The first people to reach New Zealand were Polynesians who set out from the central Pacific on deliberate voyages of discovery in large canoes. They reached New Zealand, in the south-west corner of the Pacific, between 1250 and 1300 AD. Around 2,000–3,000 years before this, the Lapita people, ancestors of the Polynesians, had colonised the far-flung islands of the Pacific from South-East Asia. The broad sweep of their epic journeys is indicated by the arrows on this map.
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