Māori settlers faced challenges

getting crops to grow

OPINION: Māori are certainly the inheritors of an impressive maritime tradition, as Morgan Godfery wrote. Their remote ancestors were skilled sailors who burst into the western Pacific from southeast Asia over 3000 years ago, to settle the islands of Fiji.

About a thousand years before Christ, they colonised Tonga and Samoa, where Polynesian language and culture developed. From there, men and women sailed out from this ancestral cradle, fanning out across the broad Pacific, and exploring more of the Earth’s surface than anyone ever before.

This amazing feat was made possible by their evolution of the double-hulled canoe into a stable voyaging vessel, capable of freighting plants, animals, provisions, as well as people. The big, graceful craft ranged as far east as Rapanui (Easter Island), and probably made a landfall in South America, either introducing the kūmara, or carrying kūmara sprouts back.

At a time when sailors in the Mediterranean were experimenting with the fore-and-aft sail, Polynesian canoes powered by lateens (triangular sails) made the tough 4000km voyage from the Tahitian archipelago to Hawaii, and then back again, battling cross-currents, the doldrums, and contrary trade winds.

Link to article: Māori settlers faced challenges getting crops to grow | Stuff.co.nz


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