The Discoverers of Hawai'i - No.2
The moaning of conch shell trumpets kept canoes together at night. Sailing under the rising stars of the northern sky, reaching across powerful Northeast Tradewinds, they came upon a chain of islands of immense size. They searched for a landing; and when their canoes touched shore, human history in Hawai'i had begun.
Their landing, we may believe, was not made without some ceremony to placate the spirits of this strange new land. They planted the cuttings, tubers and seeds they had carefully protected from seawater. Until their first harvest was ready they subsited by fishing, bird hunting, and gathering. And, over many generations, they made these islands a Polynesian place.
We know nothing of their traditions, nor the names by which they knew themselves or these islands. The tradition we know as Hawaiian originated with others from the archaeological record that they were Polynesian.
A thousand years would pass before the Vikings of another ocean would dare venture away from Europe's shores.

Whence the Polynesians ? Their language, animals and plants bespeak an ancient origin in Southeast Asia, where a native people may have been displaced by more powerful neighbours and forced to take to the sea, developing a maritime culture as they moved eastward though the many islands of what is now Indonesia. Archaeologists have found distinctive "Lapita" pottery 4,000 years old, and fragments of obsidian possibly 6,000 years old, marking a 2,300 mile "voyaging corridor" from Borneo eastward along yje northern shore of New Guinea to the Admiralty Islands and New Britain in Malanesia - evidence of a people with seafaring skills superior to those of the present inhabitants.



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