What Makes a New Zealander?

From Africa to Aotearoa

13 August, 2014

2About 65,000 years ago modern humans started expanding across the globe. The final landmass settled by humans was Aotearoa/New Zealand, just 750 years ago.

While Maori were the first to arrive, they were joined by later migrants, primarily from Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

But Allan Wilson Centre’s Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith related how her research into DNA ancestry trails reveals we can all, ultimately, trace our origins back to Africa.

She described the implications of the first year of her genetic diversity study in terms of understanding New Zealand’s settlement history. Fifty of the 80-plus audience were then offered the opportunity to help Prof Matisoo-Smith with her study, having a simple cheek swab to provide genetic material to be analysed for genetic heritage tracing direct ancestry on the maternal (mtDNA) and paternal (Y chromosome) lineages.

For more information on the Africa to Aotearoa project see: http://www.africatoaotearoa.otago.ac.nz/
For the Allan Wilson Centre: http://www.allanwilsoncentre.ac.nz/
and for National Geographic’s Genographic project: https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/