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  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Polynesian navigators revive a skill that was nearly lost

    Two ocean-going canoes have returned to New Zealand after an epic voyage to Easter Island by Polynesian navigators using traditional craft. The revival of ancient skills continues to gather momentum and has great cultural and political significance for the indigenous people of the Pacific.They waded ashore from their canoes through the luminous turquoise water of the lagoon. The captains, festooned with garlands of flowers, led a procession of around 20 men and women, Cook Islanders, Tahitians, New Zealand Maoris and three sailors from Rapanui, better known to most of us as Easter Island.Then the band played, waiting dignitaries made speeches and girls from the High School, still in their uniforms, danced....

  • Originally published 05/14/2013

    Protection for south coast massacre site urged

    A massacre of 50 Maori on Wellington's south coast has been brought to light thanks to a lucky Google search.Historian Elsdon Best wrote a comprehensive history of Wellington Maori, The Land of Tara and They Who Settled It, in about 1919.However, an incident in which northern Maori swept into Wellington and killed 50 Ngati Ira iwi at Tarakena Bay about 1820 came to his attention only after his book was published.He told fellow historian Henry Christie, who wrote about it in 1931. Miramar military historian Allan Jenkins came across Christie's record of the massacre about 30 years ago but, despite numerous searches, was unable to find it again....