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The Coming of the Maori

Types and Varieties

Types and Varieties

In reproducing ancestral forms in New Zealand or elsewhere, departures from the pattern must have occurred owing to different stone, shape of the spalls, and the varying skill of the craftsmen. The distinction between types and variations must be decided by the study of large numbers of specimens. Skinner (75, p. 147) has defined "type" as "a group of adzes which exhibit a general somatic resemblance comparable to the somatic resemblance between members of a single biological species…. Some of the adze types are further divided into varieties comparable with biological varieties within the species."

In the development of new forms, it may be assumed that variations which proved acceptable were copied by succeeding generations and so became types. Forms which are unique or few in number may be regarded as varieties. Most New Zealand and Polynesian adzes may be placed in the six subgroups already suggested. Doubt may be created by specimens with rounded edges and triangular specimens with the median edge rounded off or replaced by a narrow surface. Subtriangular forms may be treated as types or variations according to their numerical occurrence in a large series.

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A variety in one island group may be a type in another group. The quadrangular form, with the front narrower than the back, is rare in New Zealand whereas it is the common type in Samoa. The occurrence of all the New Zealand types and varieties in various parts of Polynesia does not mean that all these forms were brought from central Polynesia. Some were introduced and others were developed independently. For more detail about Maori types and variations, the reader is referred to the works of Skinner and Duff already quoted.