Red-haired Native of New Zealand
Perhaps the location of New Zealand was not coincidental for the filming of the Tolkien stories of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.
According to the documentary “New Zealand: Skeletons in the Cupboard” by Peter and Gabi Plumm, redheads were living in New Zealand before the native Maori. They present footage of what looks like hobbit homes for the little redhead people that lived there at one time. Stories of giant skeletons with red hair being found as well are quite astounding.
The lives of the Polynesians, known as Maori, that arrived a few thousand years ago were changed dramatically once they settled in New Zealand. The styles of their homes changed, they built amphitheaters, began using fishing nets and switched from outrigger canoes to bronze age European-style boats.
Compare a Maori house (top) with one in the ancient Viking settlement of Birka (bottom)
In Maori oral history there is record of people with red hair living on the island before their arrival. However, local archaeologists disregarded this history by ‘burying’ the evidence of these redheads that had been living there probably over 5000 years ago. When a native came forward sporting red hair and telling of a redheaded people coming from India, traveling to Central America and then to New Zealand, some began to question the official position. Peter and Gabi set out to explore this lost history of redheads in New Zealand and recount their fascinating findings in their documentary.
It appears New Zealand is truly a magical land of hobbits, elves and giants.
Patupaiarehe and Ponaturi — Te Ara
In Māori tradition patupaiarehe, also known as tūrehu and pakepakehā, were fairy-like creatures of the forests and mountain tops. Although they had some human attributes, patupaiarehe were regarded not as people but as supernatural beings (he iwi atua).
They were seldom seen, and an air of mystery and secrecy still surrounds them. In most traditions, those who encountered patupaiarehe were able to understand their language. But in one account they were unintelligible.
Patupaiarehe had light skin, and red or fair hair. Historian James Cowan was told that ‘they were a lighter complexion than Maori; their hair was of a dull golden or reddish hue, urukehu, such as is sometimes seen in Maori of today.’ 1
Ponaturi are sometimes described as sea fairies. They had red hair and white skin, and fingers with long, evil claws. They spent their days under the sea, only coming onto land at night. Like the patupaiarehe they feared sunlight and fire.
One tradition tells of Tāwhaki taking revenge on the ponaturi for killing his father. He tricked them into staying in his house after dawn. Then he and his brother opened the doors and windows to let light flood into the house, in order to kill their captives.