Aotearoa-Land of the Moehau Megazealander Mysteries
There is a mystery lurking in the wild and untamed mountains and forests of New Zealand. It is a mystery dismissed as a myth by anthropologists, but one which has persisted since the arrival of the first Maori colonists from Polynesia centuries ago.
The mystery concerns the existence of races of primitive, hairy, giant-size and smaller hominids, said to have survived in these wilds since ice-age times.
Perhaps the 'mystery' has not so much to do with their existence, but how these hominids were able to reach New Zealand in the first place.
The logical explanation of course is that they arrived here via a land-bridge that formerly connected New Zealand to Melanesia-Australia .Could such a 'bridge' have existed?
During the Mesozoic era, about 150 million years ago, New Zealand was linked with Australia, India, Africa and South America in one supercontinent called Gondwanaland.
New Zealand separated from Australia about 70 million years ago when the Indian-Australia plate began to swing away from the other continental masses. About the same time New Zealand also separated from Antarctica.
At this time as already shown, New Zealand was part of a massive sprawling continental crust which included, via what is now the Norfolk Island Ridge stretching from North Island to New Caledonia, the islands of Melanesia/New Guinea, and south-east Asia.
By 20,000 years ago what are now the North and South Islands, and also the third, smaller Stewart Island south of Invercargill across Foveaux Strait was one continuos landmass. Then around 12,000 years ago as the last great ice-age came to a close worldwide, the melting icecaps caused sea levels to rise, inundating low-lying land surfaces. This, together with local geological upheavals, shaped the present New Zealand and submerged the great Melanesian 'bridge' to a depth of up to 2,000m below sea-level.
"Preposterous, no trace of such a 'bridge' exists" said a geologists to me some years ago, yet centuries of powerful ocean currents can easily carve away any traces of former surface landmasses, as has been the case with the former Bass Strait land bridge between Tasmania and Victoria.
That the above events were indeed witnessed by humans is evidenced in the folklore of the Maori people.
One of many variations of Maori legends dealing with the submergence of the great Melanesian/New Zealand land shelf, was collected by researcher John White in 1887 from an old Maori tohunga or priest: "On the paradise land of Whainga-roa [north of Cape Rienga] there lived a happy people called the Ngati-Kaiperu. One day the earth shook. The fire god Ruaumoko was angry. He opened up the land and a deluge of fire flowed from the earth. The land heaved and sighed. People and settlements were destroyed and swept away as the waters overwhelmed the land, carrying it below the sea. Some people escaped on rafts and canoes but most of the Ngati-Kaiperu drowned."
"Today the spirits of the dead travel to the sunken paradise by way of Cape Te Rienga. They use the roots and branches of an old Pohutukawa tree as a ladder with which they descend below the waters to the paradise of sunken Whainga-roa."
The Maori people only settled North Island around 1100AD. From whom did they obtain these traditions? Perhaps from the Moriori, an earlier, more primitive Polynesian people who were already established in the North Island well before the first Maori arrival.
Or, perhaps the 'Moa Hunters', another pre-Maori Polynesian people who hunted the giant flightless emu-like Moa birds they discovered there into virtual extinction, across both main islands before the arrival of the Maoris.
And there were also the mysterious Patupaiarehe, a white-skinned, blue-eyed, red-haired race often regarded as fairies in academic literature, despite their fort-building and war-making activities. From where did they come? Some authorities suggest they were ancient seafarers from far-off Mesopotamia, while still others suggest they were ancient Scandinavians. However, these pre-Maori inhabitants could only have been in residence from around the 2000BC period at most [based upon megalithic and other archaeological evidence], and as we are dealing with geological events that occurred around 12,000 years ago, who else was present to pass on accounts of this great upheaval? Here the mystery deepens .....
Aotearoa, the "Land of the Long White Cloud", as the first Maori colonists named New Zealand, is a land of many mysteries, hidden deep within its primeval mist-shrouded forests and valleys, and mountain ranges with peaks rising up to or over 3,00m high into the clouds; where volcanoes smoulder ominously and mud spurts from boiling springs. The Maoris call the mountains Gods, and they are.
Maori traditions preserve many accounts of other, earlier stone-age people who preceded them to New Zealand. Among these were the Moehau, a hairy race who manufactured crude stone and wood implements.
They were feared by the North Island Maoris, who stayed clear of the mountains of Ruapehu and Tongariro, because these mountains were inhabited by "terrible creatures", half-man, half-animal, who would kill and eat any Maoris who dared to venture into their domain.
Both Maori and Moriori legends also speak of people of great stature; these include beings like the Matau, the Tuuhourangi and Toangina, whose heights varied from 2.6 to 3 metres. All were tool-making beings.
The Toanginas were the scourge of the lower reaches of the Waikato River, attacking Maoris fishing there.
The Lake Wakatipu area of Central Otago was the home of the Matau giants; monster of 3m height. There were also the Maero or "wild men" of the forest country of both North and South Islands, and whose features, like those of the Moehau, are reminiscent of the Yowie , of 'hairy man' of Australian Aboriginal folklore, now identified as Homo erectus.
Towering over all, however, was the 4m or so tall forest Taniwahs, who roamed the mountains and forests with huge stone axes, killing and eating anyone unfortunate enough to cross their path.
Two types of primitive hominids thus appear to have been present in old New Zealand; a normal-size race, known both as the Moehau and Maero; and one, or more giant races, of which the Matau, Tuuhourangi and Toangina may represent a single race. The Forest Taniwah on the other hand, appears to have been something else, as the Maoris were adamant that these hominids were taller, and more powerful than the other giants ie at least 4 metres height.
Not only have the massive stone 'megatools' of giant beings been unearthed throughout New Zealand, but also giant and normal size fossilised human footprints have come to light.
During a field investigation in New Zealand, in September 1997 in the Mt Cook area of South Island, at the base of the mountain near "The Hermitage', I found a large human foot impression in a mudstone shoal. It measured 36cm long by 13cm wide across the toes, 12cm wide at mid foot and 9cm across the heel. Later, near the turn-off to Mt Cook, while fossicking near the road, I chanced to stumble upon a second, through smaller, mudstone-preserved fossil human foot impression. This measures 22.5cm long by 14.5cm across the toes, 11cm wide at mid-foot and 10cm across the heel.
Earlier, during our May-June 1996 New Zealand field investigation, at a point just north of the west coast town of Ross in South Island, Heather and I found, protruding from ancient stratas nearby a long dried-up inlet about 1km in from the ocean, four crude implements, consisting of a large, 28cm wide by 16.5cm long chopping tool, together with another 11cm by 10cm chopper; a 9.5cm by 9.5cm bone smashing pebble tool, and a hand-axe measuring 10.5cm wide by 14.8cm long. I recognised these implements as being identical to Homo erectus examples found by me in the New England district of northern NSW.
Three days later Heather and I found other former occupation sites of this Homo erectus-type people in the Te Anau Downs, containing primitive choppers, scraping, cutting and bone-smashing tools; all of which showed these people had roamed the edges of the former glaciers, following the Moa food chain.
Further Homo erectus "dawn tools" were discovered on the edge of an extinct ice-age lake at Tongariro National Park during our 1998 New Zealand field investigation. But just how old are these finds?
The Ross site has been dated to the 7th Glacial Period of the New Zealand ice-age, making these tools up to 150,000 years old; the same age as the Mt Tongariro finds. However, the Te Anau occupation sites, whose tools appear much older and cruder than those found elsewhere, are believed to date from the 5th Glacial and 4th Inter-Glacial Periods; that is, somewhere between 350,000-400,000 years BP [Before Present]. Earlier occupation sites containing eoliths in the Te Anau-Milford region may date to even earlier times, perhaps up to 500,000 years BP.