divide began to develop between Fiji
Fiji
to the west, and the distinctive Polynesian language
Polynesian language
and culture emerging on Tonga
Tonga
and Samoa
Samoa
to the east. Where there was once faint evidence of uniquely shared developments in Fijian and Polynesian speech, most of this is now called "borrowing" and is thought to have occurred in those and later years more than as a result of continuing unity of their earliest dialects on those far-flung lands. Contacts were mediated especially through the eastern Lau Islands of Fiji. This is where most Fijian-Polynesian linguistic interaction occurred. Grinding stones discovered from archaeology in Samoa
Samoa

Tiny populations seem to have been involved at first.

CULTURE

The Polynesians
Polynesians
were matrilineal and matrilocal societies upon arrival in Fiji, Tonga
Tonga
and Samoa, after having been through at least some time in the Bismarck Archipelago. The modern Polynesians
Polynesians
still show human genetic results of a Melanesian culture which allowed indigenous men, but not women, to "marry in" – useful evidence for matrilocality.

Although matrilocality and matrilineality receded at some early time, Polynesians
Polynesians
and most other Austronesian speakers in the Pacific Islands, were/are still highly "matricentric" in their traditional jurisprudence. The Lapita pottery for which the general archaeological complex of the earliest "Oceanic" Austronesian speakers in the Pacific Islands are named also went away in Western Polynesia. Language, social life and material culture were very distinctly "Polynesian" by the time Eastern Polynesia was being settled after a "pause" of 1000 years or more in Western Polynesia.

The dating of the settlement of Eastern Polynesia, including Hawai\'i , Easter Island
Island
, and New Zealand
New Zealand
, is not agreed upon in every instance. Most recently, a 2010 study using meta-analysis of the most reliable radiocarbon dates available suggested that the colonization of Eastern Polynesia (including Hawaii
Hawaii
and New Zealand) proceeded in two short episodes: in the Society Islands
Society Islands
from 1025–1120 AD and further afield from 1190–1290 AD, with Easter Island
Island
being settled around 1200. Other archeological models developed in recent decades, which are challenged by that recent set of radiocarbon dating interpretations, have pointed to dates of between 300 and 500 AD, or alternatively 800 AD (as supported by Jared Diamond ) for the settlement of Easter Island, and similarly, a date of 500 AD has been suggested for Hawaii. Linguistically, there is a very distinct "East Polynesian" subgroup with many shared innovations not seen in other Polynesian languages. The Marquesas dialects are perhaps the source of the oldest Hawaiian speech which is overlaid by Tahitian variety speech, as Hawaiian oral histories would suggest. The earliest varieties of New Zealand
New Zealand
Maori speech may have had multiple sources from around central Eastern Polynesia as Maori oral histories would suggest.

POLITICAL HISTORY

Tonga
Tonga
16th Century–present

After a bloody civil war, political power in Tonga
Tonga
eventually fell under the Tu\'i Kanokupolu dynasty in the 16th century.

In 1845 the ambitious young warrior, strategist, and orator Tāufaʻāhau united Tonga
Tonga
into a more Western-style kingdom. He held the chiefly title of Tuʻi Kanokupolu, but had been baptised with the name Jiaoji ("George") in 1831. In 1875, with the help of the missionary Shirley Waldemar Baker , he declared Tonga
Tonga
a constitutional monarchy, formally adopted the western royal style, emancipated the "serfs", enshrined a code of law, land tenure, and freedom of the press, and limited the power of the chiefs.

Tonga
Tonga
became a British-protected state under a Treaty of Friendship on 18 May 1900, when European settlers and rival Tongan chiefs tried to oust the second king. Within the British Empire, which posted no higher permanent representative on Tonga
Tonga
than a British Consul (1901–1970), Tonga
Tonga
formed part of the British Western Pacific Territories (under a colonial High Commissioner, residing in Fiji) from 1901 until 1952. Despite being under the protectorate, Tonga retained its monarchy without interruption.

On June 4, 1970 the Kingdom of Tonga
Tonga
received independence from the British protectorate.

Samoa
Samoa
Malietoa–present

Samoa
Samoa
remained under Malietoa chieftains until its East-West division by Tripartite Convention (1899) subsequent annexation by the German Empire and the United States. The German-controlled Western portion of Samoa
Samoa
(consisting of the bulk of Samoan territory) was occupied by New Zealand in WWI, and administered by it under a Class C League of Nations Mandate until receiving independence on January 1, 1962. The new Independent State of Samoa
Samoa
was not a monarchy, though the Malietoa title-holder remained very influential. It officially ended, however with the death of Malietoa Tanumafili II on May 11, 2007.

Tahiti

Main article: Pomare Dynasty

Hawaii

Polynesians
Polynesians
with Outrigger
Outrigger
canoes at Waikiki beach , Oahu Island, early 20th century Main article: Kingdom of Hawaii
Hawaii

New Zealand
New Zealand
Māori

On October 28, 1835 members of the Ngāpuhi and surrounding Māori tribes (iwi ) issued a "declaration of independence", as a "confederation of tribes" to resist potential French colonization efforts and to prevent the ships and cargo of Māori merchants from being seized at foreign ports. They received recognition from the British monarch in 1836. (See United Tribes of New Zealand
New Zealand
, New Zealand Declaration of Independence , James Busby .)

Using the Treaty of Waitangi and right of discovery as a basis, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
annexed New Zealand
New Zealand
as a part of New South Wales
New South Wales
in 1840.

In response to the actions of the colonial government, Māori looked to form a monarchy inclusive of all Māori tribes in order to reduce vulnerability to the British divide-and-conquer strategy. Pōtatau Te Wherowhero , high priest and chief of the Ngāti Mahuta tribe of the Waikato
Waikato
iwi, was crowned as the Māori king in 1858. The king's territory consisted primarily of the lands in the center of the North Island, and the iwi constituted the most powerful non-signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi, with Te Wherowhero also never having signed it. (See Kingitanga .)

All tribes were incorporated into rule under the colonial government by the late 19th century. Although Māori were given the privilege of being legally enfranchised subjects of the British Empire under the Treaty, Māori culture and language (te reo Māori) were actively suppressed by the colonial government and by economic and social pressures from the Pakeha society. Efforts were made to preserve indigenous culture starting in the late 1950s and culminating in the Waitangi Tribunal
Waitangi Tribunal
's interpretation of language and culture being included in the treasures set to be preserved under the Treaty of Waitangi. Moving from a low point of 15,000 speakers in the 1970s, there are now over 157,000 people who have some proficiency in the standard Māori language according to the 2006 census in New Zealand, due in large part to government recognition and promotion of the language.

Fiji

See also: History of Fiji
Fiji
, Seru Epenisa Cakobau , and Fiji
Fiji
during the time of Cakobau

The Lau islands were subject to periods of Tongan rulership and then Fijian control until their eventual conquest by Seru Epenisa Cakobau of the Kingdom of Fiji
Fiji
by 1871. In around 1855 a Tongan prince, Enele Ma\'afu , proclaimed the Lau islands as his kingdom, and took the title Tui Lau .

Fiji
Fiji
itself had been ruled by numerous divided chieftains until Cakobau unified the landmass. The Lapita culture, the ancestors of the Polynesians, existed in Fiji
Fiji
from 3500 BCE until they were displaced by the Melanesians about a thousand years later. (Interestingly, Samoans and subsequent Polynesian cultures adopted Melanesian face painting methods.)

In 1873, Cakobau ceded a Fiji
Fiji
heavily indebted to foreign creditors to the United Kingdom. It became independent on 10 October 1970 and a republic on 28 September 1987.

Cook Islands

See also: History of the Cook Islands
Cook Islands

The Cook Islands
Cook Islands
is made up of 15 Islands comprising the Northern and Southern Groups. The islands are spread out across many kilometers of a vast ocean. The largest of these islands is called Rarotonga, which is also the political and economic capital of the nation.

The Cook Islands
Cook Islands
were formerly known as the Hervey Islands, but this name only refers to the Northern Groups. It is unknown when this name was changed to reflect the current name. It is thought that the Cook Islands were settled in two periods: the Tahitian Period, when the country was settled between 900 - 1300 AD. The second settlement, the Maui Settlement, occurred in 1600 AD, when a large contingent from Tahiti
Tahiti
settled in Rarotonga, in the Takitumu district.

Cook Islanders are ethnically Polynesians
Polynesians
or Eastern Polynesia. They are culturally associated with Tahiti, Eastern Islands, NZ Maori and Hawaii. Early in the 17th century, became the first race to settle in New Zealand.

Tuvalu

Main article: History of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Canoe
Canoe
carving on Nanumea
Nanumea
atoll, Tuvalu
Tuvalu

The reef islands and atolls of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
are identified as being part of West Polynesia. During pre-European-contact times there was frequent canoe voyaging between the islands as Polynesian navigation skills are recognised to have allowed deliberate journeys on double-hull sailing canoes or outrigger canoes . Eight of the nine islands of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
were inhabited; thus the name, Tuvalu, means "eight standing together" in Tuvaluan . The pattern of settlement that is believed to have occurred is that the Polynesians
Polynesians
spread out from Samoa
Samoa
and Tonga
Tonga
into the Tuvaluan atolls, with Tuvalu
Tuvalu
providing a stepping stone for migration into the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia
Melanesia
and Micronesia
Micronesia
.

Stories as to the ancestors of the Tuvaluans vary from island to island. On Niutao
Niutao
, Funafuti
Funafuti
and Vaitupu
Vaitupu
the founding ancestor is described as being from Samoa
Samoa
; whereas on Nanumea
Nanumea
the founding ancestor is described as being from Tonga
Tonga
.

The extent of influence of the Tuʻi Tonga
Tonga
line of Tongan kings, which originated in the 10th century, is understood to have extended to some of the islands of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
in the 11th to mid-13th century. The oral history of Niutao
Niutao
recalls that in the 15th century Tongan warriors were defeated in a battle on the reef of Niutao. Tongan warriors also invaded Niutao
Niutao
later in the 15th century and again were repelled. A third and fourth Tongan invasion of Niutao
Niutao
occurred in the late 16th century, again with the Tongans being defeated.

Fishing was the primary source of protein, with the cuisine of Tuvalu reflecting food that could be grown on low-lying atolls. Navigation between the islands of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
was carried out using outrigger canoes. The population levels of the low-lying islands of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
had to be managed because of the effects of periodic droughts and the risk of severe famine if the gardens were poisoned by salt from the storm-surge of a tropical cyclone .

LINKS TO THE AMERICAS

See also: Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact § Possible Polynesian trans-oceanic contact

The sweet potato , called _kūmara_ in Māori and _kumar_ in Quechua , is native to the Americas and was widespread in Polynesia
Polynesia
when Europeans first reached the Pacific. Remains of the plant in the Cook Islands have been radiocarbon-dated to 1000, and current thinking is that it was brought to central Polynesia
Polynesia
c. 700 and spread across Polynesia
Polynesia
from there, possibly by Polynesians
Polynesians
who had traveled to South America
South America
and back.

Thor Heyerdahl
Thor Heyerdahl
proposed in the mid-20th century that the Polynesians had migrated from the northwest coast of Canada
Canada
by large whale-hunting dugouts, and from South America
South America
on balsa -log boats. Many anthropologists have criticised Heyerdahl's theory, including Wade Davis in his book _The Wayfinders_. Davis says that Heyerdahl "ignored the overwhelming body of linguistic, ethnographic, and ethnobotanical evidence, augmented today by genetic and archaeological data, indicating that he was patently wrong."

CULTURES

Main article: Polynesian culture _ Painting of Tahitian Women on the Beach_ by Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
—Musée d\'Orsay

Polynesia
Polynesia
divides into two distinct cultural groups, East Polynesia and West Polynesia. The culture of West Polynesia
Polynesia
is conditioned to high populations. It has strong institutions of marriage and well-developed judicial, monetary and trading traditions. It comprises the groups of Tonga
Tonga
, Niue , Samoa
Samoa
and extends to the atolls of Tuvalu to the north. The pattern of settlement that is believed to have occurred is that the Polynesians
Polynesians
spread out from the Samoan Islands into the Tuvaluan atolls, with Tuvalu
Tuvalu
providing a stepping stone to migration into the Polynesian Outlier communities in Melanesia
Melanesia
and Micronesia
Micronesia
.

Eastern Polynesian cultures are highly adapted to smaller islands and atolls, principally the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
, Tahiti
Tahiti
, the Tuamotus
Tuamotus
, the Marquesas , Hawaii
Hawaii
, Rapa Nui and smaller central-pacific groups. The large islands of New Zealand
New Zealand
were first settled by Eastern Polynesians who adapted their culture to a non-tropical environment.

Unlike Melanesia
Melanesia
, leaders were chosen in Polynesia
Polynesia
based on their hereditary bloodline. Samoa, however, had another system of government that combines elements of heredity and real-world skills to choose leaders. This system is called Fa\'amatai . According to Ben R. Finney and Eric M. Jones, "On Tahiti, for example, the 35,000 Polynesians living there at the time of European discovery were divided between high-status persons with full access to food and other resources, and low-status persons with limited access." Carving from the ridgepole of a Māori house, ca 1840

Religion, farming, fishing, weather prediction, out-rigger canoe (similar to modern catamarans ) construction and navigation were highly developed skills because the population of an entire island depended on them. Trading of both luxuries and mundane items was important to all groups. Periodic droughts and subsequent famines often led to war. Many low-lying islands could suffer severe famine if their gardens were poisoned by the salt from the storm-surge of a tropical cyclone . In these cases fishing, the primary source of protein, would not ease loss of food energy . Navigators, in particular, were highly respected and each island maintained a house of navigation with a canoe-building area.

Settlements by the Polynesians
Polynesians
were of two categories: the hamlet and the village. The size of the island inhabited determined whether or not a hamlet would be built. The larger volcanic islands usually had hamlets because of the many zones that could be divided across the island. Food and resources were more plentiful. These settlements of four to five houses (usually with gardens) were established so that there would be no overlap between the zones. Villages, on the other hand, were built on the coasts of smaller islands and consisted of thirty or more houses—in the case of atolls, on only one of the group so that food cultivation was on the others. Usually these villages were fortified with walls and palisades made of stone and wood.

However, New Zealand
New Zealand
demonstrates the opposite: large volcanic islands with fortified villages.

As well as being great navigators, these people were artists and artisans of great skill. Simple objects, such as fish-hooks would be manufactured to exacting standards for different catches and decorated even when the decoration was not part of the function. Stone and wooden weapons were considered to be more powerful the better they were made and decorated. In some island groups weaving was a strong part of the culture and gifting woven articles was an ingrained practice. Dwellings were imbued with character by the skill of their building. Body decoration and jewelry is of an international standard to this day.

The religious attributes of Polynesians
Polynesians
were common over the whole Pacific region. While there are some differences in their spoken languages they largely have the same explanation for the creation of the earth and sky, for the gods that rule aspects of life and for the religious practices of everyday life. People traveled thousands of miles to celebrations that they all owned communally.

Beginning in the 1820s large numbers of missionaries worked in the islands, converting many groups to Christianity. Polynesia, argues Ian Breward, is now "one of the most strongly Christian regions in the world....Christianity was rapidly and successfully incorporated into Polynesian culture. War and slavery disappeared."

LANGUAGES

Main article: Polynesian languages

Polynesian languages are all members of the family of Oceanic languages , a sub-branch of the Austronesian language family. Polynesian languages show a considerable degree of similarity. The vowels are generally the same—a, e, i, o, and u, pronounced as in Italian , Spanish , and German —and the consonants are always followed by a vowel. The languages of various island groups show changes in consonants . _R_ and _v_ are used in central and eastern Polynesia
Polynesia
whereas _l_ and _v_ are used in western Polynesia. The glottal stop is increasingly represented by an inverted comma or ‘okina . In the Society Islands
Society Islands
, the original Proto-Polynesian *_k_ and *_ng_ have merged as glottal stop; so the name for the ancestral homeland, deriving from Proto-Nuclear Polynesian _*sawaiki_, becomes Havai'i. In New Zealand, where the original *_w_ is used instead of _v_, the ancient home is Hawaiki . In the Cook Islands, where the glottal stop replaces the original *_s_ (with a likely intermediate stage of *_h_), it is ‘Avaiki. In the Hawaiian islands, where the glottal stop replaces the original _k_, the largest island of the group is named Hawai‘i. In Samoa, where the original _s_ is used instead of _h_, _v_ replaces _w_, and the glottal stop replaces the original _k_, the largest island is called Savai\'i .

ECONOMY

With the exception of New Zealand, the majority of independent Polynesian islands derive much of their income from foreign aid and remittances from those who live in other countries. Some encourage their young people to go where they can earn good money to remit to their stay-at-home relatives. Many Polynesian locations, such as Easter Island
Island
, supplement this with tourism income. Some have more unusual sources of income, such as Tuvalu
Tuvalu
which marketed its ' .tv ' internet top-level domain name or the Cooks that relied on postage stamp sales. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
, Prime Minister of Samoa
Samoa
, who initiated the Polynesian Leaders Group
Polynesian Leaders Group
in late 2011.

INTER-POLYNESIAN COOPERATION

After several years of discussing a potential regional grouping, three sovereign states (Samoa, Tonga
Tonga
and Tuvalu) and five self-governing but non-sovereign territories formally launched, in November 2011, the Polynesian Leaders Group
Polynesian Leaders Group
, intended to cooperate on a variety of issues including culture and language, education, responses to climate change, and trade and investment. It does not, however, constitute a political or monetary union.

NAVIGATION

Main article: Polynesian navigation

Polynesia
Polynesia
comprised islands diffused throughout a triangular area with sides of four thousand miles. The area from the Hawaiian Islands in the north, to Easter Island
Island
in the east and to New Zealand
New Zealand
in the south were all settled by Polynesians.

Navigators traveled to small inhabited islands using only their own senses and knowledge passed by oral tradition from navigator to apprentice. In order to locate directions at various times of day and year, navigators in Eastern Polynesia memorized important facts: the motion of specific stars , and where they would rise on the horizon of the ocean; weather ; times of travel; wildlife species (which congregate at particular positions); directions of swells on the ocean, and how the crew would feel their motion; colors of the sea and sky, especially how clouds would cluster at the locations of some islands; and angles for approaching harbors. _ Polynesian (Hawaiian) navigators sailing multi-hulled canoe , ca 1781 A common fishing canoe va'a_ with outrigger in Savai\'i island, Samoa
Samoa
, 2009

These wayfinding techniques, along with outrigger canoe construction methods, were kept as guild secrets. Generally each island maintained a guild of navigators who had very high status; in times of famine or difficulty these navigators could trade for aid or evacuate people to neighboring islands. On his first voyage of Pacific exploration Cook had the services of a Polynesian navigator, Tupaia , who drew a hand-drawn Chart of the islands within 3,200 km (2,000 mi) radius (to the north and west) of his home island of Ra\'iatea . Tupaia had knowledge of 130 islands and named 74 on his Chart. Tupaia had navigated from Ra'iatea in short voyages to 13 islands. He had not visited western Polynesia, as since his grandfather’s time the extent of voyaging by Raiateans has diminished to the islands of eastern Polynesia. His grandfather and father had passed to Tupaia the knowledge as to the location of the major islands of western Polynesia and the navigation information necessary to voyage to Fiji
Fiji
, Samoa
Samoa
and Tonga
Tonga
. As the Admiralty orders directed Cook to search for the “Great Southern Continent” , Cook ignored Tupaia’s Chart and his skills as a navigator. To this day, original traditional methods of Polynesian Navigation
Navigation
are still taught in the Polynesian outlier of Taumako Island
Island
in the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
.

From a single chicken bone recovered from the archaeological site of El Arenal-1, on the Arauco Peninsula , Chile, a 2007 research report looking at radiocarbon dating and an ancient DNA sequence indicate that Polynesian navigators may have reached the Americas at least 100 years before Columbus (who arrived 1492 AD), introducing chickens to South America. A later report looking at the same specimens concluded:

A published, apparently pre-Columbian, Chilean specimen and six pre-European Polynesian specimens also cluster with the same European/Indian subcontinental/Southeast Asian sequences, providing no support for a Polynesian introduction of chickens to South America. In contrast, sequences from two archaeological sites on Easter Island group with an uncommon haplogroup from Indonesia, Japan, and China and may represent a genetic signature of an early Polynesian dispersal. Modeling of the potential marine carbon contribution to the Chilean archaeological specimen casts further doubt on claims for pre-Columbian chickens, and definitive proof will require further analyses of ancient DNA sequences and radiocarbon and stable isotope data from archaeological excavations within both Chile
Chile
and Polynesia.

Knowledge of the traditional Polynesian methods of navigation were largely lost after contact with and colonization by Europeans. This left the problem of accounting for the presence of the Polynesians
Polynesians
in such isolated and scattered parts of the Pacific. By the late 19th century to the early 20th century a more generous view of Polynesian navigation had come into favor, perhaps creating a romantic picture of their canoes, seamanship and navigational expertise.

In the mid to late 1960s, scholars began testing sailing and paddling experiments related to Polynesian navigation: David Lewis sailed his catamaran from Tahiti
Tahiti
to New Zealand
New Zealand
using stellar navigation without instruments and Ben Finney built a 40-foot replica of a Hawaiian double canoe "Nalehia" and tested it in Hawaii. Meanwhile, Micronesian ethnographic research in the Caroline Islands revealed that traditional stellar navigational methods were still in every day use. Recent re-creations of Polynesian voyaging have used methods based largely on Micronesian methods and the teachings of a Micronesian navigator, Mau Piailug .

It is probable that the Polynesian navigators employed a whole range of techniques including use of the stars, the movement of ocean currents and wave patterns, the air and sea interference patterns caused by islands and atolls , the flight of birds, the winds and the weather. Scientists think that long-distance Polynesian voyaging followed the seasonal paths of birds . There are some references in their oral traditions to the flight of birds and some say that there were range marks onshore pointing to distant islands in line with these flyways . One theory is that they would have taken a frigatebird with them. These birds refuse to land on the water as their feathers will become waterlogged making it impossible to fly. When the voyagers thought they were close to land they may have released the bird, which would either fly towards land or else return to the canoe. It is likely that the Polynesians
Polynesians
also used wave and swell formations to navigate. It is thought that the Polynesian navigators may have measured the time it took to sail between islands in "canoe-days’’ or a similar type of expression.

Also, people of the Marshall Islands used special devices called stick charts , showing the places and directions of swells and wave-breaks, with tiny seashells affixed to them to mark the positions of islands along the way. Materials for these maps were readily available on beaches, and their making was simple; however, their effective use needed years and years of study.

SEE ALSO

* Geography portal * Oceania
Oceania
portal

* List of Polynesians
Polynesians
* Polynesian mythology * Polynesian Society * Polynesian Voyaging Society * Films set in Polynesia
Polynesia

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ Hiroa, Te Rangi (Sir Peter Henry Buck) (1964). _Vikings of the Sunrise_. _NZ Electronic Text Centre, Victoria University, NZ Licence CC-BY-SA 3.0_ (reprint ed.). Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd. p. 67. Retrieved 2 March 2010. * ^ Russell, Michael (1849) _Polynesia: A History of the South Sea Islands, Including New Zealand_. * ^ Islands that were uninhabited at contact but which have archaeological evidence of Polynesian settlement include Norfolk Island, Pitcairn, New Zealand's Kermadec Islands and some small islands near Hawaii. * ^ O'Connor, Tom (2004). " Polynesians
Polynesians
in the Southern Ocean: Occupation of the Auckland Islands in Prehistory". _New Zealand Geographic_. 69: 6–8. * ^ Anderson, Atholl J. and O'Regan, Gerard R. (2000) "To the Final Shore: Prehistoric Colonisation of the Subantarctic Islands in South Polynesia", pp. 440–454 in _Australian Archaeologist: Collected Papers in Honour of Jim Allen_ Canberra: Australian National University. * ^ Anderson, Atholl J. and O'Regan, Gerard R. (1999) "The Polynesian Archaeology of the Subantarctic Islands: An Initial Report on Enderby Island". Southern Margins Project Report. Dunedin: Ngai Tahu Development Report * ^ Anderson, Atholl (2005). "Subpolar Settlement in South Polynesia". _Antiquity_. 79 (306): 791–800. doi :10.1017/S0003598X00114930 (inactive 2017-01-27). * ^ _A_ _B_ Hage, P.; Marck, J. (2003). " Matrilineality and Melanesian Origin of Polynesian Y Chromosomes". _Current Anthropology_. 44 (S5): S121. doi :10.1086/379272 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Kayser, M.; Brauer, S; Cordaux, R; Casto, A; Lao, O; Zhivotovsky, L. A.; Moyse-Faurie, C; Rutledge, R. B.; Schiefenhoevel, W; Gil, D; Lin, A. A.; Underhill, P. A.; Oefner, P. J.; Trent, R. J.; Stoneking, M (2006). "Melanesian and Asian Origins of Polynesians: MtDNA and Y Chromosome Gradients Across the Pacific" (PDF). _Molecular Biology and Evolution_. 23 (11): 2234–44. PMID 16923821 . doi :10.1093/molbev/msl093 . * ^ Su, B.; Jin, L.; Underhill, P.; Martinson, J.; Saha, N.; McGarvey, S. T.; Shriver, M. D.; Chu, J.; Oefner, P.; Chakraborty, R.; Deka, R. (2000). "Polynesian origins: Insights from the Y chromosome". _Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_. 97 (15): 8225. Bibcode :2000PNAS...97.8225S. doi :10.1073/pnas.97.15.8225 . * ^ Kayser, M.; Brauer, S.; Weiss, G.; Underhill, P.; Roewer, L.; Schiefenhövel, W.; Stoneking, M. (2000). "Melanesian origin of Polynesian Y chromosomes". _Current Biology_. 10 (20): 1237–46. PMID 11069104 . doi :10.1016/S0960-9822(00)00734-X . * ^ Kirch, P. V. (2000). _On the road of the wings: an archaeological history of the Pacific Islands before European contact_. London: University of California Press. ISBN 0520234618 . Quoted in Kayser, M.; _et al_. (2006). * ^ _A_ _B_ Pontus Skoglund; et al. (27 October 2016). "Genomic insights into the peopling of the Southwest Pacific". _Nature_. 538 (7626): 510–513. PMID 27698418 . doi :10.1038/nature19844 . Retrieved 11 January 2017. CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link ) * ^ "Genomic insights into the peopling of the Southwest Pacific - Supplementary Note 1: The Teouma site / Supplementary Note 2: The Talasiu site". 538. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017. * ^ "First ancestry of Ni- Vanuatu
Vanuatu
is Asian: New DNA Discoveries recently published". Island
Island
Business. December 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017. * ^ Green, Roger C.; Leach, Helen M. (1989). "New Information for the Ferry Berth Site, Mulifanua, Western Samoa". _Journal of the Polynesian Society_. 98 (3). Retrieved 1 November 2009. * ^ _A_ _B_ Burley, David V.; Barton, Andrew; Dickinson, William R.; Connaughton, Sean P.; Taché, Karine (2010). "Nukuleka as a Founder Colony for West Polynesian Settlement: New Insights from Recent Excavations". _Journal of Pacific Archaeology_. 1 (2): 128–144. * ^ Bellwood, Peter (1987). _The Polynesians
Polynesians
Prehistory
Prehistory
of an Island
Island
People_. Thames and Hudson. pp. 45–65. ISBN 0500274509 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Hage, P. (1998). "Was Proto Oceanic Society matrilineal?". _Journal of the Polynesian Society_. 107 (4): 365–379. JSTOR 20706828 . * ^ Marck, J. (2008). "Proto Oceanic Society was matrilineal". _Journal of the Polynesian Society_. 117 (4): 345–382. JSTOR 20707458 . * ^ Wilmshurst, J. M.; Hunt, T. L.; Lipo, C. P.; Anderson, A. J. (2010). "High-precision radiocarbon dating shows recent and rapid initial human colonization of East Polynesia" . _Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_. 108 (5): 1815. Bibcode :2011PNAS..108.1815W. PMC 3033267  _. PMID 21187404 . doi :10.1073/pnas.1015876108 . * ^ Hunt, T. L.; Lipo, C. P. (2006). "Late Colonization of Easter Island". Science_. 311 (5767): 1603–1606. Bibcode :2006Sci...311.1603H. PMID 16527931 . doi :10.1126/science.1121879 . * ^ Hunt, Terry; Lipo, Carl (2011). _The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island_. Free Press. ISBN 1-4391-5031-1 . * ^ "The Treaty of Waitangi". _The colonisation of New Zealand_. Retrieved 20 September 2011. * ^ " Māori language speakers", msd.govt.nz * ^ Bellwood, Peter (1987). _The Polynesians
Polynesians
Prehistory
Prehistory
of an Island
Island
People_. Thames and Hudson. pp. 39–44. * ^ _A_ _B_ Bellwood, Peter (1987). _The Polynesians
Polynesians
– Prehistory of an Island
Island
People_. Thames and Hudson. pp. 29, 54. ISBN 0500274509 .

* ^ _A_ _B_ Bayard, D.T. (1976). _The Cultural Relationships of the Polynesian Outiers_. Otago University, Studies in Prehistoric Anthropology, Vol. 9. * ^ _A_ _B_ Kirch, P.V. (1984). "The Polynesian Outiers". _Journal of Pacific History_. 95 (4): 224–238. doi :10.1080/00223348408572496 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Sogivalu, Pulekau A. (1992). _A Brief History of Niutao_. Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific. ISBN 982-02-0058-X . * ^ _A_ _B_ O’Brien, Talakatoa (1983). _Tuvalu: A History, Chapter 1, Genesis_. Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific and Government of Tuvalu. * ^ _A_ _B_ Kennedy, Donald G. (1929). "Field Notes on the Culture of Vaitupu, Ellice Islands". _Journal of the Polynesian Society_. 38: 2–5. * ^ Van Tilburg, Jo Anne (1994). _Easter Island: Archaeology, Ecology and Culture_. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. * ^ Sharp, Andrew (1963). _Ancient Voyagers in Polynesia_, Longman Paul Ltd. pp. 122–128. * ^ Finney, Ben R. (1976) "New, Non-Armchair Research". In Ben R. Finney , _Pacific Navigation
Navigation
and Voyaging_, The Polynesian Society Inc. p. 5. * ^ Davis, Wade (2010) _The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World_, Crawley: University of Western Australia Publishing, p. 46. * ^ _A_ _B_ Finney, Ben R. and Jones, Eric M. (1986). "_Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience_". University of California Press . p.176. ISBN 0-520-05898-4 * ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, 1995 * ^ Ian Breward in Farhadian, Charles E.; Hefner, Robert W. (2012). _Introducing World Christianity_. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 218–29. ; quote at p 228 * ^ "Polynesian Lexicon Project Online". Pollex.org.nz. * ^ "NZ may be invited to join proposed ‘Polynesian Triangle’ ginger group", Pacific Scoop, 19 September 2011 * ^ "New Polynesian Leaders Group
Polynesian Leaders Group
formed in Samoa", Radio New Zealand International, 18 November 2011 * ^ "American Samoa
Samoa
joins Polynesian Leaders Group, MOU signed", _Savali_, 19 November 2011 * ^ Druett, Joan (1987). _Tupaia – The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator_. Random House, New Zealand. pp. 226–227. ISBN 0313387486 . * ^ Druett, Joan (1987). _Tupaia – The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator_. Random House, New Zealand. pp. 218–233. ISBN 0313387486 . * ^ Wilford, John Noble (June 5, 2007). "First Chickens in Americas Were Brought From Polynesia". _The New York Times_. * ^ Storey, A. A.; Ramirez, J. M.; Quiroz, D.; Burley, D. V.; Addison, D. J.; Walter, R.; Anderson, A. J.; Hunt, T. L.; Athens, J. S.; Huynen, L.; Matisoo-Smith, E. A. (2007). "Radiocarbon and DNA evidence for a pre-Columbian introduction of Polynesian chickens to Chile" . _Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_. 104 (25): 10335–10339. PMC 1965514  _. PMID 17556540 . doi :10.1073/pnas.0703993104 . * ^ Gongora, J.; Rawlence, N. J.; Mobegi, V. A.; Jianlin, H.; Alcalde, J. A.; Matus, J. T.; Hanotte, O.; Moran, C.; Austin, J. J.; Ulm, S.; Anderson, A. J.; Larson, G.; Cooper, A. (2008). "Indo-European and Asian origins for Chilean and Pacific chickens revealed by mtDNA" . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_. 105 (30): 10308–10313. PMC 2492461  _. PMID 18663216 . doi :10.1073/pnas.0801991105 . * ^ Lewis, David. "A Return Voyage Between Puluwat and Saipan Using Micronesian Navigational Techniques". In Ben R. Finney (1976), Pacific Navigation