Journal article

Climate windows for Polynesian voyaging to New Zealand and Easter Island

Ian D Goodwin, Stuart A Browning, Atholl J Anderson

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | NATL ACAD SCIENCES | Published : 2014


Debate about initial human migration across the immense area of East Polynesia has focused upon seafaring technology, both of navigation and canoe capabilities, while temporal variation in sailing conditions, notably through climate change, has received less attention. One model of Polynesian voyaging observes that as tradewind easterlies are currently dominant in the central Pacific, prehistoric colonization canoes voyaging eastward to and through central East Polynesia (CEP: Society, Tuamotu, Marquesas, Gambier, Southern Cook, and Austral Islands) and to Easter Island probably had a windward capacity. Similar arguments have been applied to voyaging from CEP to New Zealand against prevailin..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. The research was partially funded by a Macquarie University External Collaborative Grant with the New South Wales Office for Environment and Heritage, and the New South Wales Environmental Trust (to I.D.G.). S.A.B. received a postgraduate Macquarie University Research Scholarship (MQRES). The climate reconstruction research forms a contribution to the Australian Eastern Seaboard Climate Change Initiative.