Dom Post: Tsunami wiped out historic knowledge

Bob Brockie of the Dominion Post writes about a tsunami which ocurred about 500 years in New Zealand, and its disastrous consequences.

The tsunami, which archaeologists estimate to have been some 25 metres high, and the effect it had on the Maori living here, including causing the loss of a great deal of knowledge and skill in craftsmanship.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“The timing of the calamitous tsunami coincides with many changes that overtook Maori.

“Before the disaster Maori built two-hulled canoes, afterwards only single-hulled boats.

“The quality of stone adzes, fishing gear, ornaments and other artifacts declined after the tsunami, which Dr McFadgen attributes to the loss of many skilled craftsmen.

“He also finds that the whakapapa of several tribes go back to the 15th century but no further, possibly because so many knowledgeable kaumatua and priests were lost in the waves. Dr McFadgen thinks the big tsunami triggered a significant transition from archaic to classical Maori culture, but this idea does not sit well with some archaeologists.”