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The Coming of the Maori


Maori speech is a dialect of the language spokern throughout Polynesia and hence conveniently called the Polynesian language. The language, however, spreads beyond the geographical bounds of Polynesia for it is spoken in a number of islands along the outskirts of Melanesia which are inhabited by a lighter-skinned people who do not have the woolly hair of their darker-skinned Melanesian neighbours. The language appears again in distant Nukuoro and Kapinga-marangi, south of the Carolines, where the people are of taller stature than the neighbouring Micronesians.

Polynesian has been included with Micronesian, Melanesian, and Indonesian to form the Malayo-Polynesian group of languages. Some linguistic authorities have extended the grouping to include the language spoken by peoples ranging from the Himalayas, through Further India, Indonesia, Australia and out into the Pacific under the term of the Austric family of speech. In spite of comparisons that have been made between selected words from Polynesian and the speech of some American groups, the linguistic evidence points to the spread of the Polynesian language from the direction of Asia and not from America.