Arrival of Humans

About 1000 years ago the first humans, Eastern Polynesians, arrived to New Zealand in a double canoe (seen on right). They brought with them many animals and plants that would change the ecology forever. Among these are the Polynesian dog and the Polynesian rat. These native New Zealanders, called Moaris, burnt much of the forest to create farming land and/or to chase Moas (giant extinct birds) for hunting purposes.

Eventually the Europeans arrived, burning more forest and bringing many other plants and animals (including cattle). This further changed the ecology of New Zealand.

The above picture shows the progressive depletion of the native forests in New Zealand.