Volume 31 1922 > Volume 31, No. 124 > Maori somatology. Racial averages. Part III, by Te Rangi Hiroa (P. H. Buck), p 159-170
III. (Continued from Vol. XXXI., No. 3.)
FACE HEIGHT.—This measurement was taken from the nasion to the lower edge of the point of the chin. Sullivan has pointed out the danger of error in this measurement from the difficulty in locating the nasion when the nasal bridge is low. In my series, the source of the facial height being lowered through loss of the front teeth did not exist owing to the excellent dental service that existed in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. As the men were mostly young adults in good training, the further complication in the lower measuring point, from extra deposition of fat under the chin, did not occur.
The average face height for 422 Maoris was 124 mm. This is much lower than Sullivan's results for Samoan and Tongan males which are 69 Samoans, 131·1 mm., and 116 Tongans, 128·2 mm. It will be thus seen that the Maori average is no less than 7·1 mm. lower than the Samoan and 4·2 lower than the Tongan. In five Tahitian soldiers, whom I measured in Auckland, the average was exactly the same as the Maori, 124 mm. Seventeen Gilbert Island soldiers returned an average of 121·8 and three Fijians, 119. The thirty-four New Zealand white soldiers were 122·7. Of the North American Indians, whom Sullivan compares with the Samoans and Tongans as having massive faces, he gives the average for 538 Sioux as 124·6.
The range of distribution for the Maoris was 110 to 147. Sullivan gives the Tongan range as 112 to 147, and the Samoan as 115 to 145.
FACE WIDTH.—The face width taken was the maximum diameter between corresponding points on the opposite zygomatic arches. The - 161 chances for individual differences in technique are minimised in this measurement. It will be observed that Sullivan's Samoan and Tongan results and the Maori average approach very closely. The Maori average for 424 cases was 145·7 mm. Sullivan gives the Samoan male average as 145·9 which is practically identical with the Maori. His Tongan average is 143·5. My five Tahitians were 145·6, the Gilbert Islanders 144·2, and the Fijians curiously enough averaged 152. The thirty-four New Zealand white soldiers averaged 137·2. Sullivan's Sioux Indians were 149·1. The range of distribution for the Maoris was 134 to 158. Sullivan gives the Samoan range as 136 to 159, and the Tongan as 131 to 159.
Average 145·7.- 162
FACIAL INDEX.—The facial index is obtained from the formula, Face height X 100/Face width The average for 422 Maoris was 85·1. Sullivan gives the averages for the Samoans as 89·9, and the Tongans as 89·2. The lower index of the Maori is to be expected from the shorter face height. The five Tahitians were 85·1, the Gilbert Islanders 84·6, and the Fijians 78·2. The New Zealand white soldiers were 89·3 or almost identically the same as the Tongans. This shows how useless or even misleading, indices are without giving at the same time the absolute measurements. The white New Zealander and the Tongan have the same average facial index, yet the former has the usual Caucasian face whilst the latter, from its transverse and vertical diameters, is described by Sullivan as massive. The Maori range of facial index is from 73 to 97. Sullivan gives the Samoan range as 79 to 104 and the Tongan as 78 to 102. In no case amongst the Maori series was the face height greater than the face width.
CEPHALO-FACIAL INDEX.—The cephalo-facial index gives the proportion of the face width to the head breadth. It is obtained from the formula, Face width X 100/Maximum Head Breadth The average for 422 Maoris was 95·3. Sullivan gives the Samoan index as 94·2 and the Tongan as 92·8. The lower index in the Samoans and Tongans is accounted for by the greater breadth of the head. The five Tahitians, with a broader head than the Maori, gave an average of 92·6· The Gilbert Islanders and the Fijians with a greater average face width than head breadth gave an average of 100·5 and 102 respectively. The New Zealand white soldiers with a narrower face gave an average of 90.
The range of distribution for the Maoris was 85 to 104, whilst the Tongan was 85 to 103, and the Samoan 86 to 102. In the Maori series, 38 or 9 per cent. had an index of 100 and upwards.
Professor Macmillan Brown 1 has stated that the flat nose is the Polynesian ideal of beauty. If it was so in Polynesia, it certainly was not the case in New Zealand. Maoris use the term ihu parehe, flat nose, as a term of opprobrium. On the other hand, it was the well formed, well bridged nose that was admired. So much was this desired that mothers massaged and moulded the noses of their infants from shortly after birth. The massaging was done by placing the fingers on either side of the nose, below the inner angles of the eyes, and pressing inwards and upwards. In this way, it was thought that by continuous treatment the bridge of the nose could be raised and the ugly deformity of a depressed bridge obviated. The nostrils were also compressed with the fingers to correct excessive width, which was regarded with disgust. Some of the older men say that a wooden appliance was used to mould the nose into narrower proportions. In modern times an ordinary wooden clothes peg was used for this purpose. The alae nasi were compressed with the fingers, and the tip of the nose tilted forward. The clothes peg was then affixed over the top of the nose to maintain the compression of the nostrils and the forward projection of the tip. By this method, mothers fondly hoped to narrow the nostrils and sharply define the point of the nose, which latter was also greatly desired. During the periods of treatment, the child had to breathe through the mouth. Whilst the child was being suckled, the appliance was removed. I do not know how long the treatment lasted, but enough has been said to prove that the flat nose was not the Maori ideal of beauty.
Regarding the tangata whenua or people found here by the Maori colonists from Eastern Polynesia, tradition states that they were woolly-haired, dark-skinned, thin-legged, with shifty eyes and very flat noses. These characteristics are mentioned by the narrators as showing their inferiority to the later comers. Savageness is associated - 165 with flat noses in the Maori mind from the fact that, in some districts, it is stated that a future fighting warrior could be diagnosed in infancy from the flatness of the nose and the prominence of the supra-orbital arches. In some cases the latter were massaged to render them more prominent. There was no question of beauty in this method. It was done to increase the fierce appearance of a prospective warrior in order that, as my informant said, “A flat nose combined with staring eyeballs protruding from under overhanging brows might lend a terrifying appearance in battle.” Thus we have very definite traditional and customary evidence of Melanesian or Negroid intermixture in the past. In one case, we have an attempt to get rid of a Melanesian characteristic as it conflicted with the Polynesian idea of beauty and race; in the other, we have an attempt to exaggerate a Melanesian characteristic in order to increase the fierceness and savagery which could be utilised in war.
NOSE HEIGHT.—The nose height was measured from the nasion to the subnasal point or angle between the nasal septum and the upper lip. The average height for 424 Maoris was 52·8 mm. Sullivan's average for the Samoans was 59·8, and the Tongans, 57·5.Thus the Samoan average is 7 mm. higher than the Maori and corresponds to the difference in face height. The Tongan difference also corresponds closely to the difference in face height. My five Tahitians were shorter than the Maori with 51, whilst the Gilbert Islanders were also 51, and the Fjiians 48. The New Zealand white soldiers were 52·8.
The range of distribution for the Maoris was 40 to 63. Sullivan gives the Samoan range as 51 to 69, and the Tongan as 47 to 62. If we could be sure that Messrs. Gifford, McKern and myself have all located the nasion accurately, the difference in nose height and face height between the Maoris and the Samoans and Tongans would constitute an important distinction. In view of the special preparation the other observers underwent in anthropometrical work under Dr. Sullivan's supervision, I feel diffident about my own results and will check them again in the field before drawing any definite conclusion.
NOSE WIDTH.—The average nose width for 424 Maoris was 40·1 mm. Sullivan gives the Samoans as 43·8 and the Tongans as 44·4. The Maori nose is thus narrower by 3·7 and 4·3 mm. respectively. I must again mention that my cases were mostly young adults. The few measurements I have made in the settlements since the above were taken, would indicate that with a series containing more older people, the average might be slightly increased. However, the five Tahitians who were also young adults gave an average of 43·4. From general observation I have always thought that the other branches of the Polynesians I have seen, had a wider nose than the Maori. The Gilbert Islanders average 42·3 and the Fijians 45·6.
The range of distribution for the Maoris was 32 to 49. Sullivan gives the Samoan range as 38 to 50 and the Tongan 38 to 55.- 167
NASAL INDEX.—The nasal index is obtained from the formula, Nose width X 100/Nose height Broca regarded the Nasal index as one of the best tests of ethnical differences. As in the case of the facial index, it is of little value without the corresponding absolute measurements. As Sullivan points out the enormous proportions of the Tongan nose is only approached by certain American Indian groups. Yet the Tongan index is identical with that of various other races with noses of moderate height and width. The great width of the Tongan nose is reduced by its great height to an average index.
The average nasal index for 424 Maoris was 75·9. The Samoan and Tongan indices are 73·6 and 77·6 respectively. In this index, the shorter Maori nose is brought into proximity with those of their kinsmen by its narrower width. Denniker, quoting Colliguon, gives the nasal index for thirteen Polynesians as 89·8, but as Sullivan remarks this is probably due to differences in technique. The five Tahitians, as a result of a shorter and broader nose than the Maori, - 168 gave an index of 85. The Gilbert Islanders were 82·9 and the Fijians 95·1. The New Zealand white soldiers gave an average of 62·6.
The range of distribution for the Maoris was 53 to 104. The Samoans were 61 to 91 and the Tongans 61 to 106.
NASAL INDEX GROUPS.—The nasal index is divided into three classes, narrow or leptorhine—below 70, medium or mesorhine—70 to 85, and broad or platyrhine—above 85. The Maori average of 75·9 thus comes near the lower end of the mesorhine group. In the skull, Flower and Turner placed the lower limit of the mesorhines at 48. Scott's average for 47 male skulls was 47·9, thus placing them in the leptorhine group. His average for 66 skulls of both sexes was 48·1, thus just crossing the border into the mesorhine group. A set of 34 skulls from the Auckland district, consisting of twelve in Scott's collection and the others described by Sir William Flower and Professor Turner, give an average of 50·2, thus placing them well in the mesorhine group. The distribution of my series of living subjects is shown in the table below.- 170
In Scott's 66 skulls of both sexes the group distribution was:— Leptorhine, 43·9% mesorhine, 45·5% and platyrhine, 10·6%.
In the Morioris of the Chatham Islands, Scott for 32 male skulls gave an average index of 46·1, and Duckworth 2 for 7 males in the Cambridge Museum, 44·3. According to information collected by the Polynesian Society from the learned Te Matorohanga, the Morioris were driven from New Zealand and peopled Chatham Island before the arrival of the main Maori migration of 1350 A.D. They are supposed to be the remnant of the tangata whenua previously mentioned as having Melanesian characteristics ascribed to them by tradition. If this were so we would expect the Moriori nasal index to be higher than the Maori, instead of which it is lower. Scott gives 10·6% of the Maori skulls as broad nosed, and my series gives the same percentage. In the 39 Moriori skulls mentioned above, not only are they more narrow nosed than the Maori, but there is not a single broad nosed skull in the series.
Sullivan, Scott and Denniker as previously mentioned.
1 J. Macmillan Brown. “Maori and Polynesia.”
2 W. T. H. Duckworth, 1904. “Studies from the Anthropological Laboratory.” Cambridge University Press. P. 167.