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Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

There are Traces of the Negroid even amongst — the Upper Classes

There are Traces of the Negroid even amongst
the Upper Classes

(24) They must have brought some mixture of negroid blood with them. For the nose in many Polynesians is flattened, though it is never squat and wide-nostrilled; and in not a few islands the flat nose is favoured as the aristocratic. This latter fact alone would prove that it was the last newcomers or conquerors that brought in the negroid features with them, whilst the people they found in the islands had no Papuasian or Melanesian blood in them. The ideal of page 112beauty is always set by the ruling class, and though the finest type of European faces might, according to all early voyagers, find their match in these islands of the Pacific, these were not the most admired by the dusky races, just as the fair skin that sometimes appears amongst them was not admired. The last aristocracy of conquerors brought with them the brown complexion of South Asia, and in many cases the flat nose of the negroid that they had picked up by marriage in Papuasia or Melanesia. And hence the nose of beauty was flat, and the skin of adults was darkened by tattooing.

(25) There are many other evidences that go to show how the slightly negroid features sometimes seen amongst Maoris and Polynesians came with the last or South Asiatic migration. But this is one that cannot be gainsaid. The strange thing is that so many books on the subject repeat the fallacy that it is only the lower classes that reveal the negroid features. This has arisen from a priori reasoning. They have assumed that there was an aboriginal negroid people before the Polynesians arrived, and as these must have been the conquered, it is argued that the negroid features must belong only to the lower classes. Had this been the case, we should never have found the dark skin and the flattened nose as two main points in the ideal of beauty. The ancient palaeolithic and early neolithic Caucasianism that overspread the negroid archipelagoes had helped to raise the bridge of the Papuan and Melanesian nose and turn the wool into crisp hair. But there were evidently flattened noses enough left to impress themselves on the features of the leaders of the South Asiatic expeditions into Polynesia. Hence the Melanesianism in Polynesia, and the flat nose in the Polynesian ideal of beauty.