More Top Stories


Nines in Paradise thrills

9 January 2024


The year in sports 2023

31 December 2023


2023 year in review

31 December 2023

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

New study on East Polynesia

Thursday 16 April 2020 | Written by Legacy Author | Published in Small World


Severe drought in Western Polynesia - Samoa and Tonga - may have led to the settlement of the East Polynesian islands - such as the Cook Islands - earlier than previously thought.

A newly released anthropological study also suggested that settlement of East Polynesia, rather than being a rapid, wave-like event, was a much more incremental process, possibly extending over several generations.

One of those involved in the study, Auckland University archaeology professor, Melinda Allen, said the study appeared to show the people may been probing the margins of east Polynesia.

"Doing some exploration, perhaps leaving some pigs on an island, and coming back later," she said. "So it just suggested a process of building up some knowledge about the islands and maritime environment."

One big bubble: Loosening Covid constraints
* Derek Fox: Saving lives with soap and water
* Quarantine Quiz: Chips, ships and planes

Professor Allen said the currently accepted date for East Polynesian settlement was 1100AD to 1200AD, but this study showed it may have occurred up to 200 to 300 years earlier, from about 800AD to 1000AD.