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Maori People of New Zealand Originated from Different Parts of the World

BCFOS -- The male and female ancestors of today’s Maori people of New Zealand originated from different parts of the world, molecular biologists have said.

Their claims, made by Masters student Adele Whyte, the Tuapapa Putaiao Maori Fellow at Victoria University in Wellington, and her supervisor Professor Geoff Chambers, will be aired on ABC-TV’s science program Catalyst tonight.

By comparing the DNA of people from Asia, across the Pacific Ocean and New Zealand, Whyte and Chambers have revealed a 'living genetic map' of ancient Maori migration routes.

The findings confirm archaeological evidence that the ancestors of today’s Maori originally set out from mainland south-east Asia 6,000 years ago, hopped from island to island, starting with Taiwan, and arrived in New Zealand 800 to 1,000 years ago.

However the research also brings startlingly new evidence that as Maori ancestors migrated one group of islands to the next, men from Melanesian communities joined the boats. This changed the genetic mix, and lead to the differences observed in the genetic make-up of today’s Maori men and women.


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