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A Natural Experiment of History from the book; Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

A Natural Experiment of History from the book; Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

I quote chapter two of Professor Diamond's book in full because it contains within it one of the best  sumations of how the geography of Polynesia affected the lives of the Polynesian People and how  each island community adopted to their specific enviroment.

A Visit from Hongi Hika by Augustus Earle

A Visit from Hongi Hika by Augustus Earle

A few days after my visit to the missionaries, while we were busily employed in constructing our huts, assisted by about fifty natives, on a sudden a great commotion took place amongst them. Each left his work and ran to his hut, and immediately returned armed with both musket and cartouch box: apparently all the arms in the village were mustered, and all seemed ready for immediate use. On inquiring into the cause of all these war-like preparations, I was informed that Hongi and his chief men were crossing the bay in several large war canoes; and though he was considered as a friend and ally, yet, as he was a man of such desperate ambition, and consummate cunning, it was considered necessary to receive him under arms, which he might take either as a compliment, or as a proof of how well they were aware of the guest they were receiving.

A Ramble Ashore by Augustus Earle 1827

A Ramble Ashore by Augustus Earle 1827

A scene at Pakanae, on the southern shore of the Hokianga Harbour, in a Maori kainga, looking out into the harbour with a ship (the Governor Macquarie) and a Maori canoe in the stream. Earle and his friend, Mr Shand, are shown offering ribbons to two young women who are cooking a fish, spiked on a stick, over a fire. The group is watched by a squatting man wrapped in a flax cloak. A storehouse on legs and a low thatched shelter, and food stored in bags tied to tall sticks complete the scene.

Austral Island Dance Paddle

Austral Island Dance Paddle

The Austral Islands dance paddle is one of the great enigmas of Polynesian Art. The Australs lie south of Tahiti and were visited briefly by Captain Cook on his first and last  voyages, but the exposed nature of the islands and the unfriendliness of the inhabitants convinced Cook to sail on both times after a small amount of trading took place. Fletcher Christian and the Bountry mutineers returned to Tahiti after briefly attempted to settle on Tubuai, but not before they killed or wounded sixty islanders. It was only after Tahitian lay missionaries arrived in 1821 that the islands began to establish real contact with Europeans, yet even this coincided with the introduction of European diseases and a catastrophic collapse of the population.

A Critical Look at Modern Maori Carving

A Critical Look at Modern Maori Carving

Some care is required on this subject because it is not my aim to be critical of specific artists, but it is necessary to use pertinent examples in discussing the merits or otherwise of modern Maori carving. As we shall see my argument is not against modern Maori carvers but the whole issue of Maori carving being an ongoing perpetuation of 19th century steel carving which was the style that developed forty of fifty years after Cook first arrived on these shores in 1769 and introduced iron in the form of the spike nail.

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