Hawaiian theories

New Zealand may have been settled by sea-faring Hawaiians according to a new study of Polynesian canoe designs by Stanford University. The idea that ancient Hawaiians could have made the 4,400-mile journey south shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with recent travels by modern-day voyagers using traditional navigation methods, according to the University’s lead researcher Deborah Rogers. New Zealand, or Aotearoa, was the last Polynesian island group to be settled, and it’s not clear who got there first. Various theories, including a direct Hawaii link based on similarities in language, mythology and oral history and genealogies, have been promoted and dismissed over the past century. Most experts now believe New Zealand was colonised from the Cook or Society Islands around 1 A.D. The study, “Inferring population histories using cultural data,” appears in the November 7 journal of Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Tags: Canoe design  Hawaii  Stanford University  The Honolulu Advertiser