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New Research Says Māori People Discovered Antarctica 1,400 Years Ago

by Olivia Harden Jun 11, 2021

A new research paper published in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand may have just redefined history as we know it.

It was previously accepted knowledge that a Russian expedition in 1820 was responsible for the first sighting of Antarctica. But researchers have now concluded that Māori, the Indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand, most likely discovered the continent 1,320 years earlier.

“We find Polynesian narratives of voyaging between the islands include voyaging into Antarctic waters by Hui Te Rangiora and his crew on the vessel Te Ivi O Atea, likely in the early 7th century,” lead researcher and conservation biologist Dr. Priscilla Wehi told CNN.

The new findings have been based on oral traditions and narratives, carvings, as well as “‘gray literature’ — research done outside of traditional academic and commercial channels — that hadn’t been properly examined,” according to CNN.

Records of Polynesian oral histories from 1899 describe the journey to Antarctica: “The monstrous seas … a foggy, misty, and dark place not seen by the sun … Other things are like rocks, whose summits pierce the skies, they are completely bare and without vegetation on them,” according to The Guardian.

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