The problem with this is perhaps exposed by the following claim:
“A new paper by the University of Otago combines literature and oral histories, and concludes that Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, were likely the first people to explore Antarctica’s surrounding waters, and possibly the continent in the distance. They write that Māori and Polynesian journeys to the deep south have been occurring for a long time, perhaps as far back as the seventh century, and are recorded in a variety of oral traditions. According to the oral histories of Māori tribal groups Ngāti Rārua and Te Āti Awa, the first human to travel to the Antarctic was the Polynesian explorer, Hui Te Rangiora.” (2)
For an ethic group that had no written language to record events, passage of time erodes accuracy. As a former detective I learned well that a week’s delay in recording evidence, let alone a year or 1200 years, makes a big difference. Oral transfer of past events gets distorted, exaggerated and invariably is a bare resemblance to what actually happened.
Take as one example the late Sir Peter Blake. This highly skilled and experienced ocean-going mariner, talked about how hostile, treacherous and dangerous the Great Southern Ocean is to navigate on the way to Antarctica. How did the Maori manage that on their outriggers/canoes and what clothing and footwear did they wear to cope with the freezing conditions? No thermal underwear back then!! Did they have ice breakers?
Look at the many challenges faced by the renowned Antarctica explorers, Ernest Henry Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott, on the frozen continent and they had equipment, clothing and supplies suitable for that harsh and unforgiving environment.
I say to those who claim Māori went to Antarctica as far back as 700 AD and even if these alleged excursions were as recent as 1700 AD it should be clearly demonstrated that the claims they make were possible! Like, put up or shut up!
Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl (1914–2002) is one of history’s most famous adventurers and explorers. (4) (Note: I also have Norwegian pedigree – as well as Maori, French, Scottish and Irish – and I speak Russian.)
In 1947 Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean from South America on the balsawood raft Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl was convinced that the first humans to reach Easter Island – and other islands in the eastern part of Polynesia – came from South America. Only later did people come to Polynesia from the west, and then via the northwest coast of Canada and Hawaii.
The peoples of South America did not have seaworthy rafts or boats that could take them as far as the Polynesian islands, according to scholars with whom Heyerdahl discussed the subject. So, in order to prove that it was possible, he decided to build a raft and make the journey himself. He put up!
So I say to those who make the claims I reference above: jump in a canoe with a paddle and a grass skirt, no thermal gear, no sextant and no harpoon or spear gun — and see what happens!
And to the academics who demonstrated personal integrity by not buying into some of the myths which now looms as the standard of education to replace Western science, I say: Apologies on behalf of our stalwart political leaders – for failing to come to your defence. After all, in our democracy, free speech is part of the menu.