Abstract and Keywords
Southern Polynesia, including New Zealand, the outlying Norfolk, Kermadec, Chatham, and Auckland Island groups was colonized after A.D. 1200 by populations from Central East Polynesia. Interaction between Eastern Polynesian and Southern Polynesian populations ceased soon after colonization, although interaction between the various outlying islands and the New Zealand population continued for possibly another 200 years. Early New Zealand populations exploited plentiful moa, a large flightless bird, and pinnipeds as food sources, hunting the former to extinction. Later horticultural activities, especially in the more clement North Island, focused on kumara or sweet potato. Although Maori society was never as hierarchical as East Polynesian populations, there is abundant archaeological and ethnographic evidence of later complex social and political systems, exchange or distribution networks for utilitarian and prestige goods, and extensive competition between groups, most prominently indicated by the approximately 7,000 fortified sites or pa distributed largely within horticultural landscapes.
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