The Maoris are Polynesians, and, in common with the majority of their kinsfolk throughout the Pacific, they have traditions which point to Savaii, originally Savaiki, the largest island of the Samoan group, as their cradleland.
As follows: Savaii, Manono, Apolima, Upolu, Fanuatapu, Manua, Nuutele and Nuulua, belonging to Germany, and Tutuila, Anua, Ofu, Olosenga, Tau and Rose, belonging to the United States of America.
The principal of these are Savaii (area, 660 sq.
- The Samoans are pure Polynesians, and according to the traditions of many Polynesian peoples Savaii was the centre of dispersion of the race over the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to New Zealand.
Thus the term Savaii itself, originally Savaiki, is supposed to have been carried by the Samoan wanderers over the ocean to Tahiti, New Zealand, the Marquesas and Sandwich groups, where it still survives in such variant forms as Havaii, Hawaiki, Havaiki and Hawaii.
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