Skip to comments.Maori Men And Women From Different Homelands
Posted on 09/06/2004 5:15:41 PM PDT by blam
Maori men and women from different homelands
Thursday, 27 March 2003
"A New Zealand Warrior and his Wife", an engraving from the journal of Captain James Cook's 1784 visit on Endeavour (Pic: State Library of NSW)
The male and female ancestors of todays Maori people of New Zealand originated from different parts of the world, molecular biologists have said.
Their claims, made by Masters student Adele Whyte, the Tuapapa Putaiao Maori Fellow at Victoria University in Wellington, and her supervisor Professor Geoff Chambers, will be aired on ABC-TVs science program Catalyst tonight.
By comparing the DNA of people from Asia, across the Pacific Ocean and New Zealand, Whyte and Chambers have revealed a 'living genetic map' of ancient Maori migration routes.
The findings confirm archaeological evidence that the ancestors of todays Maori originally set out from mainland south-east Asia 6,000 years ago, hopped from island to island, starting with Taiwan, and arrived in New Zealand 800 to 1,000 years ago.
However the research also brings startlingly new evidence that as Maori ancestors migrated one group of islands to the next, men from Melanesian communities joined the boats. This changed the genetic mix, and lead to the differences observed in the genetic make-up of todays Maori men and women.
The research involved two separate genetic mapping processes. The Southeast Asian homeland was confirmed by Chambers research into the frequency of two different genes that influence the bodys reaction to alcohol. He found that while Asian people have both gene types, Maori and Pacific Islanders have inherited only one.
He looked back along the trail of migration to try and work out where the gene was lost. The indigenous people from Taiwan have both genes, but a lower frequency of one - the very gene that the Maori now lack.
We think this one was lost at the first step of migration, when people left what is now Taiwan, Chambers told ABC Science Online.
Adele Whyte studied the genetic origins of Maori for her Masters thesis (Pic: Victoria University)
The second mapping process involved Whytes examination of sex-linked genetic markers, namely mitochondrial DNA in women, and Y-chromosomes in men. The research found that in addition to the alcohol genes, female Maori have other genetic markers which confirm their ancient Asian origin. To her surprise, however, the men have genetic markers that show a Melanesian ancestry.
As a result of intermarriage along the migration trail, the signatures of the mitochondrial DNA from women have stayed more island south-east Asian, and the Y-chromosomes are more Melanesian, Whyte told ABC Science Online.
We think both men and women set off together, and recruited local guides who were probably men. Women stayed with the south-east Asian populations, and Melanesian men were recruited along the way.
Whyte also analysed the haplotypes (groups of closely linked genes) carried on mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited only through the female line. Each population has a unique range of haplotypes. While Europeans have over 100 haplotypes in a particular region of DNA, studies so far have only found four different Maori haplotypes in the same region.
The reason for this difference is what we call a genetic bottleneck. When people leave an island to go to the next island, obviously not everybody gets on the boat, so some of the genetic diversity is being lost, she said. Some of the maternal lineages may not have got on the boat, so theyre not carried on to the next place.
Whyte has now identified 10 haplotypes in New Zealand Maori. From that we have worked out that 56 women came to New Zealand to create the diversity of todays population, she added.
Whyte said these findings were consistent with Maori legend.
The story I was told when I was growing up is that there was a fleet of seven great waka (canoes) that came to New Zealand," she said. "Every tribe knows which waka their ancestors arrived in. My ancestors were in a waka called Takitimu.
There might have been 20 people travelling in a canoe the size of a waka. Seven waka, thats about 140 people. And if, as we think, about half or 56 of these people happen to be women, it does seem to tie in.
"Let's whack them over the head and steal their women!"
This is all good, but how does it explain the fact that the language of the Maori is not particulalry related to either Melanesian or Taiwanese languages, but is a virtual clone of Tahahitian and very close to Hawaiian. Maori language is without a doubt Polynesian.
As are the Maori themselves. They are physically Polynesian, not Melanesian. Maoris look nothing whatever like Melanesians or Taiwanese.
I suspect that there has to be another explanation for these genetic findings. If a scientist comes up with findings that are obviously false, or that deny the reality of other observable facts, then that scientist really needs to go back and do some more work.
The Maori are indeed Polynesian. There has never been any doubt among the Polynesian people regarding this issue. Now there is an issue among Polynesians about Fiji. Half of my Polynesian family consider them Melanesian and the other half consider them Polynesian. Me? They aren't American. So? This American of Samoan heritage gives little care about such issues. Hehe!
" I suspect that there has to be another explanation for these genetic findings. If a scientist comes up with findings that are obviously false, or that deny the reality of other observable facts, then that scientist really needs to go back and do some more work."
Read this excellent book. It could/will clear up things a bit.
See my post #5. Have you ever heard about two brothers named Kulabob and Manup?
"We live in two New Zealands!"
Did you catch the Yahoo science article this AM promising genetic prooof that the earliest people in America were Melanesian by way of Taiwan, Japan and around some 10,000 BCE? Fits nicely with this.
This One? See My Post # 12.
Interesting there was not an equal tranfer the other way.Hard to do when you're dead.The weak are supposed to inherit the earth.Different ways of looking at that.
Dope! the Meek will inherit the earth.The weak are but pavement.
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It doesn't make sense that the women would abandon their men for Melanesians, unless there was a shortage of men. This might be explained if they came under constant attack during their journey...this would have thinned the herd of men out and forced the women to take non tribal mates or remain barren.
Never heard it explained that way. Is this Baptist understanding? Meek and weak would then have the same fate.I would like you to explain this to me either here or on a new post.Ping and I'll listen.
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