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Taputapuatea Marae. Source: Photo by  Abel, J

Taputapuatea Marae, An Ancient Site of Human Sacrifice and Communing with the Gods

French Polynesia is renowned for its beauty and friendly people, but still relatively little is known about its history. The sacred site of Taputapuatea marae is of great significance to the people...
Pulemelei Mound

The Perplexing Purpose of the Gigantic Pulemelei ‘Pyramid’ Mound of Samoa

One of the most important archaeological sites in Polynesia is the Pulemelei mound - the largest ancient monumental structure, not only in Samoa, but in the South Pacific. This monument, commonly...
A Maori Warrior

The Maori: A Rich and Cherished Culture at the World’s Edge

New Zealand was one of the last landmasses to be colonized by humans. When Pleistocene megafauna had gone extinct elsewhere in the world, New Zealand was still inhabited by the moas, giant flightless...
Ruins of Talietumu fort on ʻUvea.

Talietumu Fort, Wallis and Futuna: The Fortress for a King Whose Feet Could Never Touch the Ground

The islands of the South Pacific are best known as tropical paradises and many of them also have long histories and fascinating cultures. Talietumu is an archaeological site in the Polynesian islands...
Prison turned government building at KAVHA on Norfolk Island (1825-55).

Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island was Hell in Paradise

Australia is famous for its convict settlements and penal colonies. One of the most important and infamous convict settlements was at Norfolk Island in the South Pacific Sea. Today the penal colony...
A Wa'a Kaulua (double canoe) of Hawaiian Nobility of the 18th Century. Polynesia was inhabited by skilled seafarers.

Where Did the Polynesians Really Come From?

Oceania was the last region to be settled by humans and the last part of Oceania to be settled by humans was Polynesia. Polynesians are famous for their voyages to remote islands in distant parts of...
The Spirit of the Dead Keeps Watch’ (1892) by Paul Gauguin.

Ghost Beliefs in Polynesia: When Spirits Return and Possess

A belief in ghosts is held by many cultures (both modern and ancient) around the world. Some of these ghost beliefs are well-known, whilst others, such as those held by the Polynesians, are less so...
Skeletons unearthed at a 3,000-year-old cemetery in Vanuatu.

Ancient Skulls Give Insights into Origins of Polynesians

Due to an analysis of the oldest-known cemetery in the South Pacific, the long-standing debate over the origins and ancestry of Polynesians may finally be resolved. A group of scientists, who studied...
The mysterious Rongorongo writing of Easter Island

The mysterious Rongorongo writing of Easter Island

During the 19 th Century, ancient artifacts containing a set of etched symbols were discovered on the world-renowned Easter Island, a small remote island located a few thousand miles west of South...
The megalithic gate of Ha’amonga ‘a Maui, Tonga

New research suggests Tonga was a vast seafaring empire

Scattered over 500,000 square kilometres in the southern Pacific Ocean are the Tonga islands. The kingdom of Tonga is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising nearly two hundred...
An illustration of ancient Polynesians

New study suggests that the Philippines is the ancestral homeland of Polynesians

Research into the origins and dispersal of Polynesian chickens has helped scientists reconstruct the early migrations of the Polynesians and the animals they carried with them. The results revealed...
Ha’amonga ‘a Maui

The Megalithic Gate of Ha-amonga a Maui

Scattered over 700,000 square kilometres in the southern Pacific Ocean are the Tonga islands. On one of the 176 islands that make up Tonga, there stands one of the strangest megalithic monuments in...
Easter Island's main diet: Rats

Easter Island Inhabitants Ate Rats as Major Part of Their Diet

New research published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology has revealed that the indigenous population that once inhabited Easter Island, famous for its more than 1,000 ‘walking’ Moai...
Polynesian DNA in Brazil

DNA Study reveals connection between Brazil and Polynesia. Well, how?

Current scientific thought proposes that it was about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago that humans first migrated to America, probably through a land connection that existed back then. However details of...