Thursday, December 4, 2008


So it irritates me (just a little bit) when people NOT of Polynesian descent try and give me a (small) lecture and even try and argue with me on matters concerning anything Polynesian, particularly history. It also irks me even more when people of Polynesian decent try and argue with me and they're wrong, and they continue to insist that they're right. So I'm doing all of you a favor and giving you a little history lesson of the largest "nation" on Earth.

The ancestors of the Polynesian people, several historians argue, came out of Southeast Asia, more along the ways of Taiwan, etc. Though their origins are still up to argument and dispute, these peoples made their way across the Pacific Ocean to settle in what is known as the "Heart of Polynesia," where the people and culture we recognize today as "Polynesian" was slowly born. The exact location of the "Heart of Polynesia" presently remains a hot debate topic. Samoans claim it to be Samoa and Tongans claim it to be Tonga. However, many historians believe (and I peacefully concur), that the "Heart of Polynesia" consists of the three islands of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. The histories, legends and lineages of these three islands are so intricately connected that it is hard to distinguish exactly which one was "the first" Polynesian island. The people who populated these islands, isolated for over a few thousand years, slowly became the ancestors of the Polynesian people.

After about 3,000 years or so, these first Polynesians began migrating from the heart to other parts of the Ocean. Although a definite reason why isn't known, it is speculated that war, shortage of land, food and supplies, and simply the urge to explore, led these seafarers to continue to explore and populate a huge part of the largest Ocean on earth. So the basic route of discovery that these early Polynesian discoverers took, agreed upon by most historians, kind of goes something like this:

From the "Heart" the early Polynesians sailed to, discovered and settled what is now known as Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands, in the rough center of what is now known as the Polynesian Triangle. From this group of islands, they settled what is now known as the Cook Islands; then to the islands of Hawai'i in the north, the islands of Rapa Nui (commonly known as Easter Island) in the east and, eventually, the islands of Aotearoa (commonly known as New Zealand) in the west. Many ask, what is the Polynesian triangle? Well, with Hawai'i in the north, Rapa Nui in the East and Aotearoa in the West, you can basically draw out what the Westerners came to define as the Polynesian Triangle due to the close similarity of the hundreds of peoples, cultures, and languages of all the islands within this "triangle."

I consider Polynesia a nation because of the close relationship between the cultures, languages and peoples of these many islands. It is no surprise that a Tahitian could easily pick up and learn Hawaiian, or a Maori learn Samoan, or a Tongan to learn Samoan. Physically, Polynesians generally look the same and carry the same genetic markers. Our cultures, values and morals are also quite similar, and it is easy to adapt to and learn the customs of our sister-islands. In my opinion, Polynesians are one people with one language, which, over the years, became many people with many dialects.

The islands of Polynesia, though subject to Western influence and power, still proudly carry the culture, language and customs of our ancestors from thousands of years ago. And if you have any doubt about what you have just read here, take yourself to a library, sit your arse at a computer, check out some books and start reading. Because the next time you begin an assumption about Polynesia, I won't hesitate to cut you up.


No comments: