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Polynesia is a group of islands located within the Polynesian Triangle, on the continent of Oceania. Polynesia is one among three major cultural areas in the Pacific ocean, aside from Micronesia and Melanesia.
See the fact file below for more information on the Polynesia or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Polynesia worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The word Polynesia is derived from two Greek words: poly which means “many” and nesos which means “islands”.
- Therefore, Polynesia literally means “many islands”.
- In 1756, a French writer named Charles Brosses was the first person to use the word “Polynesia”.
- But, contrary to its modern definition, Brosses used it to refer to all the islands of the Pacific.
- However, in 1831, a French explorer and naval officer who happened to have sailed through the south and western Pacific, named Jules Dumont d’Urville, proposed a restriction on its use to the Geographical Society of Paris.
- Polynesia is distinctively known as a small portion of land that is scattered all over a large portion of the mid and southern Pacific Ocean.
- The Polynesian Islands and archipelagos are commonly composed of volcanic islands, such as the Hawaiian Islands and Samoa.
- Zealandia (also known as New Zealand Continent or Tasmantis) is a continent or a large mass of continental crust that is almost submerged, and was known to have sank after drifting apart from Australia 65-80 million years ago.
- Zealandia resurfacing was caused by the movements of the Pacific Plate in relation to the Indo-Australian plate, that caused the New Zealand portion to emerge. About half of the remaining land of Polynesia comprises of the Hawaiian Archipelago.
- The oldest Polynesian rocks to be found inside New Zealand date to 510 million years old.
- The oldest Polynesian rocks outside Zealandia are found at the Hawaiian Seamount Chain, and are 80 million years old.
POLYNESIAN GEOGRAPHIC AREA
- Polynesia is a cultural term referring to one of the three main parts of Oceania.
- Polynesian islands in general are contained or located within the Polynesian Triangle.
- Geographically, the three main points of this triangle is drawn by the connecting points of Hawaii, New Zealand, and Easter Island.
- However, other islands inhabited by Polynesian people do not lie within the Triangle.
- The other main island groups situating within the Polynesian triangle are Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Niue, Wallis and Futuna, and French Polynesia.
- Small Polynesian settlements are also located at Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Caroline Islands, and Vanuatu.
- Outside the Polynesian Triangle, nearby island groups have strong Polynesian traits, such as Rotuma, located at the north of Fiji.
- Also, the Lau Islands at the southeast of Fiji possess strong cultural and historic links with Tonga.
- However, people in these island groups speak non-Polynesian languages.
POLYNESIAN EARLY SOCIETIES
- Polynesian people’s origin was traced by linguistics, and was known as a subset of sea-migrating Austronesian people.
- Their prehistoric origins have been traced to be in the Malay Archipelago, and ultimately, in Taiwan.
- The Austronesian languages began spreading into Island Southeast Asia between 3000 and 1000 BCE.
- During the Stone Age, upon arriving in Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, the Polynesians formed Matrilineal and Matrilocal societies.
- The kinship or the lineage of their ancestors focused on females, and married couples resided near the wife’s parents.
- Polynesia is split into two distinct cultures or cultural groups: East Polynesia and West Polynesia.
- The culture of West Polynesia has strong institutions of marriage and well-developed judicial, monetary, and trading traditions, and is considered suitable for islands with large populations.
- West Polynesia comprises of Tonga, Niue, Samoa, eastern parts of Fiji, the Lau Islands, and extends to the atolls of Tuvalu to the north.
- The pattern of settlements in West Polynesia is believed to occur when Polynesians spread out from the Samoan Islands into the Tuvalu atolls.
- In contrast to West Polynesia, Eastern Polynesian cultures are very suitable to smaller islands and atolls.
- Principally, the Island groups comprising Eastern Polynesia are the Cook Islands, Tahiti, the Tuamotus, the Marquesas, Hawaii, Rapa Nui, and smaller central-pacific groups.
- Historically, New Zealand, the largest Polynesian Island, was first inhabited by Eastern Polynesians who developed a culture for a non-tropical environment.
- In comparison to Melanesia, the leaders of Polynesia were chosen based on their hereditary bloodline.
- While Samoa practices a different system of choosing their leaders, a system called Fa’amatai is used, where leaders are chosen not only based on heredity, but also real-world skills.
- Religion, farming, fishing, weather prediction, outrigger canoe construction, and navigation are the highly developed skills developed by Polynesians, simply because these are the skills needed for island-life survival.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Polynesia across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Polynesia worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Polynesia which is a group of islands located within the Polynesian Triangle, on the continent of Oceania. Polynesia is one among three major cultural areas in the Pacific ocean, aside from Micronesia and Melanesia.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Polynesia Facts
- Territory Review
- Triangle Islands
- Name Identification
- Flag Match
- Right Description
- Truth or Bluff
- East and West
- Polynesian Culture
- According To
- The Polynesian Poem
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Link will appear as Polynesia Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 18, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.