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Polynesian Resource Center

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Easter's End By Jared Diamond

Easter's End By Jared Diamond

In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism. Are we about to follow their lead?

Among the most riveting mysteries of human history are those posed by vanished civilizations. Everyone who has seen the abandoned buildings of the Khmer, the Maya, or the Anasazi is immediately moved to ask the same question: Why did the societies that erected those structures disappear?

Excavation of Cave on Okia Flat, Wickliffe Bay by Ellis Sinclair

Excavation of Cave on Okia Flat, Wickliffe Bay by Ellis Sinclair

The following is a description of an archaeological dig by Ellis Sinclair in 1938 of a cave at Okia Flat on Otago Peninsula and the discovery of a curious Archaic Period figure with broken arms and legs. This little carving is I believe of the Eastern Polynesian War God Rimaroa, Rimaroa meaning long arms and is one of the only Polynesian statues that has a rigid  upright stance as opposed to the the classic bent knee stance of Polynesian images. What form the missing arms and legs took and how they related to what remains is mystery that thus far despite much effort I  have failed to solve.

Extracts from Augustus Earle's book a Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in NZ in 1827

Extracts from Augustus Earle's book a Narrative of a Nine Months' Residence in NZ in 1827

I was roused one morning at daybreak by my servant running in with the intelligence that a great number of war canoes were crossing the bay. As King George had told us but the evening before that he expected a visit from Ta-ri-ah, a chief of the tribe called Ngapuhis, whose territory lay on the opposite side of the bay, and given us to understand that Ta-ri-ah was a man not to be trusted, and therefore feared some mischief might happen if he really came, the sight of these war canoes naturally caused us considerable alarm, and we sincerely wished that the visit was over.

Extracts from Noqu Talanoa: Stories from the South Seas by Herbert Tichborne

Extracts from Noqu Talanoa: Stories from the South Seas by Herbert Tichborne

Herbert Tichborne's love and affection for Polynesians is stamped on all his writing, as in his introduction to; Rambles in Polynesia; “ There they all are in their pristine simplicity, without vice, temper, or way-wardness. No women of any colour or kind are more beautiful or tender-hearted than theirs, no men on earth more modest or brave. “ Our first Tichborne stories deal with Fiji, and I should explain that although Fijians are not Polynesians  but rather Melenesians, in general Fiji is included in most studies of Polynesia because Fiji, Tonga and Samoa are so bound up historically and artistically.

Easter Island's Fate at the Hands of Peruvian Slavers

Easter Island's Fate at the Hands of Peruvian Slavers

Rapanui or Easter Island has had a horrible history at the hands of those of European decent, beginning with the first European visitor in 1722 the Dutchman Ruggenden whose men  fired on islanders killing 22. At one point the population of Rapnui has been estimated as as high as twelve thousand but as the below shows fell to 110 individuals by1877 .

Extracts from Rambles in Polynesia by Herbert Tichborne -Tokalau Shark Hunters

Extracts from Rambles in Polynesia by Herbert Tichborne -Tokalau Shark Hunters

The pig is not much cultivated in the Tokalau groups. But the physical character of the islands, or atolls as they should, perhaps, be more properly called, makes the capture of fish in large quantities an easy matter. Most of the atolls are in shape something like a horseshoe, as they are for the most part tops of extinct volcanic craters, which at one time, according to high geological authority, flourished upon the great sunken continent which the Pacific Ocean now covers. The horseshoe-shaped islet thus possesses a lagoon in its centre, round which it circles, there always being an outlet to the sea, sometimes more than one.

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