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This then suggests that the current indigenous people of New Zealand (Maori and Moriori) were neither of East Polynesian origin nor the first discoverers.

However, this is inconsistent with analyses of New Zealand Pacific rat and Maori mt DNA (26, 31).

2), ≈50 km from Predator Cave, which produced the oldest rat bone dates (20, 21). The upper age limit for initial rat arrival can be further constrained by the age of the Kaharoa Tephra, a volcanic ash found in northeastern North Island, which has been wigglematch-dated to 1314 ± 12 A. (45), because rat-gnawed seeds have been found buried within this ash (22).East Polynesian islands preserve exceptionally detailed records of the initial prehistoric impacts on highly vulnerable ecosystems, but nearly all such studies are clouded by persistent controversies over the timing of initial human colonization, which has resulted in proposed settlement chronologies varying from ≈200 B. The last major prehistoric human migration into a previously unoccupied region of the world was from the western archipelagos of Remote Oceania (Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa region) into the islands of East Polynesia (1). Such differences underpin radically divergent interpretations of human dispersal from West Polynesia and of ecological and social transformation in East Polynesia and ultimately obfuscate the timing and patterns of this process.Symbols, median age; bars, upper and lower limits of 2σ age range.Vertical dashed lines, 1σ age range of oldest archaeological site in New Zealand (1280–1382 A. from Earthquakes #1, Predator Cave, and seven other South Island laughing owl sites from which the original 1995–1996 rat bone dates were derived (20, 21).

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