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Mysteries of the Polynesians

Mysteries of the Polynesians

The settlement of the Pacific remains a mystery to this day. The vastness of the Pacific as well as the lack of concern by historians has made tracing the origin of the Polynesians, at best, difficult. While anthropologists agree that there are at least three races in the Pacific region, they have not agreed on where they came from or when the Pacific was settled.

Evidence now suggests that man may have ventured out into the Pacific over 30,000 years ago. New discoveries in partially submerged caves in New Ireland, a long narrow island east of New Guinea, are proving that man reached these islands tens of thousands of years ago.

In his book The Fragile South Pacific, Andrew Mitchell says "Until recently archaeologists who worked in the Bismarcks and the Solomons were unable to find any evidence of occupation by man older than 4,500 years. This seems odd, for man appears to have been in mainland New Guinea for at least 40,000 years; indeed, some believe that agriculture originated in the highlands of New Guinea so old are the cultures that have been discovered there. 

What took man so long to reach these nearest major islands? ...In 1985, Jim Allen and Chris Gosden from La Trobe University in Melbourne, excavated Matenkupkum cave in New Ireland and found human artifacts 33,000 years old deep in the earth deposits. These finds are set to revolutionize theories about the movement of man into the Pacific."

According to Maori tradition, the first Maori to come to New Zealand was the warrior Kupe, a powerful man and a legendary navigator of Pacific. Kupe was fishing near his island home Hawai'iki, when a great storm arose and blew him far down to the south, where he sighted Aotearoa, "the land of the long white cloud." The legend says that Kupe eventually made the return voyage to his homeland, and told them of his discovery. Many researchers believe that this happened as late as 950 A.D. but other theories place it much longer ago than that.

It is generally accepted that Maoris are Polynesians. But the location of Hawai'iki is open to considerable interpretation. Most anthropologists who write about the Maori do not believe that Hawai'iki is the same as modern-day Hawaii. Rather, accepted belief usually places Hawai'iki at either Tahiti or in the Marquesas Islands east of Tahiti.

Carbon dating in New Zealand places settlements there at least about the ninth century A.D. In addition, according to tradition, New Zealand was already inhabited by another race of people before the Maoris. a group of people called the Moriori. The Moriori were driven out of New Zealand and lived only on the remote Chatham Islands, which are more than 500 miles to the east of New Zealand.

Early observers to New Zealand considered the Maoris and Morioris to be different ethnic groups, though today prevailing theory is that they were part of different waves of "Polynesian" migration, the Morioris being part of the earliest migratory waves. Today, with the discovery of the Kaimanawa Wall in the Taupo district of the North Island, there are indications of even earlier settlers in New Zealand than the Morioris.

Since archaeologists admit that nearby islands to New Zealand such as Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia were colonized at least 3000 years ago, it seems that these same navigators would have reached New Zealand as well. The history of New Zealand, and many Pacific islands, would seem to need some radical revision. 


The late Professor Barry Fell. a former Harvard Professor and native New Zealander popularized the theory that the Pacific was settled in second millennium B.C. by the Egyptians. He is well known for advocating Egyptian, Libyan, Celtic and Phoenician ancestry for American Indians, and applies his epigraphic (the study of ancient writing) research to Polynesians.

Fell believed that the Polynesians were descended from Libyans in the service of Egypt, working as sailors to Egyptian gold mines in Sumatra, and even Australia and elsewhere. He also believes that many Melanesians are the descendants of Negro slaves used as workers in the gold mines. Fell even goes on to call the dialect used by the Zuni Indians of the American south-west as Mauri script and maintains that the Maoris may be related to the Zuni Indians and their "Mauri" language.

Phoenician and Libyan rock inscriptions have been discovered in Indonesia. A letter in the January 21, 1875 issue of the magazine Nature spoke of Phoenician script in Sumatra. Writes the author. J. Park Harrison: "In a short communication to the Anthropological Institute in December last (Nature, Vol. XI. p. 199), Phoenician characters were stated by me to be still in use in South Sumatra. As many of your readers may be glad to have more information of the subject, I write to say that the district above alluded to includes Rejang, Lemba, and Passamah, between the second and fifth parallels of south latitude. 

One clear link between Australia and Egypt is that the Torres Straits Islanders, between New Guinea and Northern Queensland, use the curious practice of mummification of the dead. The Macleay Museum at Sydney University has a mummified corpse of a Darnley Islander (Torres Strait), prepared in a fashion that has been compared to that practiced in Egypt between 1090 and 945 B.C.

It was reported in Australian newspapers circa 1990 that a team of Marine archaeologists from the Queensland Museum had discovered extensive cave drawings on many of the Torres Straits Islands. Some of the cave drawings, on isolated Booby Island, were of a Macassan prau which is a unique vessel with telltale double rudders and triangular sails used by beche de mer (sea cucumber) fishermen out of the Indonesian island of Sulewesi. The archaeologists declared the Torres Islands the "crossroads of civilizations" and were quoted as saying "Now it's a new ball game in an archaeological sense."

In 1875 the Shevert Expedition found similarities in Darnley Island boats and ancient trans-Nile boats. Island boats were used to row corpses to sea and leave on a coral reef. Egyptian practice was to ferry corpses across or down the Nile for desert burial.

Similarly, it was pointed out by the Kenneth Gordon McIntyre in his book The Secret Discovery of Australia (Picador, 1977) that the island of Mir in the Torres Strait was similar to the Egyptian word for pyramid, "mir" and even that the name for Egypt is "Misr." Another similarity with the Torres Strait Islanders, as well as in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Polynesia, a wooden headrest was used. This carved headrest was used to slightly elevate the head, while the subject slept on his back. It is unusual to ancient Egypt and certain Pacific Islands around New Guinea that these headrests are used.

Curiously, on the island of Pohnpei (formerly called Ponape), the new capital of the Federated States of Micronesia. an ancient Egyptian word is important in the government. Pohnpei island is divided into five districts and the governor of a district is called a Nan marche in the language of Pohnpei. 

Similarly, in ancient Egypt, a district was known as a nome, and a district governor was known as a nome-marche. Here we have the exact same word meaning the exact same thing in ancient Egyptian and modern Pohnpei dialect. A coincidence? 

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)

Tags: mysteries of life
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