Are Australian Aborigines Polynesian
Did the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and the Maori people of New Zealand know of each other's existence before the Europeans came?
It's not a pre-European contact known between Australian Aborigines and New Zealand Maori. In fact, there is no evidence of any contact between the indigenous Australians and other Polynesian peoples. The Polynesians died 3,000 BC Chr. OffTaiwan and swept through Polynesia quickly to arrive in New Zealand around AD 1,200. The Aborigines, however, did occur 50,000 years ago to Australia.
One important thing to note here is that the Polynesians expanded eastward and by chain hopping through the islands then made a downcut to New Zealand from Tahiti. That is, the way of the first New Zealand Maori settlers did not lead them through Australia. See the map below for an illustration.
(Click to enlarge - shamelessly stolen here.)
While Australia is not as far from New Zealand as the latter is from Tahiti, the Maori ancestors found a relatively large virgin land when they reached New Zealand. There would have been no more population pressure to continue migrating, as would have been the case on the much smaller islands of the Polynesian heartland. Due to their self-sufficiency and the fact that New Zealand was too isolated to maintain contact with their homeland, the Maori also stopped long-distance travel altogether.
It should also be noted that by the time the Polynesians began exploring the Pacific, the early Australians had inhabited their continent for tens of thousands of years. While there is evidence of newer cultural contacts, such as the introduction of the dingo in Australia (perhaps 10,000 to 5,000 years ago), nothing is known about such relationships. When the early Polynesians reached Melanesia, they found it already occupied and moved east, missing Australia altogether.
The first recorded case of Maori presence in Australia dates back to the 1790s when some chiefs visited Sydney. It was the beginning of an emerging business relationship and they befriended Samuel Marsden, an early missionary in New Zealand. You or other chefs on subsequent visits may have met Australian Aborigines.
Unfortunately, 2,000 kilometers is not a short distance. Europe also lost all contact with Greenland.
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