active assimilation by the Maori could be fitted into a progressive account of waves of superior colonists supplanting their inferior predecessors -- a process culminating in
The story taught today -- as any fule kno -- is that the Moriori were a group of Polynesians who completed the Maori settlement of New Zealand by sailing from the mainland about 700 km. over to the Chatham Islands. Alas, the Chathams are lacking in large trees for constructing canoes for the return voyage; they also lack for a balmy climate, and in resources other than seafood (and fine columnar-basalt rock-forms for people who appreciate art and geomorphology).
The Moriori found that the only way to survive was through cooperation and renunciation of violence. Things did not end well in 1835 when several hundred Maori, inspired by the success of the English colonial project, hijacked or chartered a European schooner (stories differ) for a cruise to the Chathams, for enslavement-related activites. Suffice to say that Moriori skeletal remains are now so plentiful, and so lacking in descendents to defend them from grave-robbers, that Howells was able to obtain 108 skulls for his database of craniofacial measurements... compared to 10 North-Island and 10 South-Island Maori skulls.
Oddly enough, the part of the Com-Post's feature where Douglas Owsley describes the modern-day Ainu as the ancestors of the Moriori turns out not be a journalistic invention. Evidently he is not the only anthropologist to hold this strange belief (based on comparing those craniofacial measurements). The underlying assumption is that today's Polynesians -- who endured a series of genetic bottlenecks and some serious evolutionary pressure in the course of radiating out across the Pacific Islands -- are representative of the proto-Austronesians who left Taiwan some 5200 years ago. More representative than people from earlier stages of that radiation, like Formosans or Malayans or Micronesians, who don't resemble Ainu. Obviously it would be nice if there were any discernible resemblance between the Ainu language and anything in the Austronesian language group.
One of the lesser-known rules of the Interlattice is that anyone linking the Ainu and the Moriori will turn out to be an Alt-Archeology loon, an ACT Party stalwart, or a white supremacist.
But I repeat myself.