Did you know that there is a genetic link connecting the indigenous peoples of Taiwan with Māori in Aotearoa NZ?
This is something I’ve found very interesting. But there’s much more… Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve learned recently:
- Genetic research over the last 15 years backs the idea of a link between indigenous Taiwanese and Māori and modern-day Pacific peoples. More here if you’re interested and in the Origins section of the Wikipedia entry for Māori.
- This makes Taiwan an ancestral land for many New Zealanders. Sir Pita Sharples, when he met indigenous Taiwanese said: “There is no doubt you are my cousins…you look like my brothers and sisters.”
- There are links in the languages. For example, counting from 1 to 10 is almost the same in Te Reo and Amis, one of the indigenous languages and tribal groups.
- Because of the common ancestry, solving the health problems of one group can benefit the others. These affect us all, but in particular, this relates to dealing with high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Taiwan has 16 different officially recognised tribes, each with their own distinct language and culture who occupied the island 15,000 years before the Han Chinese arrived. In addition, there are many more tribal groups that are not recognised yet according to my Taiwanese friends.
- Indigenous Taiwanese languages and culture have been (and still are) in danger. But the good news is that they seem to be at the beginning of a cultural resurgence and renaissance. For me, this seems similar to what happened in the 1970s in Aotearoa NZ. It’s early days, but Taiwan is learning from Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi.
- There are many groups working hard to promote and strengthen ties and form new relationships between Aotearoa NZ and Taiwan, especially with indigenous groups. On the Taiwan side, one key group is the Council for Indigenous Peoples (CIP) and on the NZ side, the newly formed Indigenous Taiwan Aotearoa New Zealand (ITANZ) Business Council.