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lost Taiwanese cuzzies Early lastmonth, after a hollering introduction from a crazed Taiwanese MC with find burberry store a Monkees haircut, Witi Ihimaera took the podium at the gala dinner thrown in honour of the New Zealand contingent to the Taipei book fair.

.." Silver tongued Ihimaera, 71 years old and a former diplomat, was possibly laying it on a bit thick to flatter his hosts, but the idea of a visiting Maori being confused for a local actually makes perfect sense. In the past decade and a half, geneticists have confirmed what linguists and archaeologists had been saying since the 1970s that there is a clear lineage running from Taiwan's inhabitants of 5000 years ago to modern day Polynesians, including Maori. Most modern Taiwanese are of Han Chinese origin, but around 2 per cent 500,000 people belong to one of the island's 20 odd indigenous tribes and are direct descendants of those early inhabitants. Maori and indigenous Taiwanese are cousins. It was a day of striking, and occasionally moving, moments of connection: as Maori met Atayal, each spotted familiar words, cultural practices and physical features in the other, as they traded stories about their battles for self determination and the preservation of culture and language. Before leaving New Zealand for Taipei, I'd phoned Victoria University biologist Dr Geoff Chambers, an expert on the Maori Taiwanese connection. It burberry online store europe all started, said Chambers, about 5000 years ago when a group of people, now known as Austronesians, began to make forays south from their home in Taiwan, spreading first to the nearby Batenes Islands, then to the Philippines and beyond. About 3000 years ago, in what is now Papua New Guinea, the Austronesians encountered another major group, the Papuans, who are closely related to modern day Australian Aboriginals. Intermarriage between the groups, in a genetic mix of about 70 per cent Austronesian and 30 per cent Papuan, produced the ancestors of the modern Polynesians. The proto Polynesians, with their unique genetic mix, then "sailed into the Pacific, settled it, and arrived in New Zealand about 750 years ago", says Chambers. Back in Asia, other Austronesians kept moving and mixing. Today, 350 million people have some Austronesian heritage, and they're spread from Madagascar off the African coast to Easter Island near South America, though the biggest groups are in Indonesia and the Philippines. Some Austronesians, though, stayed put in Taiwan for five millennia, experiencing little genetic intermingling. The upshot, says Chambers, is that "there's a burberry official outlet online very real sense in which the aboriginal people of Taiwan are the living ancestors of Maori". Over the millennia, Taiwan's stay at home Austronesians have divided into distinct tribes with clearly differentiated languages, physical appearance and cultural practices. All are related to Polynesians, but there are "tantalising" clues to suggest the east coast's Amis people are most closely related. Take a look, for instance, at the burberry jacket women's sale first 10 counting numbers in Maori and Amis: tahi=cecay; rua=toso; toro=tolo; wha=sepat; rima=lima; ono=enem; whitu=pito; waru=falo; iwa=siwa; tekau=polo. The first evidence of the Austronesian family tree was linguistic: the discovery of Asian and Pacific languages that clearly had a common ancestor in the same way French, Spanish and Italian all hark back to Latin. The theory was bolstered by archaeological evidence of Austronesian settlements along the presumed migration routes out of Taiwan: fish hooks, wooden artefacts and the distinctive "lapita pottery" that arose in their Austronesian settlements about 3000 years ago and was then carried into the Pacific. Recent genetic analysis of has confirmed and refined the family tree, and helped explain the "strong commonality" of certain health problems, including gout and type 2 diabetes. This may prove handy, says Chambers, because new treatments for these conditions in Maori and Pacific Islanders could be swiftly applicable to the other 350 million people of Austronesian descent, and vice versa. "The link creates a commonality of interest between large groups of people," says Chambers, "and a sense of affinity." So onThursday, February 10, a busload of New Zealanders went looking for a sense of affinity. From smoggy Taipei to the fresh air and soaring green hills of Wulai district was an hour's winding drive. Our guide and translator was the Atayal academic Yobu Losin, who filled us in on local demographics, mythology and history, then took us to visit the cosy home of his mother, who demonstrated how to strip a local plant for the tough fibre in its stalk, hand spin it into a thread that could be dyed with pigment from a boiled tuber, then weave it into fabric on a hand loom. The Atayal word for the plant fibre, she said, was "nuka". "Aaah," murmured te reo speakers. The Maori word for fibre is "muka". Losin's mum held up the traditional Atayal pattern she was creating on her loom a series of concentric diamond shapes. They looked, said Robert Sullivan, exactly like the patterns in woven headbands taniko of kapa haka groups. Another local woman, former schoolteacher Yungay Isaw, who'd dressed up in Atayal costume for our benefit, popped in and sang a weaving action song. She had a stripe of Atayal tattoo on each cheek.

It was a DIY temporary tattoo, but the design was authentic. The Kiwis nodded knowingly: "Moko." During lunch at a nearby restaurant, one of the dishes was prawns, sliced lemon and star anise sizzling on the table in a large bowl full of smoking hot pebbles.


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