Story: European ideas about Māori

Monogenists vs polygenists

Monogenists vs polygenists

In the 19th century most Europeans who settled in New Zealand were Christians who believed they were descendants of one of the three sons of the biblical figure, Noah. This is the descent line from the first person, Adam, down to Noah and his sons, Japheth, Shem and Ham, who were said to have fathered the European and East Asian, Middle Eastern and African races respectively. Theorists were divided over whether all humans shared this descent line; monogenists thought they did, but polygenists disagreed, believing different races had separate origins.

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How to cite this page:

James Belich, 'European ideas about Māori - Biblical ideas, early 19th century', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/29872/monogenists-vs-polygenists (accessed 10 April 2020)

Story by James Belich, published 5 May 2011