Volume 25 1916 > Volume 25, No. 99 > Asiatic origin of the word 'moa', by F. W. Christian, p 126-127
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- 126

THE word MOA, which in New Zealand denotes the Dinornis and in Polynesia generally the Domestic Fowl, is most probably an Indonesian word, brought to the Malay Archipelago, by way of Java, by early Hindu immigrants, and taken thence by the migration of the Polynesians into the great Pacific areas.

Cf. Sanskrit Mriga: Moriga, an animal; living creature; bird; and Persian Murgh, a fowl; bird. [Hence, Si-Murgh. The Roc: a giant bird of early legend, so called because of the size of thirty fowls. Sī. 30, Murgh, a fowl.]

In classical Malay MORGA denotes any noteworthy animal or bird, the ordinary word for the domestic fowl being Hayam or Ayam. (M an old Malay nominative ending) which may possibly be the Maori HEIHEI, a fowl. In some Northern New Guinea dialects MOKA means the domestic fowl; whilst the languages of New Britain supplies a most interesting and almost conclusive link connecting the Asiatic forms Murgh, Morga with the Polynesian Mōa.

The New Britain word for Emu, or Cassowary, or small Island Ostrich is Mooruk or Môruk. Another Indonesian or Hindu-Malay word for bird: fowl is Manok: Manuk which appears in Polynesian as Manu, bird (sometimes domestic fowl), which came from a Sanskrit word Manukk: a living creature. This word appears in the Pelew Islands as MALK; Ponapé Malek; Mortlocks, MALOK, the domestic fowl, and curiously enough in the Inca language of Peru as Mallko, a chicken. [In New Britain Male'o is the Megapode.]


Derivation of an ancient Polynesian place-name, and wind-name.

IN many Polynesian dialects we find the above name given to the North-west Wind, and we also find the word reappearing in the names of the islands of Katiu in the Paumotus, and 'Atiu in the Cook or Hervey Group.

- 127

It was evidently the designation of some important island up in the N.W. Pacific, traditionally known to Polynesian sea-farers as marking an important point in their ocean migrations, and thus being taken as a convenient station from which they might mark off the direction of one of their cardinal points. The place-name thus might very conceivably join its name to the wind blowing from the direction of the place.

I would suggest to Polynesian students that the island of Kusaie in the S. Eastern Carolines, lying as it does, right in the track of the Maori migration from the Moluccas to Hawaiki viâ the Marshall Islands, was the original Kotiu or Katiu.

The natives of Kusaie call their island Kusiu, Ponapeans call it Kotiu, and the people of Zap, over 1,600 miles further westward, know it by the name of Kuthiu. The Megalithic Builders of Kusaie or Kusiu, were very probably early Japanese immigrants from Nagasaki or Osaka, who also had a water-town and huge stone buildings of their own, who settling amongst the mingled race of Melanesians, Ainu and Malays which they found on this island of the S.E. Carolines, gave it the name of Kiu-Siu from the great southern island of Japan their fatherland.

And when the great Polynesian migration came past Ponapé, and Kusaie and the Mortlocks on its way to Hawaiki, it certainly left many Polynesian words behind it, and set its seal upon these curious languages in an unmistakable way.

What wonder then, if during their temporary halt and partial conquest and settlement of these islands, before plunging further into the great waste of waters, the Fathers of the Ocean Races should adopt the name of this new starting-point of their adventurous voyages, and keep it in memory and mark it down as a convenient place and direction to denote the directions of the N.W. Trade Wind, blowing from the dim mysterious region where their forefathers beheld the works of the giant builders.