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The Coming of the Maori

[the Hawaiki expedition]

page 36

The great migration (heke) from hawaiki is the most famous event in Maori history, because all the tribes trace their aristocratic lineages back to the chiefs of the voyaging canoes which took part in conveying the third and last wave of settlers to New Zealand. It ranks in historical and social importance with the Norman Conquest of English history. A large number of lineages were available for study and they varied in the number of generations from the advent of the canoes to the date line of 1900 A.D. Percy Smith, who was the first to make an extensive study of genealogies to arrive at European dates, decided upon an average of 22 generations and applied an arbitrary generation value of 25 years to arrive at the approximate date of 1350 A.D. This date has been generally accepted as indicating the middle of the fourteenth century, for some canoes may have arrived a little earlier or a little later. It was not until 142 years later that Columbus, with the aid of the compass, groped his way across the Atlantic on a western route to far Cathay and found his course interrupted by the West Indies, the outposts of the undreamed of continent of North America.