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Noni Health Terms

polynesians


Polynesians explored approximately 16 million square miles of ocean and settled on various islands in the Pacific. They brought their stories, culture, traditions, and food.

Polynesia is generally defined as the islands within the "Polynesian Triangle". Note: there are other islands Polynesians inhabited. The Polynesian Triangle is drawn by connecting the points of Hawaii, New Zealand, and Easter Island with the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and other islands within those geographic lines.

Navigators were highly prized, and used an oral tradition to find known islands and remember the location of newly discovered ones. They used complex signs to find their way, like the motion of stars, the presence of wildlife species, the directions of swells on ocean, the colors of sea and sky, and the presence of cloud formations near islands.

Polynesian explorers and settlers recognized the importance of plants as long-lasting, self-renewing resources. They carefully cultivated and utilized many specific plants for food, clothing, handicrafts, medicine, and religious ceremonies. They recognized their interdependency with these plants, and acted as dedicated stewards to them.

For this reason, they brought certain key plants with them to every new island they colonized. These plants are called the canoe plants. In all, there were 27 canoe plants, including noni. Noni trees spread across the Pacific Islands alongside their Polynesian stewards.

Canoe plants travelled in the forms of seeds, stalks, tubers, roots, and cuttings, brought along with explorers in their canoes. When the settlers arrived in their new destination, the plants were cultivated. They spread quickly, forever changing the ecosystems of these islands in order to make them more habitable, according to the Polynesian standard of living.