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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