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Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

They found their way into the Pacific by the — Central Route, passing South-eastwards along — the North-east Coasts of New Guinea and — Melanesia

They found their way into the Pacific by the
Central Route, passing South-eastwards along
the North-east Coasts of New Guinea and

(22) From whatever race or country on the continent of Asia they originated, the second stage of their progress can be traced without much dispute, though the date of it is not so clear. Mr. Percy Smith, interpreting the genealogies, seems to say that they left Indonesia two or three centuries after Christ. If this means Western Indonesia, Java, or Sumatra, then would they have brought iron with them, and page 110Vishnuism and Devanagari script, which had all reached Java before the beginning of our era. And we know that none of these came into Polynesia. It also conflicts with the date of the colonisation of Easter Island by Hotu Matua in the fourth century of our era. There is a choice of routes for a people migrating from the coasts of Sumatra or Java to the Eastern Pacific. They might pass along the shores of Borneo, either northern or southern, to the Philippines, and thence by the Caroline, Marshall, Gilbert and Ellice groups to Samoa. And that this was taken by a later migration into Micronesia after the Malays had mastered Indonesia and its Hindoo culture is shown by the ethnological vocabularies. Another route is by Timor, along the south of New Guinea to the New Hebrides and Fiji. And this must have been the route that one of the primary Caucasian migrations took in early neolithic times, when it emphasised the palaeolithic Caucasian modification of the primitive negroid physiognomy and character of the Australian, the Papuan and the Fijian. There is a third, the median route, along the south of Celebes and Gilolo, and the north of Ceram and New Guinea, through the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides and the Fiji group to Tonga or Samoa. This was undoubtedly their route. For not only do the genealogies and log-books as interpreted by Mr. Percy Smith indicate it, but both the ethnology and the dialects at points along the route reveal Polynesian affinities.

(23) But it must not be forgotten that till they reached their final centre of dispersion in Polynesia, probably Samoa, there was a unity and individuality in the race and the language that forbids the idea of long intercourse with aliens by the way. If they rested for a century or two at each of several points on their route, as Mr. Percy Smith thinks their genealogies and logbooks indicate, then it must have been amongst peoples Caucasianised by previous immigration. page 111For, though there do appear amongst the Polynesians features that are manifestly negroid, they never go with the frizzly hair that marks the Papuan, nor is their occurrence by any means strikingly frequent. Such long voyages as they must have made from point to point on their route suggest piratical or adventure expeditions rather than complete migrations of a people. There is nothing to lead us to suppose that the warriors and sailors took their women and children with them on most of these long voyages of adventure. And we can see from their traditions that it was the habit of the race to marry in the island they touched at or settled in. It was only when war or other disagreement rent the community in two that the minority had to leave with all their households to find another home. To explain the comparative purity of the race in physiognomy and physique we may take it for granted, then, that they found in their resting-places on their way from Indonesia, people that were not unlike themselves, because of previous Caucasian infiltration. And there they left faces and dialects that are markedly Polynesian; on the south-east coast of New Guinea and in Sikayana, off the Solomon Islands, these are to be found.