In the book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, why did the Maori and the Moriori evolve differently?Please give a page number in the book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of...

In the book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, why did the Maori and the Moriori evolve differently?

Please give a page number in the book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

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eleiko eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This passage is included on pp. 53-56. The Moriori of the Chatham Islands were a small isolated population of hunter-gatherers without experience in war or strong leadership and with only simple technology and weapons; they had a tradition of resolving disputes peacefully. The Maori came from a densely-populated area (north island of New Zealand) where warfare was common, and had evolved more advanced technology, weapons and leadership.

This is particularly notable because they were both Polynesian peoples evolved from the same ethnic group: the Moriori were simply a group of Maori who settled in the Chatham Islands. The Chathams could not support Maori tropical crops so those who settled there had to revert to hunting and gathering, which did not produce food surpluses as did agriculture: hence they could not develop people specialized in activities other than hunting such as crafts, leadership, or warfare. The absence of other nearby islands to colonize also meant they had to get along and settle conflicts rather than waging war, and could not support a large population increase.

THe Maori who remained on North Island (closer to the equator and therefore warmer than South Island) were able to create food surpluses and develop dense populations which often engaged in warfare with their neighbors. They were also able to have individuals devote time to being soldiers, creating buildings, and serving as chiefs because they could produce sufficient food without everyone's labor being devoted to agriculture.

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Guns, Germs, and Steel

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