Codrington (Melanesian Languages) has adduced evidence to prove that Melanesia is the most primitive form of the oceanic stock-language, and that both Malays and Polynesians speak later dialects of this archaic form of speech.
There is every reason to believe that the Polynesians are ethnologically a far older race than the Malays, who, as they now exist, are a comparatively modern people; and thus Friedrich Miller's and D.
Morgan, in Ancient Society, pp. 439-423, makes the Polynesians to have distinctive terms for grandfather, grandmother, grandson and granddaughter.
That the stimulus is real is seen in the fact that among nude races flagrant immorality is far less common than among the more clothed; the contrast between the Polynesians and Melanesians, living as neighbours under similar conditions, is striking evidence on this point.
Joseph Deniker declares the Polynesians a separate ethnic group of the Indo-Pacific area, and in this view he is followed by A.
The Fijians are a people of Melanesian (Papuan) stock much crossed with Polynesians (Tongans and Samoans).
The Rarotongas call themselves Maori, and state that their ancestors came from Hawaiki, and Pirima and Manono are the native names of two islands in the Samoan group. The almost identical languages of the Rarotongas and the Maoris strengthen the theory that the two peoples are descended from Polynesians migrating, possibly at widely different dates, from Samoa.
Owing to the admixture of the Polynesians with the Papuans in Fiji some authorities have thought the first settlement was in those islands, and that the settlers were eventually driven thence by the Papuan occupiers.
As a race the Polynesians are somewhat apathetic. An enervating climate and lavish natural resources incline them to lead easy lives.