Story: Pacific migrations

The last three points of migration

The last three points of migration

Prehistoric voyages from central East Polynesia to islands at its distant margins were usually round trips – the prevailing winds did not allow voyagers to return directly. They had to stop at other islands along the way, or sail back through different weather systems. The last great voyages of exploration and settlement were also the most difficult. Sailing to Hawaii and Easter Island involved sailing across the wind. New Zealand, however, lay far to the south in a belt of prevailing westerlies.

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How to cite this page:

Geoff Irwin, 'Pacific migrations - East to the empty Pacific', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 September 2023)

Story by Geoff Irwin, published 8 Feb 2005, reviewed & revised 8 Feb 2017