New Zealand 1789 CE

New Zealand is inhabited by a people of Polynesian descent, the Maoris.

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What is happening in New Zealand in 1789CE

The Maoris of New Zealand are descended from Polynesians who arrived in the North Island sometime around the 13th century. They quickly spread throughout both islands. The tropical crops they brought with them were unsuited to the temperate climate of most of the country, and the settlers were forced to adopt a largely hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The abundant wildlife, including the huge, flightless bird called the Moa, offered plentiful food. However, this was soon depleted, and the Maoris were forced to focus on growing only those domesticated plant able to survive winter frosts, the sweet potato. This was supplemented by native ferns. Even this was only possible in the warmer North Island and the northern tip of South Island. Throughout the rest of South Island, a thinly-scattered population continued to live a hunter-gatherer way of life.

In the North Island, warlike chiefdoms, centred on numerous fortified earthworks called “Pas”, have developed. More than 5000 Pas have been traced, a graphic reflection of the violent competition for good land.

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