Volume 22 1913 > Volume 22, No. 86 > Some Hindustani cognates of the Maori, by F. W. Christian, p 77-79
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SOON after the establishment of a great Hindu civilisation in Java, and in a lessor degree in the Philippines, about the time of the Christian Era, it is certain that many expeditions of adventurous Hindu-Malay sea-captains in large ocean-going WANGKANG and BARANGAI, “junks” and “big galleys” must have launched out into the Pacific, both by the N.W. route by way of the Moluccas, Caroline Islands and Havaii, as well as by the S.W. route, followed in much more recent times by Abel Tasman. By this latter route also came an early Arab and Persian influence, which has tinctured Eastern Polynesian languages quite strongly, probably even to the extent of one-fifth of the words. In a former monograph I have already shown the purely Sanskrit origin of the word Kumara, the original Kumad the Edible Lotus, and passing through the crucible of the Hindu-Malay of Sunda (N.-Java) Kumadjang, and of the Philippin-Malay Kamote, and the Rôk (Central Caroline) Kamal, into the Polynesian Kumara and Kumala, and leaving in the Quichua and Aymara dialects of Peru Kumara, the choice white potato. Some time ago I also pointed out the Sanskrit origin of the word Totara (Skt. Deodara) and of the canoe name “Mâmari” (if Skt. Marâmari, the White Pine) and the common Polynesian word “Wahine,” “Fafine,” woman (Skt. Bahin, id.), and “Whenua,Fanua,” earth (Skt. Bhen, id.).

In this short note I have but space and time to embody a few more examples of Indian root-words which seem to me to be very faithfully reproduced in the Maori and allied dialects.


(1) Sanskrit—Bhaw Inspiration, quickening, moving, swift movement.

Root—Bhav Inspiration, quickening, moving, swift movement.

Polynesian roots: Vave, Wawe. Quick, speedy.

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(2) Sanskrit—BHAU: The world, universe. Vavau, the world.

Samoan—Faa-vavou: As old as the world, eternal.

Polynesian dialects—Vavau (a): An island in the Tongan Group.

(b): A large island, one of the halting places of the Polynesian migration.

Malay—Babao: A district near Copang in the Island of Timor.

(3) Sanskrit—BHEK: A toad; frog.

Persian—GHEK id.

Inca dialect (Peru)—BHEK: Loathsome; disgusting.

UEKKA: Filth.

Javanese—BEKA: id.

Micronesian dialects—PEK: id.

Maori and Polynesian—Wheke, Heke, Feke: The Cuttle-Fish, originally “The Loathsome or Foul One.

(4) Sanskrit—VISH: Filth; poison.

Eastern Polynesian dialects—Viirii: Foul; filthy (f.i., Vishrish).

(5) Sanskrit—Vas: To live; dwell; exist.

Eastern Polynesian dialects (Tahiti and Rarotonga)—VAI: Vahi, to be; exist.

(6) Sanskrit—Vash: Dress; clothing.

Eastern Polynesian dialects (Tahiti and Rarotonga):

Vai To dress; be clothed in.

Vahi To dress; be clothed in.

(7) Sanskrit and Hindustani—Mohána: The mouth of a river; tidal estuary.

cf. Efatise (in Hebrides)—Muana: High-tide.

Kusaic (Strays and E. Carolines)—Moea The ocean

Mwea The ocean

Maori and Polynesian dialects—Moana: The Ocean. Originally “The Great Tidal River,” like the Greek Oceanos.

(8) Sanskrit—Samudra The sea.

Samidra The sea.

Samoan—Sami: id.

(9) Sanskrit—Thik, Tik: Right, just, straight, proper.

Maori and Eastern Polynesian dialects—Tika: id. id.

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I thought that these new derivations would be interesting to Polynesian scholars. I have a vast number more of examples in MSS. form, the work of many years' careful study, which go to form the truth of Fornander and Tregear's theory of at least a partially Aryan Maori. I hope shortly to forward them for publication by the Polynesian Society.

The Telehu is a dialect of Amboyna spoken by a tribe occupying the coast-land opposite the island of Haruku, which is populated by Mahometan Malays.

The Tulehu words in Blayden list are in Arabic characters, and are clearly related to the Haruku, Hila and Asilulu dialects of Amboyna. Maori scholars will immediately recognise the old name Turehu, the designation of an early aboriginal tribe.

Similarly they will welcome with interest the probably ethnological and philological connection of “Arahura,” the name of the famous canoe of the migration with Alfur, the name of an aboriginal tribe in the Moluccas, and Arafura the geographical name of the tract of sea that washes Timor and that portion of the Malay Archipelago that lies north of the Gulf of Carpentaria.