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For subsistence they were dependant primarily on the produce of the sea, upon near and off-shore fishing, and upon shell fish and other coastal resources.
Horticulture and domestic animals were fully exploitable only on high islands, and were meagre or in some cases absent altogether in atolls which were the predominant environment in Micronesia and in the Polynesian Outliers.
The literature on Polynesian origins and information bearing upon it is so vast it may well be asked why burden the reader with yet another book about it, and, from the author's point of view, why bother to write one?
According to this view, Polynesians evolved from a group of pre-Polynesian settlers known as Lapita people whose characteristically dentate stamped pottery has been found in numerous archaeological sites stretching from the Bismarck Archipelago on the eastern fringe of Papua New Guinea south-eastwards through Island Melanesia to Fiji, and from there to nearby Tonga and Samoa in Western Polynesia.
The results, as will be seen, call to question the orthodox theory of Polynesian origin from Lapita potters.
Two main considerations underlie the discussions to follow.
Merriam was working on his epoch-making book, (1964) in the United States.
Unknown to me as I made my very first recordings in the Bay of Plenty area of New Zealand, the ethnomusicologist Alan P.
But it soon became apparent to me that it could make a significant contribution on issues that had occupied Pacific scholars for at least a hundred years, including the vexed question of "The Coming of the Maori" as articulated at this time by the ethnologist Sir Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), and further back still the origins of the peoples of Polynesia, whose remarkable history was equally the subject of debate.
These were pioneer days for the discipline of Ethnomusicology, and everything about it at the time was new, especially as it related to Anthropology.
This book later became my bible as I undertook more research and worked on a Ph D, only the third, I was told to be awarded on the subject of Music in New Zealand.
An alternative view that champions Micronesia as a primary area of origin for Polynesians has been in limbo as a result of the prevailing theory, but is reappraised in the present book and found once again to be in contention.
For more than twenty years the standard view among anthropologists has been that Polynesians evolved from a group of settlers known as Lapita people whose characteristically dentate-stamped pottery has been found on numerous mostly Melanesian sites, and who entered Fiji more than 3000 years ago from a starting point in the Bismarck Archipelago.