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Monday, August 10, 1998 Published at 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

New Zealand's Maoris originally came from China

A New Zealand scientist has said he has genetic evidence that New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori, and the Polynesian populations of the Pacific originally came from China.

Dr Geoffrey Chambers a zoologist at Victoria University in New Zealand says a DNA study shows that the ancestors of today's Maoris and Polynesians originated in mainland China, and then migrated to New Zealand and other Pacific islands.

Dr Chambers says the migration took place over many centuries, as communities moved through the Philippines and Indonesia into the Pacific.

Dr Chambers findings are largely supported by the scientific community, as well as by ancient Maori legends

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