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New Maori Origin Theory Backs up Controversial Book

Published: Wed 16 Jan 2013 10:17 AM
New Maori Origin Theory Backs up Controversial Book
A new Hawaiian study suggesting Maori may have migrated to New Zealand from Melanesia, not Polynesia, backs up the findings of a controversial new book on New Zealand history.
Journalist Ian Wishart’s bestseller The Great Divide has been praised by iwi leaders like Ngapuhi’s David Rankin this month for its findings that New Zealand may have an unexplored Melanesian connection, but the book has been attacked by some New Zealand academics who dispute the findings.
Now, Hawaiian linguistics professor William Wilson has published a groundbreaking study indicating Maori used atolls around the Solomon Islands in Melanesia as a stepping point to colonise the Pacific, including New Zealand.
The Great Divide’s author, Ian Wishart, says such findings fit hand and glove with rock paintings in the South Island of creatures like crocodiles and snakes.
“Scientists like Julius Haast and others in the nineteenth century were convinced ancient Maori must have had some cultural memory of Melanesia, because these cave drawings show animals that did not exist in Polynesia. They did exist in Melanesia, however.
“The Solomons and the waters around it are home to large saltwater crocodiles,” Wishart says, and it follows that if you’ve come on a long sea voyage and ended up drawing on a cave wall in the South Island, you might draw pictures for your children of the life you left behind.”
Wishart says mainstream academia in New Zealand have been in denial on the Melanesian links for over a century, but the evidence is becoming harder to ignore.
ends

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