The Polynesian people consist of various ethnic groups that speak
Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic languages, and inhabit
Polynesia. The native Polynesian people of
New Zealand and
minorities in their homelands.
3 Physical characteristics
4 See also
6 External links
Austronesian peoples and
Polynesia § History of the
The Polynesian spread of colonization of the Pacific throughout the
so-called Polynesian Triangle.
Polynesian warrior canoes
Polynesians, including Samoans, Tongans, Niueans,
Cook Islands Māori,
Tahitian Mā'ohi, Hawaiian Māoli, Marquesans and
New Zealand Māori,
are a subset of the Austronesian peoples. They share the same origins
as the indigenous peoples of maritime Southeast Asia, Madagascar, and
Taiwan. This is supported by genetic, linguistic, and
The origins of the Polynesian people are addressed in the theories
regarding human migration into the Pacific, which began about 3,000
years ago. These are outlined well by Kayser et al. (2000). The
most widely accepted theory is that modern Austronesians originated
from migrations out of
Taiwan between 3000 and 1000 BC; travelling via
Philippines and eastern
Indonesia and from the northwest ("Bird's
Head") of New Guinea, on to
Island Melanesia by roughly 1400 BC,
reaching the western Polynesian islands right about 900 BC. However,
Soares et al. (2008) have argued for an older pre-
origin within Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) based on mitochondrial
Y chromosome analysis by Kayser et al. (2000) also showed
Polynesians have significant Melanesian genetic admixture.
However, a follow-up study by Kayser et al. (2008) discovered that
only 21% of the Polynesian autosomal gene pool is of Melanesian
origin, with the rest (79%) being of East Asian origin. Another
study by Friedlaender et al. (2008) also confirmed that Polynesians
are closer genetically to Micronesians, Taiwanese Aborigines, and East
Asians, than to Melanesians. The study concluded that Polynesians
Melanesia fairly rapidly, allowing only limited
admixture between Austronesians and Melanesians. Thus the high
frequencies of mtDNA B4a1a1 in the
Polynesians are the result of drift
and represent the descendants of a few East Asian females who mixed
with Papuan males. The Polynesian population experienced a founder
effect and genetic drift.
A popular theory among scholars and native Royal Polynesian
Monarchy (Tongan, Tahitian, Hawaiian; Monarchies) is that the genesis
point from which
Polynesia was finally populated was through the
Polynesian Island archipelagos of
Samoa (Sacred Center). The
Samoa are theorized to have been the gestation point from
where which the initial roots of
Polynesia patiently formulated over
time, religion, philosophy, spirituality, language, Arts, culture and
then spread forth through eastern
Polynesia through the spreading of
Samoa's Religion (Aitu, Kahuna, Tafuna). Through their Polynesian Aitu
religion, the worship of animal, human deities and a pantheon of Gods
and Demi-Gods which would grow exponentially in Eastern Polynesia,
with the construction of monolithic Tiki Deities in Tahiti, Rapanui
and the spread of the spiritual belief of Mana; a Polynesian spiritual
life force which governs all living beings.
The last place to be settled by
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
estimated at around 1300AD.
Recent DNA studies show that the
Atayal people from
Taiwan and the
Kankanaey people of the northern Philippines, who later mixed with
Melanesians, were most probably among the original ancestors of modern
The results of research at the Teouma Lapita site (Efate Island,
Vanuatu) and the Talasiu Lapita site (near Nuku'alofa, Tonga)
published in 2016 supports the 'out of Taiwan' theory although with
the qualification that the migration bypassed
New Guinea and Island
Melanesia. The conclusion from the research published in 2016 is that
the initial population of those two sites appears to come directly
Taiwan or the northern
Philippines and did not mix with the
New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. DNA
analysis of modern
Polynesians indicates that there has been
intermarriage that results in a mixed Asian-Papuan ancestry of the
Polynesians. The research at the Teouma and Talasiu Lapita sites
implies that the migration and intermarriage, which resulted in the
mixed Asian-Papuan ancestry of the Polynesians, occurred after the
first initial migration to
Vanuatu and Tonga. The preliminary
analysis of skulls found at the Teouma and Talasiu Lapita sites is
that the skulls lack Australian or Papuan affinities and instead have
affinities to mainland Asian populations.
Female dancers of the
Hawaii Islands depicted by Louis Choris, c. 1816
A portrait of Māori man, by Gottfried Lindauer.
Kava ('ava) makers (aumaga) of Samoa. A woman seated between two men
with the round tanoa (or laulau) wooden bowl in front. Standing is a
third man, distributor of the 'ava, holding the coconut shell cup
(tauau) used for distributing the beverage.
There are an estimated 2 million ethnic
Polynesians and people of
Polynesian descent worldwide, the majority of whom live in Polynesia,
the United States,
Australia and New Zealand. The Polynesian
peoples are shown below in their distinctive ethnic and cultural
groupings (estimates of the larger groups are shown):
Hawaii – c. 140,000 (including multiracial:
Tahiti – c. 178,000 (including multiracial:
Cook Islands Māori:
Cook Islands – 98,000+ (including New Zealand
and Australian residents)
Aotearoa – c. 790,000 (including multiracial)
Chatham Islands – c. 738 (2013
New Zealand Census)
Easter Island – c. 5,000 (including mixtures and those
living in Chile)
Austral Islands – ~7,000
Gambier Islands – c. 1,600
Tuamotu: Tuamotu Archipelago – c. 16,000
Marquesas Islands – c. 11,000
Samoan: Samoa, American
Samoa – c. 249,000 (worldwide:
Tonga – c. 104,000 (from all countries: 150,000+)
Tuvalu – c. 10,000
Tokelau – c. 1,500
Niue – c. 20,000–25,000 (vast majority live in New
Uvea and Futuna: Wallis and Futuna
Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro: The Federated States of Micronesia
Nukumanu and Takuu: Papua New Guinea
Anuta, Bellona, Ontong Java, Rennel, Sikaiana,
Vaeakau-Taumako: Solomon Islands
Emae, Makata, Mele (Erakoro, Eratapu), Aniwa, and Futuna: Vanuatu
Ouvéa (New Caledonia)
Obesity in the Pacific
Polynesian bodies typically have larger bone and muscle mass than
Caucasian bodies, which has implications for BMI comparability in
Polynesians physical characteristics help
them perform well in some physical sports, including American
football and rugby union.
History of the Polynesian people
List of Polynesians
^ a b Polynesian men a global sports commodity - Stuff.co.nz
^ Population Movement in the Pacific: A Perspective on Future
New Zealand Department of Labour Archived
2013-02-07 at the Wayback Machine.
Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020 Society, Religion,
and Mission, Center for the Study of Global Christianity
^ Victoria University of Wellington, New view of Polynesian conversion
to Christianity, 4 Apr 2014
Mitochondrial DNA Provides a Link between
Indigenous Taiwanese". PLoS Biology. 3 (8): e281. 2005.
^ "Pacific People Spread From Taiwan, Language Evolution Study Shows".
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^ Kayser, M.; Brauer, S.; Weiss, G.; Underhill, P.; Roewer, L.;
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^ Dr. Martin Richards. "Climate Change and Postglacial Human
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Islanders". PLoS Genetics. 4 (1): e19.
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^ Assessing Y-chromosome Variation in the South Pacific Using Newly
Detected, By Krista Erin Latham  Archived 2015-07-13 at the Wayback
^ Kallen, Evelyn (1982-01-01). The Western Samoan Kinship Bridge: A
Study in Migration, Social Change, and the New Ethnicity. Brill
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^ "First ancestry of Ni-
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