Ancient Celtic/Scottish Sites in New Zealand?
If you have an open and inquiring mind there are many facts, artifacts and oral and written histories that confirm the existence of pre-Maori populations in New Zealand. The archaeology of the country has yet to be properly investigated by archaeologists that do not have preconceived or politically motivated agendas.
Very ancient written records in Europe and the old world confirm knowledge that New Zealand and Australia existed. The following is an example of an oral history supported by records held in Scotland It is an interesting saga with all the intrigue and bravery of any Icelandic Saga. The heroes in it eventually suffer horrific deaths -- though this does not prevent their genes from carrying on generation after generation in a new land. In that, perhaps it was a more successful settlement than was the Viking settlement at Brattahild in Greenland.
“(Taine Rory Mhor) Taine Ruaridh Mhor (the big cattle farmer) was delivered by three seagoing long ships (birlinns?) to New Zealand in the 12th Century, with 95 of his family and kinsfolk and followers. And sons Rory and Ruaridh. It was deliberate but not by choice. Banishment was not an uncommon feature of the times and in this case the term was for seven generations after he had been incarcerated in a dungeon for three years already by his friend King Alexander I of Scotland (reigned 1107-1124 A.D.). Both islands of New Zealand were chosen because one of the criteria was that the land for the banishment had to be uninhabited at the time (? This seems strange). After 160 years (7 + 1 generations), Scots/Vikings (there were three ships, two of whose captains were Johansen and Christiansen -- though the names are Nordic Scandinavian they were probably based in the Firth of Forth) were requested by folk in Scotland to call and see if any of Taine’s people had survived. This would have been probably just after the reign of King Alexander III of Scotland (reigned 1249-1286) and during the reign of Edward I of England. He invaded Scotland in 1296. This was a turbulent time in Scotland. It was the time of Wallace, of Bruce, the battles of Stirling Bridge and Falkirk. The execution of Wallace and eventually the Coronation of Robert the Bruce and leading up to the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Times perhaps when no one had the time or resources to maintain communication with kinfolk a world away.”
“Men in Taine’s lineage were often well over 7 feet tall and generally had red hair, blue eyes and fair complexions. They had been provided with a very small number of sheep and cattle, and enough provisions to last three months, but no tools. Why such treatment was meted out remains the knowledge of modern descendants. The survival of Taine’s group was initially in their own hands and by the will of God. Their existence was meager. Eventually some tools were obtained by trade with visiting Portuguese, and the colony grew. It is said Taine was responsible for introducing particular trees and that there may be connection between Taine and “Tane” the name used by Maoris for the god of the forest. Taine in old Gaelic is apparently pronounced the same as Tane in Maori.”
“The story goes that after sailing from somewhere on the east coast of Scotland (probably Fifeshire) the fleet of three ships sailed north of Orkney. They then sailed the length of the Atlantic and around the south of Africa. The voyagers passed by the Australian coast indicated by a large land with a lack of fresh water and the presence of black people. The aim of the voyage was to deposit the people being banished in unpopulated land. The voyagers then reached what is now New Zealand and passed through what is now Cook Strait. This determined there were two separate pieces of land. The voyage then continued south and around the southern reaches of the South Island until the land that was similar to Thule (i.e. Norway and also land west of Greenland and north of Baffin Island). This is New Zealand’s region of fjords now known as Fiordland and it was passed as they again sailed north. They came to a region that had recently been subjected to earthquakes, such that much rock had fallen from high mountains.”
“The outward voyage had taken many weeks. On passing the worst of the earthquake damage they came to a narrow coastal plain from which the mountains rose steeply, but which permitted sufficient room between mountains and sea to set up a settlement. The cattle were able to be there without being able to wander away -- the mountains behind, the sea in front and streams to north and south prevented wandering. There was plentiful loose rock suitable for building a dwelling in the style of a Scottish black house capable of housing 45 people plus animals. (In a black house the cattle occupied one end of the dwelling and the people the other which had a hearth usually no chimney or windows. The roof of such dwellings were vegetation over beams covered by turf -- often quite thick. Smoke from the fire was often just left to filter out through the roof rather than having a full open chimney. This smoky environment provides inhabitants some protection from sand flies/biting midges as would definitely be required in South Westland). An alternate temporary dwelling may have been made by the typical method of overturning one of the Viking ships and supporting it on two rows of rocks which follow the lines of the ship’s strakes thus leaving the outline of a boat. This style is common wherever Vikings or seafarers of the time had stop overs.”
“As there were 90 people to be settled in two separate places in the new land, when the initial dwelling was complete, it was time to leave 45 behind with their share of the animals and to take the other 45 north to the other separate piece of land (now known as the North Island). The two troublesome sons Rory and Ruaridh were to be separated and not to have any means of communication. A settlement was established in the North Island and it is quite possible a place somewhere near Kawhia or Raglan was chosen (or even further north near the Hokianga Harbour). The journal of the voyage indicates Mt. Egmont (or Taranaki -- it is possible Tara naki has Gaelic roots, “tara” meaning a high place in Gaelic) had smoke coming from it. Being aware what volcanoes could do, the voyagers with the second group of 45 proceeded further north for safety. There is sufficient evidence in the Kawhia Raglan region to suggest the probability of initial settlement in this area, but only the opportunity and execution of open archaeological investigation can confirm this.”
“With both groups provided with a dwelling and their animals, plus some plants and seeds, they were now abandoned to the will of God and their ability to survive. The delivery ships sailed off to return to Scotland. The plants were the Orkney Beech (now extinct in Orkney and on the Scottish mainland -- was this the tree called “iron wood” that Cumberland’s men so effectively eliminated from Scotland?), the Rowan tree and the linen flax plant. There were also rye, oats, barley and probably the grain called beer in Scotland, as well as some grasses (seed) that would help nourish the cattle. Some grass seeds were also used for medicinal purposes and nettle would have been included (nettle grows in the New Zealand scrub and bushlands to this day).”
“The first settlement suffered immensely from incessant rains and was ultimately abandoned for better conditions further north. But it was a long time before communication between the two separate groups was achieved as the lack of tools meant conditions and any sea craft were very primitive until the opportunity for trade occurred -- which it did with other voyagers (Portuguese?).”
“So began possibly the first European settlement of New Zealand. Genetic traces of these Scots folk are still evident in the Maori -- those of tall stature, red hair and fairer skin, even blue eyes. Often thought to be of modern European Maori interbreeding, old Maori well know of this older genetic trait that predates modern European settlement by many generations.”
“New Zealand apparently had at least four different peoples living in peace (Waitaha constituent peoples), until the arrival of the later incoming aggressors and cannibals. Even so after eight generations the returning ships commanded by captains with Viking names found Taine’s people. They had survived and even prospered. The ships eventually returned to Scotland with some of the young men, descendants of Taine and his exiles. Some returned to New Zealand with wives they had taken in Scotland (dates around 1283-92 A.D.). Some remained in Scotland with the written records. These records still exist and are carefully preserved. The incoming aggressors and cannibals seem to have eventually succeeded in driving just about all larger forms of life on the islands to extinction.”
Remains of a Scottish/Celtic homestead along with hearthstone have been discovered that could be the ruins of where Taine’s descendants may have lived. There is much to be resolved, and much much more to be uncovered in New Zealand. Where are the artifacts and ruins left by the Moriori, Turehu, Patupaiarehe and Waitaha -- peoples that the Maoris of the 19th century admitted were in the land before them or living alongside them after they arrived?
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